Joseph Isaac Fleishaker was born in 1954 and died on May 23, 2016.
He was an American character actor.
He was best known for his appearances in low-budget cult and horror movies, in mostly those produced by New York-based independent film company Troma Entertainment, who have billed Fleishaker as “Troma’s biggest action star”, humorously alluding to his morbid obesity which reached in excess of five hundred pounds.
Joe Fleishaker was first cast in Troma’s 1988 action-comedy Troma’s War as an extra, where he played a member of a violent terrorist sect.
The film’s director, Lloyd Kaufman was amused by Fleishaker’s screen presence as an obese guerrilla soldier and ended up giving him more screen time throughout the film.
Then Troma’s War, Fleishaker struck up an ongoing partnership with Troma, having acted in every Kaufman-directed film from 1989 to 2006.
These parts have ranged from background parts and short cameos to much larger supporting roles, such as The Toxic Avenger’s sidekick Lardass in Citizen Toxie: The Toxic Avenger IV.
Other than their films, Joe Fleishaker became well-known to Troma fans for his numerous appearances in the company’s many promotional videos and shorts, where he assumed the role of Troma co-president Michael Herz, who typically prefers to stay out of the public eye.
His performance as Herz was so frequent, many fans have continued to mistake him for the real Michael Herz.
In addition to his work with Troma, Fleishaker appeared at least twelve times as a bit player on Late Night/Late Show with David Letterman during the 1990s, acting in various comedy sketches.
During July 2012, Joe was rushed to the hospital where he was diagnosed as suffering from kidney, heart and lung failure, he was weighing in at nearly 525 pounds.
Later, Joe Fleishaker was later transferred to a physical rehabilitation center where he eventually lost 160 pounds though still couldn’t retain the ability to walk.
On June 3, 2014, a GoFundMe account was opened in Fleishaker’s name, aiming to raise $50,000 to help cover his ongoing medical costs and continued treatment, however, the fundraiser only raised $931, since the fundraiser opened.
The news was reported via Lloyd Kaufman’s Facebook page on May 25, 2016, that Fleishaker had died at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx of a possible heart attack.
Joe Fleishaker passed away at 62 yrs old.