The Marx Brothers: The Family of Comedy

         The Marx Brothers are known to be as the family of comedy in the history of cinema. Brothers Zeppo, Groucho, Chico, Gummo and Harpo have influenced the art of comedy in film and became a classic name in cinema history.

         Born to the parents of Miene and Simon Marx, the brothers grew up in New York City. Their career started by the influences of Miene’s brother, Abraham Elieser, a comedian, who became known as Al Sheen. The first comedy performance of the Marx Brothers was “Fun in Hi Skule” in 1912. This film was a vaudeville comedy viewed as a “Fun with Ethnic Stereotypes” led by Groucho Marx. Reference says: "By the 1920’s the Marx Brothers had become one of America’s theatrical acts. With their sharp and bizarre sense of humor, they sanitized institutions such as high society and human hypocrisy. They also became famous for their improvisational comedy in free form scenarios" (“Marx Brothers,” Wikipedia)

         Some of the famous Marx Brothers films are as follows: Duck Soup (1933), Animal Crackers (1930), Horse Feathers (1932), Monkey Business (1931), A Night at the Opera (1935), and A Day at the Races (1937).

         Chico Marx, born as Lenard Marx, was the second child born yet the oldest out of the brothers. The name Chico came from his being known for chasing chicks. He played in all the Marx Brothers vaudeville shows and films. Chico became a gambler and died from heart disease. Harpo Marx, born as Adolph Marx, changed his name to Auther due to the fact that Adolph sounded too German during War World I. He was the second oldest and was known as the Marx brother who never spoke in a film. Groucho Marx, born as Julius Henry Marx, was the middle child of the Marx Brothers. He was known for his greasepaint moustache. His biggest success was the comedy quiz show “You Bet Your Life” that started in 1947. Gummo Marx, born as Milton Marx, was the second youngest of the Marx Brothers. He was the agent for the brothers and led them to success. Zeppo Marx, born as Herbert Marc, was the youngest of the Marx Brothers. Known for being the hooligan in the family, he never played as a comedian on stages. He died of lung cancer in 1979 (Marx Brothers”).

Works Cited

“Marx Brothers” 30 Apr. 2008 (http://www.marx-brothers.org).

“Marx Brothers.” Wikipedia 30 Apr. 2008 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marx_Brothers).

Kyra Williams

Table of Contents