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The Marx Brothers
Marx Brothers
were an American family comedy act that was successful in vaudeville, on Broadway, and in motion pictures from 1905 to 1949. Five of the Marx Brothers' thirteen feature films were selected by the American Film Institute
American Film Institute
(AFI) as among the top 100 comedy films, with two of them (Duck Soup and A Night at the Opera) in the top twelve. They are widely considered by critics, scholars, and fans to be among the greatest and most influential comedians of the 20th century. The brothers were included in AFI's 100 Years...100 Stars list of the 25 greatest male stars of Classic Hollywood cinema, the only performers to be inducted collectively. The group are almost universally known today by their stage names: Chico, Harpo, Groucho, Gummo, and Zeppo. The core of the act was the three elder brothers: Chico, Harpo, and Groucho. Each developed a highly distinctive stage persona. After the group essentially disbanded in 1950, Groucho
Groucho
went on to begin a significant second career in television, while Harpo and Chico appeared less prominently. The two younger brothers, Gummo and Zeppo, did not develop their stage characters to the same extent. They each left the act to pursue business careers at which they were successful, as well as a large theatrical agency for a time, through which they represented their brothers and others. Gummo was not in any of the movies; Zeppo appeared in the first five films in relatively straight (non-comedic) roles. The performing lives of the brothers were brought about by their mother Minnie Marx, who also acted as their manager.

Contents

1 Brothers' names, family background, and lifetimes 2 Stage beginnings

2.1 Comedy

3 Origin of the stage names 4 Motion pictures

4.1 Paramount 4.2 MGM, RKO, and United Artists 4.3 Later years

5 Impact on modern entertainment 6 Filmography

6.1 Characters

7 Legacy

7.1 Awards and honors

8 See also 9 References 10 Further reading 11 External links

Brothers' names, family background, and lifetimes[edit]

The only known photo of the entire Marx family, c. 1915. From left: Groucho, Gummo, Minnie (mother), Zeppo, Sam (father), Chico, and Harpo.

Julius Henry Marx (Groucho) on the left and Adolph Marx (Harpo) on the right holding a rat terrier dog, c. 1906

The Marx Brothers
Marx Brothers
were born in New York City, the sons of Jewish emigrants from Germany
Germany
and France. Their mother Miene "Minnie" Schoenberg (professionally known as Minnie Palmer, later the brothers' manager) was from Dornum
Dornum
in East Frisia, and their father Samuel ("Sam"; born "Simon"). Marx was a native of Alsace
Alsace
and worked as a tailor.[1][2] (His name was changed to Samuel Marx, and he was nicknamed "Frenchy".)[3] The family lived in the poor Yorkville section of New York City's Upper East Side, centered in the Irish, German and Italian quarters. The brothers are best known by their stage names:

Stage name Birth name Born Died Age Death

Chico Leonard 000000001887-03-22-0000March 22, 1887 October 11, 1961 74 Arteriosclerosis

Harpo Adolph (after 1911: Arthur) 000000001888-11-23-0000November 23, 1888 000000001964-09-28-0000September 28, 1964[5] 75 Heart failure

Groucho Julius Henry 000000001890-10-02-0000October 2, 1890 000000001977-08-19-0000August 19, 1977[6] 86 Pneumonia

Gummo Milton 000000001892-10-23-0000October 23, 1892[7] 000000001977-04-21-0000April 21, 1977[8] 84 Cerebral hemorrhage

Zeppo Herbert Manfred 000000001901-02-25-0000February 25, 1901 000000001979-11-30-0000November 30, 1979[9] 78 Lung cancer

Another brother, Manfred ("Mannie"), the first-born son of Sam and Minnie, was born in 1886 and died in infancy:[10][11][12]

"Family lore told privately of the firstborn son, Manny, born in 1886 but surviving for only three months, and carried off by tuberculosis. Even some members of the Marx family wondered if he was pure myth. But Manfred can be verified. A death certificate of the Borough of Manhattan
Manhattan
reveals that he died, aged seven months, on 17 July 1886, of enterocolitis, with 'asthenia' contributing, i.e., probably a victim of influenza. He is buried at New York's Washington Cemetery, beside his grandmother, Fanny Sophie Schönberg (née Salomons), who died on 10 April 1901."[13]

The Marx Brothers
Marx Brothers
also had an older sister, actually a cousin, born in January 1885 who had been adopted by Minnie and Frenchie. Her name was Pauline, or "Polly".[14] Groucho
Groucho
talked about her in his 1972 Carnegie Hall concert. Minnie Marx
Minnie Marx
came from a family of performers. Her mother was a yodeling harpist and her father a ventriloquist; both were funfair entertainers. Around 1880, the family emigrated to New York City, where Minnie married Sam in 1884. During the early 20th century, Minnie helped her younger brother Abraham Elieser Adolf Schönberg (stage name Al Shean) to enter show business; he became highly successful on vaudeville and Broadway as half of the musical comedy double act Gallagher and Shean, and this gave the brothers an entree to musical comedy, vaudeville and Broadway at Minnie's instigation.[15] Minnie also acted as the brothers' manager, using the name Minnie Palmer so that agents did not realize that she was also their mother. All the brothers confirmed that Minnie Marx
Minnie Marx
had been the head of the family and the driving force in getting the troupe launched, the only person who could keep them in order; she was said to be a hard bargainer with theatre management.[16][17] Gummo and Zeppo both became successful businessmen: Gummo gained success through his agency activities and a raincoat business,[18] and Zeppo became a multi-millionaire through his engineering business.[19][20] Stage beginnings[edit]

1911 newspaper advertisement for a Marx Brothers
Marx Brothers
appearance (l–r: Harpo, Groucho, Gummo)

