The Ritz Brothers were an American comedy team who appeared in films, and as live performers from 1925 to the late 1960s.
Although there were four brothers, the sons of Austrian-born haberdasher Max Joachim and his wife Pauline, only three of them performed together. There was also a sister, Gertrude. The fourth brother, George, acted as their manager. The performers were:
The family name was Joachim but eldest brother Al, a vaudeville dancer, adopted a new professional name after he saw the name "Ritz" on the side of a laundry truck. Jimmy and Harry followed suit when the brothers formed a team. The Ritzes emphasized precision dancing in their act, and added comedy material as they went along. By the early 1930s they were stage headliners.
The Ritz Brothers were hired for a New York-filmed short subject, Hotel Anchovy, produced by Educational Pictures. This did well enough for the film's distributor, Twentieth Century-Fox, to sign the Ritzes as a specialty act for feature-length musicals. During this period they appeared in On the Avenue, a 1937 Irving Berlin musical. That same year Fox gave the Ritz Brothers their own starring series, beginning with Life Begins in College.