Joseph George O'Gorman (24 July 1890 – 26 August 1974) was an entertainer and cricketer. With his brother Dave (1894–1964) he formed a song, dance and comedy act called the O'Gorman Brothers. Starting by touring the variety halls of England, in the 1930s they also became popular in the United States and earned a fortune.[1]

Joe O'Gorman
Personal information
Full nameJoseph George O'Gorman
Born(1890-07-24)24 July 1890
Walworth, London, England
Died26 August 1974(1974-08-26) (aged 84)
Weybridge, Surrey, England
BattingRight-handed batsman
BowlingRight-arm legbreak
Domestic team information
First-class debut18 May 1927 Surrey v Glamorgan
Last First-class10 June 1927 Surrey v Leicestershire
Career statistics
Competition FC
Matches 3
Runs scored 106
Batting average 106.00
100s/50s 0/0
Top score 42*
Balls bowled 384
Wickets 4
Bowling average 41.75
5 wickets in innings 0
10 wickets in match 0
Best bowling 2/49
Catches/stumpings 1/–
Source: [1], 9 August 2015

The entertainerEdit

In becoming entertainers, the two brothers were following in the footsteps of their father. He was also called Joe, an Irishman who moved to England in 1879, where he had considerable success as a comedian. In both 1898 and 1901 he was elected King Rat of the Grand Order of Water Rats and he was also the first chairman of the newly formed Variety Artistes' Federation.[2] He had a double act with Joe Tennyson; they were known as The Two Irish Gentlemen or The Patter Propagators.[3]

In 1907 Joe and Dave began appearing as the O'Gorman Brothers, their act including acrobatic dancing, singing and comedy. They had considerable success, and toured South Africa in 1913 and visited Berlin, Vienna and Budapest the following year. Eventually the format settled into that of a comedy double act. They toured their own shows Round the Town, Finnegan’s Follies and Fools in Paradise. In the 1920s they became noted for the so-called "Crazy" style of comedy. They frequently appeared at the Holborn Empire and toured their London Palladium shows.[2]

They toured the United States in 1931 and 1932 for Paramount and RKO. From this time their act was renamed "Dave and Joe O’Gorman", in accordance with American convention. Around this time they made their first appearance in pantomime, and quickly became recognised as masters of the form.[2] In 1936 they appeared in the film Variety Parade.[4]

During World War Two they made broadcasts on BBC radio, and toured in shows that included The Boys of the BBC and Hello Playmates with Arthur Askey. During this time they developed a very popular comedy ventriloquist routine. They also did much work entertaining the troops with ENSA, this including visiting Italy, India and Burma.[2]

They appeared in the 1946 Royal Variety Show and continued to appear in variety and pantomime. In 1948 they were chosen to lead a British version of the American show Hellzapoppin, which following initial performances in London toured the country. Their final tour was in 1954 with the Victoria Palace show Knights of Madness.[2]

In 1956 Dave followed his father in being elected King Rat. He died eight years later.[2]

The cricketerEdit

Both brothers were keen amateur cricketers, playing for clubs including Honor Oak and Richmond.[1] In club cricket Joe took over 1.500 wickets.[5] Both brothers also played for the Surrey second eleven, where Joe in particular was very successful. As a result, in May 1927 he was selected to play two games at The Oval for the Surrey first team, making his debut at the relatively late age of 36. A leg-spinner described as having a "great repertoire of deliveries", he took four wickets, including one with his first ball in first-class cricket. Batting at number nine, he had three not out scores of 31, 20 and 42. His variety commitments meant that he was unable to play in the next - away - match. He made only one further appearance for the first team, the following month, when he was out for 13. This left him with the freakishly high career first-class batting average of 106.[1]

His grandson, Tim O'Gorman also played first-class cricket.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d Chalke, Stephen (29 June 1989). Summer's Crown: The Story of Cricket's County Championship. Fairfield Books. p. 328. ISBN 9780956851154.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "O'Gorman Brothers". Retrieved 10 August 2015.
  3. ^ Dominic Cavendish (13 January 2019). "Where are the great double acts of today?". Sunday Telegraph. p. 27.
  4. ^ "Variety Parade (1936)". IMDb. Retrieved 10 August 2015.
  5. ^ Lemmon, David (24 March 2015). The History of Surrey County Cricket Club. Christopher Helm. p. 163. ISBN 9780747020103.

External linksEdit

Further readingEdit

  • Brian O'Gorman (Joe's son), Laughter in the Roar: Reminiscences of Variety and Pantomime, 19 November 1998, ISBN 9780953407804.