Leo Gorcey – A Wild Life Revealed by Brandy Jo Gorcey
Leo Gorcey, best known for his roles in Dead End Kids and Bowery Boys movies, spent some time leading an unconventional lifestyle in Los Molinos. In her book Brandy Jo shares some details from this time in Leo’s life.
Fans will likely recognize much of what follows; nonetheless, it can be instructive to read from an individual who was both professional and personally challenging.
Early Life and Education
He started off his career performing vaudeville and Broadway before going on to appear in 80 B movies. Most notable among these roles was that as leader of a group known as Dead End Kids (or East Side Kids or later Bowery Boys).
He was an ardent drinker, which is evident in his films. For instance, in Blues Busters when Slip sees Sach for the first time after leaving Dead End Kids and Bowery Boys they embrace bittersweetly before parting ways once more.
Leo wrote a memoir of his father’s life many years ago; although too sentimental and filled with stories that may have been embellished or exaggerated, it remains an effective memoir. He is buried at Molinos Cemetery in Los Molinos, California.
Brandy Jo’s father Leo Gorcey appeared in 55 movies for Monogram and other studios. His roles mostly featured him playing gangsters or small town people, with some comic relief roles sprinkled throughout. Leo Gorcey also enjoyed performing nightclub acts as well as some TV work.
He led two groups known as the Dead End Kids and Bowery Boys that frequently collaborated with Huntz Hall. He appeared in seven Dead End Kids films between 1937-1939, 21 East Side Kids movies between 1940-1945, and 41 Bowery Boys films between 1946 and 1955.
Groucho Marx co-starred on several radio programs including Pabst Blue Ribbon Town where he made numerous guest appearances. Additionally, he worked some roles on Broadway before passing away in Van Nuys, California in 1984.
Achievement and Honors
Leo Gorcey was widely acclaimed for his roles as leader of various hooligan groups such as The Dead End Kids, East Side Kids and Bowery Boys. He made appearances in over 50 films – mostly B movies – as well as making an appearance in one Broadway play.
Gorcey often appeared as an angry or mean character in his films, yet there were moments that revealed his sensitive and compassionate side – such as Blues Busters when Slip reunites with Sach after she decided to become a singer and Gorcey shows true emotion at seeing them together again for the first time after leaving him behind to pursue singing career.
Brandy Jo Gorcey Ziesemer, daughter of actor Brian Gorcey Ziesemer, recently published an original dead end kid biography book entitled An Original Dead End Kid Presents: Dead End Yells Wedding Bells Cockle Shells and Dizzy Spells. In addition to writing her thesis and attending Shasta College and California State University Chico.
Leo Gorcey was born on 6-3-1917 and represents Life Path Number 9. People on this path continue their search for knowledge and experiences throughout their lives.
Gorcey was an outgoing and provocative stage actor best known for starring as Spit in Dead End by Henry and Loeb in 1935. Additionally, he was known to drink heavily.
Gorcey made several errors while filming Out of the Fog in 1941, prompting director Anatole Litvak to give an angry warning: he wanted Gorcey fired as an actor! Litvak stormed up to Gorcey and shouted out his instruction: he must stop. “Gorcey! As an actor you stink!”
Gorcey’s son wrote a book entitled Me and the Dead End Kid just prior to his father’s passing which provides some insights into who Gorcey really was as an individual. In it he provides memoirs, ruminations and rantings which contain braggadocio, exaggeration and rancor amongst other things.
Leo Gorcey was born June 3rd 1917 in New York City and his birth date corresponds with life path number 9. People on this path tend to strive for personal development and experience more throughout their lives.
Gorcey played Slip Mahoney, a tough young hooligan from various 1948 Bowery Boys films. His group also appeared in several East Side Kids and Dead End Kids pictures. Later he worked at Monogram Studios – an affordable studio where more Bowery Boys and East Side Kids pictures were produced.
Gorcey began reducing his film appearances soon thereafter and last appeared in 1965 comedy film, “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad World,” where he made an appearance as a taxi driver in a cameo role. Unfortunately he died soon thereafter at age 52.