Joseph Evans Brown (28 July 1892 – 6 July 1973) was an American actor and comedian. In 1902 at the age of 10, he joined a troupe of circus tumblers known as the Five Marvellous Astons which toured the country on both the circus and vaudeville circuits. He gradually added comedy into his act and transformed himself into a comedian. He moved to Broadway in the 1920s first appearing in the musical comedy "Jim Jam Jems".
In late 1928, he began making films, and the next year for Warner Bros.. He quickly shot to stardom after appearing in the first all-color all-talking musical comedy On with the Show (1929). He starred in a number of lavish Technicolor Warner Brothers musical comedies including: Sally (1929), Hold Everything (1930), Song of the West (1930) and The Merchant Of Venice (1932) . By 1931, Joe E. Brown had become such a star that his name began to appear alone above the title of the movies in which he appeared. In 1933 and 1936, he managed to become one of the top ten earners in films. In 1937, he left Warner Brothers to work for David Loew. In 1938, he starred in The Gladiator, a loose film-adaptation of Philip Gordon Wylie's 1930 novel Gladiator, which influenced the creation of Superman. He gradually switched to making "B" pictures.
During World War II, he spent a great deal of time entertaining troops, spending many nights meeting personally with servicemen at the famous USO Hollywood Canteen. In 1939, Brown testified before the House Immigration Committee in support of a bill that would allow 20,000 German Jewish refugee children into the United States, and he later adopted two refugee boys. In 1941 Brown's son, Captain Don E. Brown, was killed when his military plane crashed near Palm Springs, California.