The brothers were from a family of artists, and their musical talent was encouraged from an early age. Harpo was particularly talented, learning to play an estimated six different instruments throughout his career. He became a dedicated harpist, which gave him his nickname.[21] Chico was an excellent pianist, Groucho
Groucho
a guitarist and singer, and Zeppo a vocalist. They got their start in vaudeville, where their uncle Albert Schönberg performed as Al Shean
Al Shean
of Gallagher and Shean. Groucho's debut was in 1905, mainly as a singer. By 1907, he and Gummo were singing together as "The Three Nightingales" with Mabel O'Donnell. The next year, Harpo became the fourth Nightingale and by 1910, the group briefly expanded to include their mother Minnie and their Aunt Hannah. The troupe was renamed "The Six Mascots". Comedy[edit] One evening in 1912, a performance at the Opera
Opera
House in Nacogdoches, Texas, was interrupted by shouts from outside about a runaway mule. The audience hurried out to see what was happening. Groucho
Groucho
was angered by the interruption and, when the audience returned, he made snide comments at their expense, including "Nacogdoches is full of roaches" and "the jackass is the flower of Tex-ass". Instead of becoming angry, the audience laughed. The family then realized that it had potential as a comic troupe.[22] (However, in his autobiography Harpo Speaks, Harpo Marx
Harpo Marx
stated that the runaway mule incident occurred in Ada, Oklahoma.[23] A 1930 article in the San Antonio Express newspaper stated that the incident took place in Marshall, Texas.[24]) The act slowly evolved from singing with comedy to comedy with music. The brothers' sketch "Fun in Hi Skule" featured Groucho
Groucho
as a German-accented teacher presiding over a classroom that included students Harpo, Gummo, and Chico. The last version of the school act was titled Home Again and was written by their uncle Al Shean. The Home Again tour reached Flint, Michigan
Flint, Michigan
in 1915, where 14-year-old Zeppo joined his four brothers for what is believed to be the only time that all five Marx Brothers
Marx Brothers
appeared together on stage.[25] Gummo then left to serve in World War I, reasoning that "anything is better than being an actor!"[26] Zeppo replaced him in their final vaudeville years and in the jump to Broadway, and then to Paramount films.

Sheet music (1917) for one of the songs from Home Again; from left: Harpo, Gummo, Chico, Groucho

During World War I, anti-German sentiments were common, and the family tried to conceal its German origin. Mother Minnie learned that farmers were excluded from the draft rolls, so she purchased a 27-acre (110,000 m2) poultry farm near Countryside, Illinois
Countryside, Illinois
— but the brothers soon found that chicken ranching was not in their blood.[27] During this time, Groucho
Groucho
discontinued his "German" stage personality. By this time, "The Four Marx Brothers" had begun to incorporate their unique style of comedy into their act and to develop their characters. Both Groucho's and Harpo's memoirs say that their now-famous on-stage personae were created by Al Shean. Groucho
Groucho
began to wear his trademark greasepaint mustache and to use a stooped walk. Harpo stopped speaking onstage and began to wear a red fright wig and carry a taxi-cab horn. Chico spoke with a fake Italian accent, developed off-stage to deal with neighborhood toughs, while Zeppo adopted the role of the romantic (and "peerlessly cheesy", according to James Agee)[28] straight man. The on-stage personalities of Groucho, Chico, and Harpo were said to have been based on their actual traits. Zeppo, on the other hand, was considered the funniest brother offstage, despite his straight stage roles. He was the youngest and had grown up watching his brothers, so he could fill in for and imitate any of the others when illness kept them from performing. "He was so good as Captain Spaulding
Captain Spaulding
[in Animal Crackers] that I would have let him play the part indefinitely, if they had allowed me to smoke in the audience," Groucho
Groucho
recalled. (Zeppo stood in for Groucho
Groucho
in the film version of Animal Crackers. Groucho
Groucho
was unavailable to film the scene in which the Beaugard painting is stolen, so the script was contrived to include a power failure, which allowed Zeppo to play the Spaulding part in near-darkness.)[29] In December 1917 the Marx brothers were noted in an advertisement playing in a musical comedy act "Home Again".[30] By the 1920s, the Marx Brothers
Marx Brothers
had become one of America's favorite theatrical acts, with their sharp and bizarre sense of humor. They satirized high society and human hypocrisy, and they became famous for their improvisational comedy in free-form scenarios. A famous early instance was when Harpo arranged to chase a fleeing chorus girl across the stage during the middle of a Groucho
Groucho
monologue to see if Groucho would be thrown off. However, to the audience's delight, Groucho merely reacted by commenting, "First time I ever saw a taxi hail a passenger". When Harpo chased the girl back in the other direction, Groucho
Groucho
calmly checked his watch and ad-libbed, "The 9:20's right on time. You can set your watch by the Lehigh Valley." The brothers' vaudeville act had made them stars on Broadway under Chico's management and with Groucho's creative direction—first with the musical revue I'll Say She Is (1924–1925) and then with two musical comedies: The Cocoanuts
The Cocoanuts
(1925–1926) and Animal Crackers (1928–1929). Playwright George S. Kaufman
George S. Kaufman
worked on the last two and helped sharpen the brothers' characterizations. Out of their distinctive costumes, the brothers looked alike, even down to their receding hairlines. Zeppo could pass for a younger Groucho, and played the role of his son in Horse Feathers. A scene in Duck Soup finds Groucho, Harpo, and Chico all appearing in the famous greasepaint eyebrows, mustache, and round glasses while wearing nightcaps. The three are indistinguishable, enabling them to carry off the "mirror scene" perfectly. Origin of the stage names[edit] The stage names of the brothers (except Zeppo) were coined by monologist Art Fisher[28] during a poker game in Galesburg, Illinois, based both on the brothers' personalities and Gus Mager's Sherlocko the Monk, a popular comic strip of the day that included a supporting character named "Groucho".[31] As Fisher dealt each brother a card, he addressed him, for the very first time, by the names they kept for the rest of their lives. The reasons behind Chico's and Harpo's stage names are undisputed, and Gummo's is fairly well established. Groucho's and Zeppo's are far less clear. Arthur was named Harpo because he played the harp, and Leonard became Chico (pronounced "Chick-o") because he was, in the slang of the period, a "chicken chaser". ("Chickens"—later "chicks"—was period slang for women. "In England now," said Groucho, "they were called 'birds'.")[32] In his autobiography, Harpo explained that Milton became Gummo because he crept about the theater like a gumshoe detective.[33] Other sources reported that Gummo was the family's hypochondriac, having been the sickliest of the brothers in childhood, and therefore wore rubber overshoes, called gumshoes, in all kinds of weather. Still others reported that Milton was the troupe's best dancer, and dance shoes tended to have rubber soles.[34] Groucho
Groucho
stated that the source of the name was Gummo wearing galoshes. Whatever the details, the name relates to rubber-soled shoes. The reason that Julius was named Groucho
Groucho
is perhaps the most disputed. There are three explanations:

