Joe Kirkwood Jr.

Joe Kirkwood Jr.
Associated Press

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Joe Kirkwood Jr.
TV: East side of the 1600 block of Vine Street
Actor | Athlete
Born May 30, 1920 in Melbourne, Australia
Died Sept. 7, 2006 in Hesperia, Calif.

Known as the "Ideal American Boy" hero of the Joe Palooka movies, Joe Kirkwood Jr. was a former film star who started off as a professional golfer.

When Guild Films decided to film the popular comic strip Joe Palooka for television, it was an easy matter to locate someone for the title role because Joe had become generally associated with the character through 11 full-length films.

However, they didn't bargain for the ruggedness of the Kirkwood build. Kirkwood has confided that his "realistic" attitude had resulted in his being knocked cold twice during filming.

His "punch lines" didn't just end in front of the camera. In 1950, the blond actor engaged in a fist brawl with singer Johnny Johnston over rumor-spreading.

There might have been harder workers in Hollywood than Joe Kirkwood Jr., but none of them worked any harder for punch lines than this actor-golfer-flier.

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