Marx, Groucho (1890-1977)

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Marx, Groucho (1890-1977)

The third-born of the performing Marx Brothers, Julius "Groucho" Marx made the most profound contributions to American comedy. His wisecracking stage persona has achieved iconic status akin to Charlie Chaplin's hapless tramp and Buster Keaton's stone face. When teamed with his brothers, Groucho often served as a stand-in for the audience member, a reluctant go-between for the more antic Chico and Harpo. Venal, lecherous, motivated by the desire for money and a life of ease, Groucho's film façade was the male id personified. When the brothers' movie career had run its course, Groucho evolved into a gentler, more grandfatherly figure as host of the radio and TV quiz program You Bet Your Life. Toward the end of his life he made the talk show rounds, often appearing in an absurd beret to trade quips with Dick Cavett.

—Robert E. Schnakenberg

Further Reading:

Adamson, Joe. Groucho, Harpo, Chico, and Sometimes Zeppo. New York, Simon & Schuster, 1973.

Marx, Groucho. Groucho and Me. New York, Da Capo Press, 1995.