Emil Sitka was an actor in Hollywood for over forty years who played hundreds of roles on stage in theater, on television, and in the movies. You may not recognize his name but if you’ve ever watched The Three Stooges, chances are very good you have seen him perform.
Emil appeared in dozens of Three Stooges comedy shorts, as well as most of their feature films and TV shows, always playing different characters to contrast with and set up the Stooges humor. Emil is one of very few actors who worked with all four versions of The Three Stooges. Starting with original Stooges Larry, Moe and Curly in 1946, Emil appeared frequently during the Shemp years and the Besser period and then continued to show up throughout the De Rita era.
Emil even came very close to joining the team as a Stooge himself in the early 1970’s when Moe wanted to carry on with the act. By this time, Larry’s health had forced him to retire so Moe asked Emil to join the group as Larry’s replacement. Unfortunately, Moe’s own health issues prevented them from ever filming the “fifth set of The Three Stooges” in action (see below).
For decades after the last Three Stooge film images were recorded, Emil contributed to the legacy of the Three Stooges by representing them at numerous events and conventions. He gave frequent interviews and corresponded with literally thousands of Stooge fans. He assisted with efforts to put their star on the Hollywood Walk-of-Fame, and he contributed to quite a few notable Stooge books and video retrospectives. Up until his passing in 1998, he was fond of entertaining Three Stooges fans from out of town and welcomed them into his home. Emil Sitka was proud of his work with the comic trio, and he truly appreciated being a “small footnote in the history of the Three Stooges.”
For this long close association with the men, the films, and the legend of The Three Stooges, Emil Sitka has occasionally been called “The Fourth Stooge.” It has a nice ring to it, so it’s been adopted here as our official slogan…