Julius' temperament: Maxine, Chico's daughter and Groucho's niece, said in the documentary The Unknown Marx Brothers
Marx Brothers
that Julius was named "Groucho" simply because he was grouchy most or all of the time. Robert B. Weide, a director known for his knowledge of Marx Brothers history, said in Remarks On Marx (a documentary short included with the DVD of A Night at the Opera) that, among the competing explanations, he found this one to be the most believable. Steve Allen said in Funny People that the name made no sense; Groucho
Groucho
might have been impudent and impertinent, but not grouchy—at least not around Allen. However, at the very end of his life, Groucho
Groucho
finally admitted that Fisher had named him Groucho
Groucho
because he was the "moody one".[35] The grouch bag: This explanation appears in Harpo's biography; it was voiced by Chico in a TV appearance included on The Unknown Marx Brothers; and it was offered by George Fenneman, Groucho's sidekick on his TV game show You Bet Your Life. A grouch bag was a small drawstring bag worn around the neck in which a traveler could keep money and other valuables so that it would be very difficult for anyone to steal them. Most of Groucho's friends and associates stated that Groucho
Groucho
was extremely stingy, especially after losing all his money in the 1929 stock market crash, so naming him for the grouch bag may have been a comment on this trait. Groucho
Groucho
insisted that this was not the case in chapter six of his first autobiography:

I kept my money in a 'grouch bag'. This was a small chamois bag that actors used to wear around their neck to keep other hungry actors from pinching their dough. Naturally, you're going to think that's where I got my name from. But that's not so. Grouch bags were worn on manly chests long before there was a Groucho.[36]

Groucho's explanation: Groucho
Groucho
himself insisted that he was named for a character in the comic strip Knocko the Monk, which inspired the craze for nicknames ending in "o"; in fact, there was a character in that strip named "Groucho". However, he is the only Marx or Marx associate who defended this theory, and as he is not an unbiased witness, few biographers take the claim seriously.

Groucho
Groucho
himself was no help on this point; he was discussing the Brothers' names during his Carnegie Hall
Carnegie Hall
concert, and he said of his own, "My name, of course, I never did understand." He goes on to mention the possibility that he was named after his unemployed uncle Julius, who lived with his family. The family believed that he was a rich uncle hiding a fortune, and Groucho
Groucho
claimed that he may have been named after him by the family trying to get into the will. "And he finally died, and he left us his will, and in that will he left three razor blades, an 8-ball, a celluloid dicky, and he owed my father $85 beside."[32]

Herbert was not nicknamed by Art Fisher, since he did not join the act until Gummo had departed. As with Groucho, three explanations exist for Herbert's name "Zeppo":

Harpo's explanation: Harpo said in Harpo Speaks! that the brothers had named Herbert for Mr. Zippo, a chimpanzee that was part of another performer's act. Herbert found the nickname very unflattering, and when it came time for him to join the act, he put his foot down and refused to be called "Zippo". The brothers compromised on "Zeppo". Chico's explanation: Chico never wrote an autobiography and gave fewer interviews than his brothers, but his daughter Maxine said in The Unknown Marx Brothers
Marx Brothers
that, when the brothers lived in Chicago, a popular style of humor was the "Zeke and Zeb" joke, which made fun of slow-witted Midwesterners in much the same way that Boudreaux and Thibodeaux jokes mock Cajuns and Ole and Lena jokes mock Minnesotans. One day, Chico returned home to find Herbert sitting on the fence. Herbert greeted him by saying "Hi, Zeke!" Chico responded with "Hi, Zeb!" and the name stuck. The brothers thereafter called him "Zeb" and, when he joined the act, they floated the idea of "Zebbo", eventually preferring "Zeppo". Groucho's explanation: In a tape-recorded interview excerpted on The Unknown Marx Brothers, Groucho
Groucho
said that Zeppo was so named because he was born when the first zeppelins started crossing the ocean. He stated this in his Carnegie Hall
Carnegie Hall
concert, around 1972. The first zeppelin flew in July 1900, and Herbert was born seven months later in February 1901. However, the first transatlantic zeppelin flight was not until 1924, long after Herbert's birth.

Maxine Marx reported in The Unknown Marx Brothers
Marx Brothers
that the brothers listed their real names (Julius, Leonard, Adolph, Milton, and Herbert) on playbills and in programs, and only used the nicknames behind the scenes, until Alexander Woollcott
Alexander Woollcott
overheard them calling one another by the nicknames. He asked them why they used their real names publicly when they had such wonderful nicknames, and they replied, "That wouldn't be dignified." Woollcott answered with a belly laugh. Woollcott did not meet the Marx Brothers
Marx Brothers
until the premiere of I'll Say She Is, which was their first Broadway show, so this would mean that they used their real names throughout their vaudeville days, and that the name "Gummo" never appeared in print during his time in the act. Other sources reported that the Marx Brothers
Marx Brothers
went by their nicknames during their vaudeville era, but briefly listed themselves by their given names when I'll Say She Is opened because they were worried that a Broadway audience would reject a vaudeville act if they were perceived as low class.[37] Motion pictures[edit] Paramount[edit] The Marx Brothers' stage shows became popular just as motion pictures were evolving to "talkies". They signed a contract with Paramount Pictures and embarked on their film career at Paramount's studios in New York City's Astoria section. Their first two released films (after an unreleased short silent film titled Humor Risk) were adaptations of the Broadway shows The Cocoanuts
The Cocoanuts
(1929) and Animal Crackers (1930). Both were written by George S. Kaufman
George S. Kaufman
and Morrie Ryskind. Production then shifted to Hollywood, beginning with a short film that was included in Paramount's twentieth anniversary documentary, The House That Shadows Built (1931), in which they adapted a scene from I'll Say She Is. Their third feature-length film, Monkey Business (1931), was their first movie not based on a stage production. Horse Feathers
Horse Feathers
(1932), in which the brothers satirized the American college system and Prohibition, was their most popular film yet, and won them the cover of Time magazine.[38] It included a running gag from their stage work, in which Harpo produces a ludicrous array of props from inside his coat, including a wooden mallet, a fish, a coiled rope, a tie, a poster of a woman in her underwear, a cup of hot coffee, a sword; and, just after Groucho
Groucho
warns him that he "can't burn the candle at both ends," a candle burning at both ends. During this period Chico and Groucho
Groucho
starred in a radio comedy series, Flywheel, Shyster and Flywheel. Though the series was short lived, much of the material developed for it was used in subsequent films. The show's scripts and recordings were believed lost until copies of the scripts were found in the Library of Congress
Library of Congress
in the 1980s. After publication in a book they were performed with Marx Brothers impersonators for BBC Radio.[39] Their last Paramount film, Duck Soup (1933), directed by the highly regarded Leo McCarey, is the highest rated of the five Marx Brothers films on the American Film Institute's "100 years ... 100 Movies" list. It did not do as well financially as Horse Feathers, but was the sixth-highest grosser of 1933. The film sparked a dispute between the Marxes and the village of Fredonia, New York. "Freedonia" was the name of a fictional country in the script, and the city fathers wrote to Paramount and asked the studio to remove all references to Freedonia because "it is hurting our town's image". Groucho
Groucho
fired back a sarcastic retort asking them to change the name of their town, because "it's hurting our picture."[citation needed] MGM, RKO, and United Artists[edit]

