The Gore 4 was saddened to learn of the passing of the legendary Joe Fleishaker. If the name doesn’t immediately jump right at out you, if you were a fan of the films from independent film company, Troma Entertainment, you surely saw Joe in some of their more beloved movies. Dubbed by Troma co-founder Lloyd Kaufman as “Troma’s biggest action star,” alluding to his large mass, Joe appeared in Troma’s War (1988), and three of the Toxic Avenger films, The Toxic Avenger Part II (1989), The Toxic Avenger Part III: The Last Temptation of Toxie (1989) and Citizen Toxie: The Toxic Avenger IV, where he played Toxie’s sidekick, Lardass, in 2000. He also had roles in Troma’s Sgt. Kabukiman N.Y.P.D. (1981), Troma and Juliet (1986), Terror Firmer (1989) and Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead in 2006. He even showed up in a Woody Allen film, Radio Days (1987), and had a recurring role on NBC’s Late Night with David Letterman in the 80’s. Joe was also known for playing Troma’s other co-founder, Michael Herz, in a series of short films and videos. His last film credits were in the gloriously titled films, I Spill Your Guts (2012) and Trashtastic (2013).
Fans of and attendees at New Jersey’s Chiller Theatre Toy, Model and Film Expo would be quite familiar with Joe as he was a frequent guest and friend of Chiller for many years, signing autographs, taking pictures with fans and talking movies. This Gore 4er had the pleasure of hanging out with him a great deal on the Saturday nights when Chiller would have their costume contests. We’d plant ourselves in the perfect spot, as seen above, and watch for and take pictures of all the imaginative and creative costumes on display. Those were memorable, fun times indeed.
Lloyd Kaufman offered his condolences on his Facebook page:
“The Troma Team and I are truly heartbroken by the news that Joe Fleishaker has passed away. He was a great actor and a great friend. Toxie weeps. RIP Joe, Troma will never be the same without you”
And frequent Troma co-star and collaborator with Joe, scream queen, Debbie Rochon, had this to say on her Facebook page:
“Deep condolences to all those who loved the great Joe Fleishaker. RIP friend and Troma super-star. Found a pic from the first time I met him in 1993 getting ready for a movie poster shoot with the photographer taking her readings. You will live with us forever dear friend. Miss you dearly already. God bless.”
Debbie has also done a wonderful write-up on Joe at Shock Till You Drop.
Joe Fleishaker was a big guy who weighed in at some point in excess of 500 pounds. Though he had lost a good chunk of that weight, he had been in ill health of late, and died on May 23rd at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx of heart failure at the age of 62. But his body of work will live on, so if you haven’t watched any of his enjoyable films, do yourself a favor and check them out. You’ll never be the same again.
— remembrance by Brian de Castro