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Leo Gorcey

"If you love movies of the 30's & 40's... you'll love this!"

Leo GorceyThe Dead End Kids

A conversation with Leo Gorcey, Jr. about his famous dad of The Dead End Kids, The Bowery Boys, The East Side Gang, and more!

Plus Leo Gorcey Jr's book, 'Me and the Dead End Kid'. 

Included are many sound clips from the movies that made Leo Gorcey and his gang world famous. 

This wonderful production includes many clips from some of his famous movies like, 'Angels with Dirty Faces', 'You Made Me a Criminal', and many more!

Movie sound clips include great stars like James Cagney, John Garfield, Pat O'Brien, Bela Lugosi & more! Click the play button below to start.

Enjoy the show!

Author comment: "Great interview! One of the better ones I've ever done. You have a nice flexible conversational style that allows space to develop topics. I like that!"  Leo Gorcey, Jr.

If you would like to have a personally autographed copy of this amazing book from Leo Gorcey, Jr., please email him at: LeoGorcey@LeoGorcey.com .....The way to go!

Or you can order it from Amazon.

Leo Gorcey, Jr.

'Me and the Dead End Kid,' by Leo Gorcey, Jr. picturedabove.

Biography for Leo Gorcey 

Leo Bernard Gorcey (June 3, 1917 – June 2, 1969) was an American stage and movie actor who became famous for portraying on film the leader of the group of young hooligans known variously as the Dead End Kids, The East Side Kids and The Bowery Boys. Leo Gorcey was the shortest and the oldest of the original gang.

Early years

In 1917, 16-year-old Josephine Condon—already a mother at 14—gave birth to her second son, Leo, in New York City. Josephine and her 31-year-old husband Bernard Gorcey were vaudeville actors and both were a little under five feet tall. Leo would eventually reach 5' 6". Always the most pugnacious member of the gangs he participated in, young Leo was the filmic prototype of the young punk. In 1921, his younger (and most recognized) brother, David Gorcey, was born.

Film career

In the 1930s, Leo's father became estranged from the family while working in theater and film. When he returned in 1935, he and David persuaded Leo to try out for a small part in the play Dead End. Having just lost his job as a plumber's apprentice and seeing his father's relative success, Leo decided to give acting a try. Leo and David were cast as two members of the East 53rd Place Gang, with limited stage time. Charles Duncan, who was originally cast as Spit, left the play, and Leo, his understudy, was promoted. Gorcey created a quarrelsome guttersnipe whose greatest joy was in making trouble.

In 1937, Samuel Goldwyn made the popular play into a movie of the same name, and transported the six boys to Hollywood. Gorcey became one of the busiest actors in Hollywood for the next 20 years.

  • From 1937-1939, he starred in 7 Dead End Kids movies, where he played characters with various names
  • From 1940-1945, he starred in 21 East Side Kids movies, where he played the character named Ethelbert "Muggs" McInnis/McGinnis/Maloney
  • From 1946-1956, he starred in 41 Bowery Boys movies, where he played the character named Terence Aloyisius "Slip" Mahoney 

In the Bowery Boys movies, Leo's father Bernard Gorcey played Louie Dumbrowski, the diminutive sweet shop owner from whom the boys conned banana splits and financial loans. Leo's character "Slip" was famed for his malaprops (always delivered in a Brooklyn accent, such as "a clever seduction" for "a clever deduction," "I depreciate it!" ("I appreciate it!"), "I regurgitate" ("I reiterate") and "optical delusion" ("optical illusion"). In the movie Jungle Gents, in which the Bowery Boys went to Africa, Huntz Hall lost the map and substituted a newspaper ad for lingerie. When Slip saw it, he said, "This ain't a map—it's an ad for ladies' griddles! [girdles]"

In 1939, Gorcey married 17-year-old dancer Kay Marvis, who appeared in four of his Monogram movies. They divorced in 1944, after which Kay went on to become the second wife of Groucho Marx. In 1949, Gorcey married Amelita Ward, with whom he had worked in Clancy Street Boys and Smugglers' Cove. She gave birth to Leo Gorcey Jr. during their marriage.

In 1955, his father was killed in an automobile accident. Leo turned to the bottle for solace and lost a great deal of weight. When he trashed a movie set in an intoxicated rage, the studio refused to give him the pay raise he demanded, so he quit the Bowery Boys and was replaced in the last seven movies by Stanley Clements. Leo's brother David remained with the series until it lapsed in late 1957.

Life after acting

In 1967, Leo Gorcey published his autobiography entitled An Original Dead End Kid Presents: Dead End Yells, Wedding Bells, Cockle Shells, and Dizzy Spells. The original publication was limited to 1,000 hardcover copies. A 2004 reprint, with a foreword by Leo Gorcey, Jr., was also limited to 1,000 numbered copies. In addition, in 2003, Gorcey, Jr. published his own book about his father, entitled Me and the Dead End Kid.

Gorcey was removed from the cover of The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album after his agent demanded a payment of $400.

Gorcey died from liver failure on June 2, 1969 one day before his 52nd birthday. He is buried at Molinos Cemetery in Los Molinos, California.

Gorcey's first cousin, twice removed, is sports writer Ryan Gorcey.


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