in A Night in Casablanca (1946)

After expiration of the Paramount contract Zeppo left the act to become an agent. He and brother Gummo went on to build one of the biggest talent agencies in Hollywood, helping the likes of Jack Benny and Lana Turner
Lana Turner
get their starts. Groucho
Groucho
and Chico did radio, and there was talk of returning to Broadway. At a bridge game with Chico, Irving Thalberg
Irving Thalberg
began discussing the possibility of the Marxes joining Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. They signed, now billed as "Groucho, Chico, Harpo, Marx Bros."[40] Unlike the free-for-all scripts at Paramount, Thalberg insisted on a strong story structure that made the brothers more sympathetic characters, interweaving their comedy with romantic plots and non-comic musical numbers, and targeting their mischief-making at obvious villains. Thalberg was adamant that scripts include a "low point", where all seems lost for both the Marxes and the romantic leads. He instituted the innovation of testing the film's script before live audiences before filming began, to perfect the comic timing, and to retain jokes that earned laughs and replace those that did not. Thalberg restored Harpo's harp solos and Chico's piano solos, which had been omitted from Duck Soup.

The Three Marx Brothers
Marx Brothers
by Yousuf Karsh, 1948

The first Marx Brothers/Thalberg film was A Night at the Opera
Opera
(1935), a satire on the world of opera, where the brothers help two young singers in love by throwing a production of Il Trovatore
Il Trovatore
into chaos. The film—including its famous scene where an absurd number of people crowd into a tiny stateroom on a ship—was a great success, and was followed two years later by an even bigger hit, A Day at the Races (1937), in which the brothers cause mayhem in a sanitarium and at a horse race. The film features Groucho
Groucho
and Chico's famous "Tootsie Frootsie Ice Cream" sketch. In a 1969 interview with Dick Cavett, Groucho
Groucho
said that the two movies made with Thalberg were the best that they ever produced. Despite the Thalberg films' success, the brothers left MGM in 1937; Thalberg had died suddenly on September 14, 1936, two weeks after filming began on A Day at the Races, leaving the Marxes without an advocate at the studio. After a short experience at RKO
RKO
(Room Service, 1938), the Marx Brothers returned to MGM and made three more films: At the Circus (1939), Go West (1940) and The Big Store
The Big Store
(1941). Prior to the release of The Big Store
The Big Store
the team announced they were retiring from the screen. Four years later, however, Chico persuaded his brothers to make two additional films, A Night in Casablanca (1946) and Love Happy (1949), to alleviate his severe gambling debts. Both pictures were released by United Artists. Later years[edit] From the 1940s onward Chico and Harpo appeared separately and together in nightclubs and casinos. Chico fronted a big band, the Chico Marx Orchestra (with 17-year-old Mel Tormé
Mel Tormé
as a vocalist). Groucho
Groucho
made several radio appearances during the 1940s and starred in You Bet Your Life, which ran from 1947 to 1961 on NBC
NBC
radio and television. He authored several books, including Groucho
Groucho
and Me (1959), Memoirs of a Mangy Lover (1964) and The Groucho
Groucho
Letters (1967). Groucho
Groucho
and Chico briefly appeared together in a 1957 short film promoting The Saturday Evening Post
The Saturday Evening Post
entitled "Showdown at Ulcer Gulch," directed by animator Shamus Culhane, Chico's son-in-law. Groucho, Chico, and Harpo worked together (in separate scenes) in The Story of Mankind (1957). In 1959, the three began production of Deputy Seraph, a TV series starring Harpo and Chico as blundering angels, and Groucho
Groucho
(in every third episode) as their boss, the "Deputy Seraph." The project was abandoned when Chico was found to be uninsurable (and incapable of memorizing his lines) due to severe arteriosclerosis. On March 8 of that year, Chico and Harpo starred as bumbling thieves in The Incredible Jewel Robbery, a half-hour pantomimed episode of the General Electric Theater
General Electric Theater
on CBS. Groucho
Groucho
made a cameo appearance—uncredited, because of constraints in his NBC contract—in the last scene, and delivered the only line of dialogue ("We won't talk until we see our lawyer!").

The five brothers, just prior to their only television appearance together, on the Tonight! America After Dark, hosted by Jack Lescoulie, February 18, 1957; from left: Harpo, Zeppo, Chico, Groucho and Gummo

