Joe Frank Cobb
November 7, 1916
|Died||May 21, 2002 (aged 85)|
|Years active||1923–early 1940s|
Joe Frank Cobb (November 7, 1916 – May 21, 2002) was an American child actor, most notable for appearing as the original "fat boy" in the Our Gang comedies from 1922 to 1929. Some sources such as the first edition (1977) of Our Gang: The Life and Times of the Little Rascals documented him as being born in 1916 or 1917; however the Oklahoma birth index indicates he was born in 1916.
Born in Shawnee, Oklahoma on November 7, 1916, Cobb auditioned for producer Hal Roach's Our Gang comedy series at the age of five in 1921. He first worked with the gang in 1922, appearing in The Champeen (released Jan. 1923) and The Big Show (released in Feb. 1923).
Cobb appeared in the Our Gang series' last silent film, Saturday's Lesson, and its first talking short, Small Talk, both in 1929. Although Small Talk was released June 15, 1929, Saturday's Lesson was released November 9, 1929.
His penultimate episode as a regular cast member was Boxing Gloves in 1929 when he was 12. Joining him in that film (a remake of The Champeen) is 'Chubby' (15-year-old Norman Chaney), Cobb's successor as the 'fat kid', and Jackie Cooper in his film debut.
Cobb's final 'Our Gang' appearance is in the Lazy Days episode (released Aug. 4, 1929). In all he appeared in 86 Our Gang episodes during the seven years from 1922 to 1929. He also made three cameo appearances during the 1930s, in Fish Hooky (1933), Pay as You Exit (1936), and Reunion in Rhythm (1937).
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