By Rosie Moore
Groucho Marx was born on October 2, 1890 in New York City. His real name was Julius Henry and he was the third of five brothers which included Harpo, Leonard, Zeppo, and Gummo. He received his colorful nickname from a fellow vaudeville performer named Art Fisher because of his colorful personality. He renamed, Leonard, Chico; Adolph, Harpo; Milton, Gummo; and the youngest one, Herbert, became Zeppo. He was the first of his brothers to start a stage career at the age of fifteen called “The Leroy Trio.” That wasn’t very successful as he had a habit of arriving at the theater late. He started to use greasepaint to create a moustache and he found this so much easier than a glued-on mustache that he insisted on using this technique from then on. The brothers finally had success with the musical comedy called, “I’ll Say She Is.”
Remember the movie, “Animal Crackers”? (You older ones?) It had the character “Captain Spaulding” which remained a trade-mark for Groucho for the rest of his life.
In later years Groucho started working on radio. His biggest success was the comedy quiz show, “You Bet Your Life.”
The show later moved to television and was on the air for fourteen years. Many happy hours were spent watching that show. Here are some of Groucho’s secrets to a happy life, in his own words:
Although it is generally known, I think it’s about time to announce that I was born at a very early age.
I find television very educational. Every time someone switches it on, I go into another room and read a good book.
I don’t care to belong to any club that will have me as a member.
Die, my dear? Why, that’s the last thing I’ll do!
Some of his trademarks were wearing a long coat, thick glasses, and holding on to a cigar on stage, and, of course, his painted on mustache. In addition to just liking cigars, Marx explained that they proved useful, too. He said,“if you forget a line, all you have to do stick the cigar in your mouth and puff on it until you think of what you’ve forgotten.”
Groucho was married three times and had two children. He entertained many people with snappy one-liners and his sharp wit for seven decades. He died in 1977 from pneumonia. Is there anyone alive today who can compare with him? I think not. I still miss him.
Thought for the day: There is no one luckier than he who thinks himself so. German proverb.
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