According to a September 1947 article in Newsweek, Groucho, Harpo, Chico and Zeppo all signed to appear as themselves in a biopic entitled The Life and Times of the Marx Brothers. In addition to being a non-fiction biography of the Marxes, the film would have featured the brothers reenacting much of their previously unfilmed material from both their vaudeville and Broadway eras. The film, had it been made, would have been the first performance by the Brothers as a quartet since 1933. The five brothers made only one television appearance together, in 1957, on an early incarnation of The Tonight Show called Tonight! America After Dark, hosted by Jack Lescoulie. Five years later (October 1, 1962) after Jack Paar's tenure, Groucho
Groucho
made a guest appearance to introduce the Tonight Show's new host, Johnny Carson.[41] Around 1960, the acclaimed director Billy Wilder
Billy Wilder
considered writing and directing a new Marx Brothers
Marx Brothers
film. Tentatively titled A Day at the U.N., it was to be a comedy of international intrigue set around the United Nations
United Nations
building in New York. Wilder had discussions with Groucho
Groucho
and Gummo, but the project was put on hold because of Harpo's ill-health and abandoned when Chico died in 1961.[42] He was 74. Three years later, on September 28, 1964, Harpo died at the age of 75 of a heart attack one day after heart surgery. In 1966 Filmation
Filmation
produced a pilot for a Marx Brothers
Marx Brothers
cartoon. Groucho's voice was supplied by Pat Harrington Jr.
Pat Harrington Jr.
and other voices were done by Ted Knight
Ted Knight
and Joe Besser.[43][44] In 1970, the four Marx Brothers
Marx Brothers
had a brief reunion of sorts in the animated ABC television special The Mad, Mad, Mad Comedians, produced by Rankin-Bass
Rankin-Bass
animation (of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer fame). The special featured animated reworkings of various famous comedians' acts, including W. C. Fields, Jack Benny, George Burns, Henny Youngman, the Smothers Brothers, Flip Wilson, Phyllis Diller, Jack E. Leonard, George Jessel and the Marx Brothers. Most of the comedians provided their own voices for their animated counterparts, except for Fields and Chico Marx
Chico Marx
(both had died), and Zeppo Marx
Zeppo Marx
(who had left show business in 1933). Voice actor Paul Frees
Paul Frees
filled in for all three (no voice was needed for Harpo). The Marx Brothers' segment was a reworking of a scene from their Broadway play I'll Say She Is, a parody of Napoleon
Napoleon
that Groucho
Groucho
considered among the brothers' funniest routines. The sketch featured animated representations, if not the voices, of all four brothers. Romeo Muller
Romeo Muller
is credited as having written special material for the show, but the script for the classic " Napoleon
Napoleon
Scene" was probably supplied by Groucho. Impact on modern entertainment[edit] On January 16, 1977, the Marx Brothers
Marx Brothers
were inducted into the Motion Picture Hall of Fame. With the deaths of Gummo in April 1977, Groucho in August 1977, and Zeppo in November 1979, the brothers were gone. But their impact on the entertainment community continues well into the 21st century. Many television shows and movies have used Marx Brothers
Marx Brothers
references. Animaniacs
Animaniacs
and Tiny Toons, for example, have featured Marx Brothers jokes and skits. Hawkeye Pierce
Hawkeye Pierce
(Alan Alda) on M*A*S*H occasionally put on a fake nose and glasses, and, holding a cigar, did a Groucho impersonation to amuse patients recovering from surgery. Early episodes also featured a singing and off-scene character named Captain Spaulding as a tribute. Bugs Bunny
Bugs Bunny
impersonated Groucho Marx
Groucho Marx
in the 1947 cartoon Slick Hare (with Elmer Fudd
Elmer Fudd
dressing up as Harpo and chasing him with a cleaver) and in a later cartoon he again impersonated Groucho
Groucho
hosting a TV show called "You Beat Your Wife," asking Elmer Fudd
Elmer Fudd
if he had stopped beating his wife. Tex Avery's cartoon Hollywood Steps Out
Hollywood Steps Out
(1941) featured appearances by Harpo and Groucho. They appeared, sometimes with Chico and Zeppo caricatured, in cartoons starring Mickey Mouse, Flip the Frog
Flip the Frog
and others. In the Airwolf
Airwolf
episode 'Condemned', four anti-virus formulae for a deadly plague were named after the four Marx Brothers. In All in the Family, Rob Reiner often did imitations of Groucho, and Sally Struthers dressed as Harpo in one episode in which she (as Gloria Stivic) and Rob (as Mike Stivic) were going to a Marx Brothers film festival, with Reiner dressing as Groucho. Gabe Kaplan did many Groucho
Groucho
imitations on his sit-com Welcome Back, Kotter
Welcome Back, Kotter
and Robert Hegyes sometimes imitated both Chico and Harpo on the show. In Woody Allen's film Hannah and Her Sisters (1986), Woody's character, after an unsuccessful suicide attempt, is inspired to go on living after seeing a revival showing of Duck Soup. In Manhattan
Manhattan
(1979), he names the Marx Brothers
Marx Brothers
as something that makes life worth living. In an episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show
The Mary Tyler Moore Show
Murray calls the new station owner at home late at night to complain when the song "Hooray for Captain Spaulding" is cut from a showing of Animal Crackers because of the new owners' policy to cut more and more from shows to sell more ad time, putting his job on the line. In Everyone Says I Love You
Everyone Says I Love You
(1996), Woody Allen and Goldie Hawn
Goldie Hawn
dress as Groucho
Groucho
for a Marx Brothers
Marx Brothers
celebration in France, and the song "Hooray for Captain Spaulding", from Animal Crackers, is performed, with various actors dressed as the brothers, striking poses famous to Marx fans. (The film itself is named after a song from Horse Feathers, a version of which plays over the opening credits.) Harpo Marx
Harpo Marx
appeared as himself in a sketch on I Love Lucy
I Love Lucy
in which he and Lucille Ball
Lucille Ball
reprised the mirror routine from Duck Soup, with Lucy dressed up as Harpo. Lucy had worked with the Marxes when she appeared in a supporting role in an earlier Marx Brothers
Marx Brothers
film, Room Service. Chico once appeared on I've Got a Secret
I've Got a Secret
dressed up as Harpo; his secret was shown in a caption reading, "I'm pretending to be Harpo Marx (I'm Chico)". The Marx Brothers
Marx Brothers
were spoofed in the second act of the Broadway Review A Day in Hollywood/A Night in the Ukraine. In the 1989 film Indiana Jones
Indiana Jones
and the Last Crusade, Sean Connery tells Harrison Ford
Harrison Ford
he should have sent his diary "to the Marx Brothers" rather than entrusting it to Harrison's Indiana Jones character. Filmography[edit] Films with the four Marx Brothers:

Humor Risk
Humor Risk
(1921), previewed once and never released; thought to be lost The Cocoanuts
The Cocoanuts
(1929), released by Paramount Pictures; based on a 1925 Marx Brothers
Marx Brothers
Broadway musical Animal Crackers (1930), released by Paramount; based on a 1928 Marx Brothers Broadway musical The House That Shadows Built (1931), released by Paramount (short subject) Monkey Business (1931), released by Paramount Horse Feathers
Horse Feathers
(1932), released by Paramount Duck Soup (1933), released by Paramount

