Leo Gorcey’s parents were actor Bernard Gorcey (born 1888) who stood 4′ 10″, and Josephine Condon (born 1901), who stood 4′ 11″ and weighed 95 pounds; they worked in vaudeville in New York. In 1915, 14-year-old Josephine gave birth to Fred. In 1917, Leo was born, a large baby at 12 lb. 3 oz.; as an adult he would be 5′ 6″. In 1921 his brother David Gorcey was born. In 1935, Leo and David appeared in the stage play “Dead End.” In 1937, this was made into a movie, and Leo became one of the busiest actors for the next 20 years — from 1937-1939 he starred in seven Dead End Kids movies, from 1940-1945 in 21 East Side Kids films, from 1946-1956 in 41 Bowery Boys movies.
In 1939, Leo married 17-year-old dancer Kay Marvis, who appeared in four of his movies. They divorced in 1944 after five years of marriage; she went on to marry Groucho Marx. In 1945, Leo married Evalene Bankston; they divorced in 1948. Leo was to have paid her $50,000 in a divorce settlement; however, when two detectives she hired broke into his home, he retaliated by firing his gun at them. They sued, and Leo countersued for illegal entry and won $35,000 back. In 1949, Leo married Amelita Ward, whom he met while filming Smugglers’ Cove (1948). Their marriage produced Leo Gorcey Jr. in 1949, and a baby girl they named Jan (after Leo’s producer and manager, Jan Grippo) in 1951. They divorced in 1956. That year Leo married his young nanny, Brandy, who was taking care of his two kids. They had a baby girl, Brandy Jo, in 1958. The couple divorced in 1962. Leo went to the altar one last time in February, 1968, marrying Mary Gannon. He stayed married to her until his death on June 2, 1969.
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