Joe Kirkwood Jr.

Reginald Thomas Kirkwood (May 30, 1920 – September 7, 2006), better known as Joe Kirkwood Jr., was a professional golfer on the PGA Tour and a motion picture actor.[1][2] He started going by the name Joe Jr. in the late 1930s.[1][3]


Kirkwood was born in Melbourne, Australia. His father, Joe Kirkwood Sr., was a golf pro acknowledged as having put Australian golf on the world map. In 1948, father and son both made the cut at the U.S. Open, the first father and son duo to do so (a record they held until 2004). When the younger Kirkwood won the 1949 Philadelphia Inquirer Open, they became the third father and son winners in the history of the PGA Tour.[4] Kirkwood Jr. also won the Ozark Open in 1950 and defeated Sam Snead to win the 1951 Blue Ribbon Open in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

In 1945, Kirkwood was invited by Monogram Pictures to test for the role of boxer Joe Palooka, a popular comic book character. He got the part and starred in Joe Palooka, Champ (1946) as well as ten additional Joe Palooka films through 1951. Kirkwood returned to the role in the 1954 television series The Joe Palooka Story.

In the late 1950s, Kirkwood, who has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1620 Vine Street, was one of the reporters on the popular NBC Radio program Monitor.


Year Title Role Notes
1946Joe Palooka, ChampJoe Palooka
1946Night and DayClassmateUncredited
1946Gentleman Joe PalookaJoe Palooka
1947Joe Palooka in the Knockout
1947Joe Palooka in Fighting Mad
1948Joe Palooka in Winner Take All
1948Joe Palooka in the Big Fight
1949Joe Palooka in the Counterpunch
1950Joe Palooka Meets Humphrey
1950Joe Palooka in Humphrey Takes a Chance
1950Joe Palooka in the Squared Circle
1951Joe Palooka in Triple Cross
1961The Marriage-Go-RoundHenry 'Doc' Granger(final film role)

Personal life

Kirkwood married Joyce Woltz in 1962.[5] His first marriage, to Cathy Downs, lasted from 1952 until their divorce in 1955. Downs and Kirkwood starred together in The Joe Palooka Story TV series from 1954 to 1955.

Kirkwood died September 7, 2006 in Hesperia, California.[6]

PGA Tour wins


  1. Barrett, David (October 8, 2010). "Chapter 7: 1949 Philadelphia Inquirer Open/Joe Palooka". Miracle at Merion: The Inspiring Story of Ben Hogan's Amazing Comeback and Victory at the 1950 U.S. Open. Skyhorse Publishing. ASIN B004ULMIR8.
  2. "Golfer Inducted". Gazette and Bulletin. Williamsport, Pennsylvania. Associated Press. January 5, 1944. p. 2.
  3. "Young Kirkwood Joins Atlanta Club Staff". The Palm Beach Post. Associated Press. March 10, 1940. p. 16.
  4. "Stats Report: Inside the Numbers". PGA Tour. February 3, 2014. Retrieved February 3, 2014.
  5. "Behind the Scenes in Hollywood". The Virdette-Messenger. March 22, 1962. p. 4. Retrieved August 17, 2014 via
  6. "Joe Kirkwood Jr". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 4, 2015.
  7. Hanley, Christine (June 25, 1924). "Stocktons on line for golf history". The Dispatch. Lexington, North Carolina. p. 1B.
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