Films with the three Marx Brothers
Marx Brothers
(post-Zeppo):

A Night at the Opera
Opera
(1935), released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer A Day at the Races (1937), released by MGM Room Service (1938), released by RKO
RKO
Radio
Radio
Pictures; based on a 1937 Broadway play that did not star the Marx Brothers At the Circus
At the Circus
(1939), released by MGM Go West (1940), released by MGM The Big Store
The Big Store
(1941), released by MGM (intended to be their last film) A Night in Casablanca (1946), released by United Artists Love Happy
Love Happy
(1949), released by United Artists The Story of Mankind (1957), released by Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.
(not a Marx Brothers film, but the three brothers perform separate cameos) The Incredible Jewel Robbery
The Incredible Jewel Robbery
(1959), an episode of the TV series General Electric Theater
General Electric Theater
starring Harpo and Chico with an uncredited Groucho
Groucho
in a cameo role

Solo endeavors:

Groucho:

Copacabana (1947), released by United Artists Mr. Music
Mr. Music
(1951), released by Paramount Double Dynamite
Double Dynamite
(1951), released by RKO A Girl in Every Port (1952), released by RKO Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?
Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?
(1957), released by 20th Century Fox (uncredited) The Mikado
The Mikado
(1960), made for television Skidoo (1968), released by Paramount.

Harpo:

Too Many Kisses (1925), released by Paramount La Fiesta de Santa Barbara
La Fiesta de Santa Barbara
(1935) released by MGM Stage Door Canteen (1943), released by United Artists
United Artists
(cameo)

Chico:

Papa Romani (1950), television pilot

Zeppo:

A Kiss in the Dark (1925), released by Paramount (cameo)

Characters[edit]

Film Year Groucho Chico Harpo Zeppo

Humor Risk 1921 The Villain The Italian Watson, Detective The Love Interest

Too Many Kisses 1925

The Village Peter Pan

The Cocoanuts 1929 Mr. Hammer Chico Harpo Jamison

Animal Crackers 1930 Captain Geoffrey T. Spaulding Signor Emmanuel Ravelli The Professor Horatio Jamison

The House That Shadows Built 1931 Caesar's Ghost Tomalio The Merchant of Weiners Sammy Brown

Monkey Business 1931 Groucho Chico Harpo Zeppo

Horse Feathers 1932 Professor Quincy Adams Wagstaff Baravelli Pinky Frank Wagstaff

Duck Soup 1933 Rufus T. Firefly Chicolini Pinky Lt. Bob Roland

A Night at the Opera 1935 Otis B. Driftwood Fiorello Tomasso

A Day at the Races 1937 Dr. Hugo Z. Hackenbush Tony Stuffy

Room Service 1938 Gordon Miller Harry Binelli Faker Englund

At the Circus 1939 J. Cheever Loophole Antonio Pirelli Punchy

Go West 1940 S. Quentin Quale Joe Panello Rusty Panello

The Big Store 1941 Wolf J. Flywheel Ravelli Wacky

Stage Door Canteen 1943

Harpo

A Night in Casablanca 1946 Ronald Kornblow Corbaccio Rusty

Copacabana 1947 Lionel Q. Devereaux

Love Happy 1949 Sam Grunion Faustino the Great Harpo

Mr. Music 1951 Himself

Double Dynamite 1951 Emile J. Keck

A Girl in Every Port 1952 Benjamin Franklin 'Benny' Linn

Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? 1957 George Schmidlap

The Story of Mankind 1957 Peter Minuit Monk Sir Isaac Newton

The Incredible Jewel Robbery 1959 Suspect in a police lineup Nick Harry

The Mikado 1960 Ko-Ko

Skidoo 1968 God

Legacy[edit] Awards and honors[edit] The Marx Brothers
Marx Brothers
were collectively named #20 on AFI's list of the Top 25 American male screen legends of Classic Hollywood. They are the only group to be so honored. The "Sweathogs" of the ABC-TV series Welcome Back Kotter
Welcome Back Kotter
(John Travolta, Robert Hegyes, Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs, and Ron Palillo) patterned much of their on-camera banter in that series after the Marx Brothers.[45][46][47] Series star Gabe Kaplan was reputedly a big Marx Brothers fan. See also[edit]

Book: Marx Brothers

Margaret Dumont, an actress frequently double-acting with the Marx brothers, especially Groucho Thelma Todd, another actress frequently appearing alongside the Marx brothers

References[edit]

