The late, great American comedian, actor television star Julius Henry “Groucho” Marx sadly passed away on August 19 at Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. After having been hospitalized for pneumonia on June 22, 1977. He was Born 2nd October 1890 in New York City. He is known as a master of quick wit and widely considered one of the best comedians of the modern era. His rapid-fire, often impromptu delivery of innuendo-laden patter earned him many admirers and imitators. He made 13 feature films with his siblings the Marx Brothers, of whom he was the third-born. He also had a successful solo career, most notably as the host of the radio and television game show You Bet Your Life.Julius took to the stage as a boy singer in 1905. Though he reputedly claimed that as a vaudevillian he was “hopelessly average,” it was merely a wisecrack. By 1909, Juius and his brothers became a vaudeville singing group. Billed as “The Four Nightingales”, Julius (Groucho), Milton (Gummo Marx), Arthur (Harpo Marx), and another boy singer, Lou Levy, traveled the U.S. vaudeville circuits to little fanfare.
The family moved to La Grange, Illinois, to play the Midwest. After a particularly dispiriting performance, Julius, Milton, and Arthur began cracking jokes onstage for their own amusement. Much to their surprise, the audience liked them better as comedians than as singers, so They modified the then-popular Gus Edwards comedy skit “School Days” and renamed it “Fun In Hi Skule”. For a time in vaudeville all the brothers performed using ethnic accents. Leonard, the oldest, developed the Italian accent he used as Chico Marx to convince some roving bullies that he was Italian, not Jewish. Arthur, the next oldest, donned a curly red wig and became “Patsy Brannigan”, a stereotypical Irish character. His discomfort speaking on stage led to his uncle Al Shean’s suggestion that he stop speaking altogether and play the role in mime and Julius Marx developed a fast-talking wise-guy character that became his trademark.
Groucho Marx made 26 movies, 13 of them with his brothers Chico and Harpo and developed a routine as a wise-cracking hustler with a distinctive chicken-walking lope, an exaggerated greasepaint mustache and eyebrows, and an ever-present cigar, all of which were carried over from his days in vaudeville, improvising insults to stuffy dowagers (often played by Margaret Dumont) and anyone else who stood in his way. As the Marx Brothers, he and his brothers starred in a series of popular stage shows and movies.Their first movie was a silent film made in 1921 & A decade later, the team made some of their Broadway hits into movies, including The Coconauts and Animal Crackers. Other successful films were Monkey Business, Horse Feathers, Duck Soup, and A Night at the Opera. Amazingly off-camera, Harpo and Chico were difficult to recognize by their fans without their wigs and costumes, and it was almost impossible to recognize Groucho without his trademark eye-glasses, fake eyebrows and mustache.
Marx also worked as a radio comedian and show host. One of his earliest stints was in a short-lived series in 1932 Flywheel, Shyster, and Flywheel, co-starring Chico. In 1947, he was chosen to host a radio quiz program You Bet Your Life. Filmed before a live audience, the television show consisted of Marx interviewing the contestants and ad libbing jokes, before playing a brief quiz. The show was responsible for many memorable catchphrases ” Groucho also made a supposed response to a contestant who had nine children, which brought the house down. In response to Marx asking in disbelief why she had so many children, the contestant replied, “I love my husband.” To this, Marx responded, “I love my cigar, too, but I take it out of my mouth once in a while.” and it remains one of the most often quoted “Groucho-isms”. Throughout his career he introduced a number of memorable songs in films, including “Hooray for Captain Spaulding” and “Hello, I Must Be Going”, in Animal Crackers, “Whatever It Is, I’m Against It”, “Everyone Says I Love You” and “Lydia the Tattooed Lady”. Frank Sinatra, who once quipped that the only thing he could do better than Marx was sing, made a film with Marx and Jane Russell in 1951 entitled Double Dynamite.
Following his death Marx was cremated and the ashes were interred in the Eden Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles. His mausoleum marker bears only his stage name, a Star of David, and the years of his birth and death. The Marx Brothers, continue to remain popular due to their quick fire wit, bizarre humour and comic timing which has also nspired many comics after them.