Joe Cobb, rotund child thesp in the silent “Our Gang” comedies, died May 21 at a convalescent hospital in Santa Ana of natural causes. He was 85.
Longtime Culver City resident was one of the best known “Our Gang” kids members performing for producer Hal Roach. His first film was “The Big Show” in 1923 when he was 5. All told, he appeared in 86 of the early series during a seven-year period, including the “Gang’s” last silent and its first talkie.
Shawnee, Okla., native came to L.A. in 1922 and with his father made the rounds of the studios, almost instantly hitting it off with the Roach operation.
Although he outgrew the series, Cobb served as emcee for “Our Gang” publicity tours in 1936 and appeared in three additional pics in the series. He also had roles in Republic and Universal films, then did assembly work during World War II, retiring from North American Aviation in 1981.
Later he made appearances at sessions of the Laurel and Hardy fan society Sons of the Desert.
He is survived by a sister and a nephew.