^ La famille paternelle des Marx Brothers
Marx Brothers
(in French) ^ "Mrs. Minnie Marx. Mother of Four Marx Brothers, Musical Comedy Stars, Dies". The New York Times. September 16, 1929. p. 27. Retrieved 11 August 2016.  ^ "Samuel Marx, Father of Four Marx Brothers
Marx Brothers
of Stage and Screen Fame". The New York Times. May 12, 1933. p. 17. Retrieved 2016-08-11.  ^ "Chico Marx, Stage and Film Comedian, Dies at 70 - Oldest of 5 Brothers Took Role of Italian Piano Player - Team Business Manager". The New York Times. October 12, 1961. p. 29. Retrieved 12 August 2016.  ^ "Harpo Marx, the Silent Comedian, Is Dead at 70". The New York Times. September 29, 1964. p. 1. Retrieved 12 August 2016.  ^ " Groucho
Groucho
Marx, Comedian, Dead. Movie Star and TV Host Was 86. Master of the Insult Groucho
Groucho
Marx, Film Comedian and Host of 'You Bet Your Life,' Dies". The New York Times. August 20, 2007. p. 1.  ^ 1900 Census shows birth year as Oct 1892 and his WWI draft registration says 21 Oct 1892 Roll #1613143, on his death certificate and his grave the year 1893 is given. ^ "Gummo Marx, Managed Comedians". The New York Times. Palm Springs, California, April 21, 1977 (Reuters) Gummo Marx, an original member of the Marx brothers' comedy team, died here today. He was 83 years old.  ^ " Zeppo Marx
Zeppo Marx
Dies on Coast at 78; Last Survivor of Comedy Team; 'Tired of Being a Stooge'". The New York Times. December 1, 1979. Zeppo Marx, the surviving member of the Marx Brothers
Marx Brothers
comedy team who left the quartet in 1934 for other businesses, died yesterday at Eisenhower Medical Center in Palm Springs, Calif. The youngest of the brothers, he was 78 years old and had lived in Pal ...  ^ http://www.marx-brothers.org/biography/index.htm ^ Adamson, Joe (1973). Groucho, Harpo, Chico and Sometimes Zeppo: A Celebration of the Marx Brothers. New York: Simon and Schuster. pp. 6–8. ISBN 0-340-18807-3.  ^ Louvish, Simon (June 2000). Monkey Business. New York: St. Martin's Press. pp. 10–11. ISBN 0-312-25292-7.  ^ Timphus, Stefan. "Family and Friends - The Marx Brothers." The Marx Brothers Chico, Harpo, Groucho, Gummo, Zeppo. N.p., n.d. Web. 7 August 2010. http://www.marx-brothers.org/biography/index.htm ^ Simon Louvish. "Monkey Business: The Lives and Legends of the Marx Brothers: Groucho, Chico, Harpo, Zeppo With Added Gummo", The New York Times. ^ http://www.marx-brothers.org/biography/marxes.htm ^ The Marx Brothers : Their World, Their Movies, Their Lives, Their Humour and Their Legacy by Robert G. Anstey ^ Louvish, Simon. Monkey Business: The Lives and Legends of the Marx Brothers. Thomas Dunne Books; 1st U.S. edition (2000). Also e-text at Google Books ^ Current Biography, The H. W. Wilson Company, archived from the original on 2012-04-26, retrieved 2011-11-29  ^ Marman Twin – Herbert Zeppo Marx
Zeppo Marx
Marx Brothers
Marx Brothers
Archived 2014-07-17 at the Wayback Machine. ^ Marx Brothers
Marx Brothers
on IMDb ^ Marx and Barber. ^ Kanfer, pp. 35–36. ^ Marx, Harpo (1961). Harpo Speaks. New York: Limelight Editions. pp. 112–113. ISBN 0-87910-036-2.  ^ "Runaway Mules Gave Marx Bros. Cue to Comedy". San Antonio Express. July 20, 1930.  ^ [1][dead link] ^ Chandler, p. ???. ^ "Groucho's Threat Against Nixon and 9 More Marx Brothers
Marx Brothers
Stories" at mental_floss. ^ a b Joe Adamson, Groucho, Harpo, Chico and Sometimes Zeppo: A Celebration of the Marx Brothers
Marx Brothers
New York: Simon and Schuster, 1973. ^ Kanfer, pp. 139–140. ^ The labor world., December 15, 1917, Image 2 Library of Congress accessed December 26, 2015 ^ Marx, Groucho
Groucho
(1976). The Groucho
Groucho
Phile, p. 31. ^ a b Groucho
Groucho
Live At Carnegie Hall ^ Marx and Barber, p. ??. ^ Louvish, S. (1999). 'Monkey business: The lives and legends of the Marx Brothers: Groucho, Chico, Harpo, Zeppo with added Gummo.' London: Faber & Faber. ^ Marx, G. (1976). The Groucho
Groucho
Phile. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, p. 30. ^ Marx, Groucho
Groucho
and Me. ^ Kanfer. ^ Time magazine cover, August 15, 1932 ^ "BBC Radio
Radio
4 Extra - Flywheel, Shyster and Flywheel". Bbc.co.uk. 2014-05-31. Retrieved 2014-08-10.  ^ Harpo was a very skillful bridge player, and a consistent winner in the highest circles.[citation needed] ^ Johnny Carson. Museum of Broadcast Communications Retrieved 2010-08-20. ^ Gore, Chris (1999). The Fifty Greatest Movies Never Made, New York: St. Martin's Griffin. ^ Scheimer, Lou; Mangels, Andy (2012). Lou Scheimer: Creating the Filmation
Filmation
Generation. Raleigh, NC: Two Morrows Publishing. p. 51. ISBN 978-1-60549-044-1.  ^ Beck, Jerry (2009-07-22). "Filmation's Marx Brothers?". Cartoon Brew. Retrieved 2014-05-10.  ^ https://tv.yahoo.com/blogs/tv-news/-welcome-back--kotter---25-things-you-never-knew-about-the-sweathogs-000758294.html ^ http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Series/WelcomeBackKotter ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-01-22. Retrieved 2015-01-22. 

Further reading[edit]

Marx, Groucho, Beds (1930) Farrar & Rinehart, (1976) Bobbs-Merrill Marx, Groucho, Many Happy Returns (1942) Simon & Schuster Crichton, Kyle, The Marx Brothers
Marx Brothers
(1950) Doubleday & Co. Marx, Arthur, Life with Groucho
Groucho
(1954) Simon & Schuster, (revised as My Life with Groucho: A Son's Eye View, 1988) ISBN 0-330-31132-8 Marx, Groucho, Groucho
Groucho
and Me (1959) Random House, (1989) Fireside Books ISBN 0-306-80666-5 Marx, Harpo (with Barber, Rowland), Harpo Speaks! (1961) Bernard Geis Associates, (1985) Limelight Editions ISBN 0-87910-036-2 Marx, Groucho, Memoirs of a Mangy Lover (1963) Bernard Geis Associates, (2002) Da Capo Press ISBN 0-306-81104-9 Marx, Groucho, The Groucho
Groucho
Letters: Letters from and to Groucho
Groucho
Marx (1967, 2007) Simon & Schuster ISBN 0-306-80607-X Zimmerman, Paul D., The Marx Brothers
Marx Brothers
at the Movies (1968) G.P. Putnam's Sons Eyles, Allen, The Marx Brothers: Their World of Comedy (1969) A.S. Barnes Robinson, David, The Great Funnies: A History of Film Comedy (1969) E.P. Dutton Durgnat, Raymond, "Four Against Alienation" from The Crazy Mirror: Hollywood Comedy and the American Image (1970) Dell Maltin, Leonard, Movie Comedy Teams (1970, revised 1985) New American Library Anobile, Richard J. (ed.), Why a Duck?: Visual and Verbal Gems from the Marx Brothers
Marx Brothers
Movies (1971) Avon Books Bergman, Andrew, "Some Anarcho-Nihilist Laff Riots" from We're in the Money: Depression America and Its Films (1971) New York University Press Marx, Arthur, Son of Groucho
Groucho
(1972) David McKay Co. ISBN 0-679-50355-2 Adamson, Joe, Groucho, Harpo, Chico and Sometimes Zeppo (1973, 1983) Simon & Schuster Kalmar, Bert, and Perelman, S. J., The Four Marx Brothers
Marx Brothers
in Monkey Business and Duck Soup (Classic Film Scripts) (1973) Simon & Schuster Mast, Gerald, The Comic Mind: Comedy and the Movies (1973, 2nd ed. 1979) University of Chicago Press McCaffrey, Donald W., "Zanies in a Stage-Movieland" from The Golden Age of Sound Comedy (1973) A. S. Barnes Anobile, Richard J. (ed.), Hooray for Captain Spaulding!: Verbal and Visual Gems from Animal Crackers (1974) Avon Books Anobile, Richard J., The Marx Bros. Scrapbook (1974) Grosset & Dunlap, (1975) Warner Books Wolf, William, The Marx Brothers
Marx Brothers
(1975) Pyramid Library Marx, Groucho, The Groucho
Groucho
Phile (1976) Bobbs-Merrill Co. Marx, Groucho
Groucho
(with Arce, Hector), The Secret Word Is GROUCHO (1976) G.P. Putnam's Sons Byron, Stuart and Weis, Elizabeth (eds.), The National Society of Film Critics on Movie Comedy (1977) Grossman/Viking Maltin, Leonard, The Great Movie Comedians (1978) Crown Publishers Arce, Hector, Groucho
Groucho
(1979) G. P. Putnam's Sons Chandler, Charlotte, Hello, I Must Be Going: Groucho
Groucho
& His Friends (1978) Doubleday & Co., (2007) Simon & Schuster ISBN 0-14-005222-4 Marx, Maxine, Growing Up with Chico (1980) Prentice-Hall, (1984) Simon & Schuster Weales, Gerald, Canned Goods as Caviar: American Film Comedy of the 1930s (1985) University of Chicago Press Gehring, Wes D., The Marx Brothers: A Bio-Bibliography (1987) Greenwood Press Barson, Michael (ed.), Flywheel, Shyster and Flywheel: The Marx Brothers Lost Radio
Radio
Show (1988) Pantheon Books Allen, Miriam Marx, Love, Groucho: Letters from Groucho Marx
Groucho Marx
to His Daughter Miriam (1992) Faber & Faber ISBN 0-571-12915-3 Eyles, Allen, The Complete Films of the Marx Brothers
Marx Brothers
(1992) Carol Publishing Group Gehring, Wes D., Groucho
Groucho
and W.C. Fields: Huckster Comedians (1994) University Press of Mississippi Mitchell, Glenn, The Marx Brothers
Marx Brothers
Encyclopedia (1996) B.T. Batsford Ltd., (revised 2003) Reynolds & Hearn ( ISBN 0-7134-7838-1) Stoliar, Steve, Raised Eyebrows: My Years Inside Groucho's House (1996) General Publishing Group ISBN 1-881649-73-3 Dwan, Robert, As Long As They're Laughing!: Groucho Marx
Groucho Marx
and You Bet Your Life (2000) Midnight Marquee Press, Inc. Kanfer, Stefan, Groucho: The Life and Times of Julius Henry Marx (2000) Alfred A. Knopf ISBN 0-375-70207-5 Bego, Mark, The Marx Brothers
Marx Brothers
(2001) Pocket Essentials Louvish, Simon, Monkey Business: The Lives and Legends of the Marx Brothers (2001) Thomas Dunne Books ISBN 0-312-25292-7 Gehring, Wes D., Film Clowns of the Depression (2007) McFarland & Co. Keesey, Douglas, with Duncan, Paul (ed.), Marx Bros. (2007) Movie Icons series, Taschen

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Marx Brothers.

Marxology List of Marx Brothers
Marx Brothers
radio appearances The Marx Brothers’ Lost Film: Getting to the Bottom of a Mystery in-depth article on the background and fate of the first Marx Brothers film Marx Brothers
Marx Brothers
Night at the Opera
Opera
Treasury The Marx Brothers
Marx Brothers
Museum The Marx Brothers
Marx Brothers
Council Podcast

v t e

The Marx Brothers

Chico Harpo Groucho Gummo Zeppo

Films

Humor Risk
Humor Risk
(1921) The Cocoanuts
The Cocoanuts
(1929) Animal Crackers (1930) The House That Shadows Built (1931) Monkey Business (1931) Horse Feathers
Horse Feathers
(1932) Duck Soup (1933) A Night at the Opera
Opera
(1935) A Day at the Races (1937) Room Service (1938) At the Circus
At the Circus
(1939) Go West (1940) The Big Store
The Big Store
(1941) A Night in Casablanca (1946) Love Happy
Love Happy
(1949) The Story of Mankind (1957)

Musicals

I'll Say She Is (1924) The Cocoanuts
The Cocoanuts
(1925) Animal Crackers (1928)

Songs

"Hello, I Must Be Going" "Hooray for Captain Spaulding" "Lydia the Tattooed Lady"

Other appearances

Flywheel, Shyster, and Flywheel
Flywheel, Shyster, and Flywheel
(radio, 1932 – episodes) Blue Ribbon Town
Blue Ribbon Town
(radio, 1943–44) "The Incredible Jewel Robbery" (TV, 1959) Deputy Seraph (TV, 1959)

Family members

Minnie Marx Sam Marx Al Shean Barbara Marx Susan Fleming Eden Hartford Arthur Marx Melinda Marx Miriam Marx Gregg Marx

Related articles

An Evening with Groucho Captain Spaulding Giraffes on Horseback Salad Groucho
Groucho
Club Groucho
Groucho
glasses Hello, I Must Be Going! Marx & Lennon Minnie's Boys Groucho: A Life in Revue (1986 play) "Why a Duck?"

Book Category

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 121542107 LCCN: n82033052 ISNI: 0000 0000 8190 0174 GND: 801344-5 SELIBR: 225822 MusicBrainz: 36f93472-e1c2-45bc-b141-801e79b7de14 NLA: 36140206 NKC: xx016

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