Groucho Marx : biography
During the early 1950s, Groucho described his perfect woman: “Someone who looks like Marilyn Monroe and talks like George S. Kaufman.”
Often when the Marxes arrived at restaurants, there would be a long wait for a table. "Just tell the maître d’ who we are," his wife would say. (In his pre-mustache days, he was rarely recognized in public.) Groucho would say, "OK, OK. Good evening, sir. My name is Jones. This is Mrs. Jones, and here are all the little Joneses." Now his wife would be furious and insist that he tell the maître d’ the truth. "Oh, all right," said Groucho. "My name is Smith. This is Mrs. Smith, and here are all the little Smiths."
Similar anecdotes are corroborated by Groucho’s friends, not one of whom went without being publicly embarrassed by Groucho on at least one occasion. Once, at a restaurant (the most common location of Groucho’s antics), a fan came up to him and said, "Excuse me, but aren’t you Groucho Marx?" "Yes," Groucho answered annoyedly. "Oh, I’m your biggest fan! Could I ask you a favor?" the man asked. "Sure, what is it?" asked the even-more annoyed Groucho. "See my wife sitting over there? She’s an even bigger fan of yours than I am! Would you be willing to insult her?" Groucho replied, "Sir, if my wife looked like that, I wouldn’t need any help thinking of insults!"
Groucho was not allowed to join an informal symphonietta of friends, organized by Ben Hecht, that included Harpo because he could only play the mandolin. When the group began its first rehearsal at Hecht’s home, Groucho rushed in and demanded silence from the "lousy amateurs". The musicians discovered him conducting the Los Angeles Symphony Orchestra, playing Tannhäuser in Hecht’s living room. Groucho was allowed to join the symphonietta.
Groucho’s son Arthur published a brief account of an incident that occurred when Arthur was a child. The family was going through customs and, while filling out a form, Groucho listed his name as "Julius Henry Marx" and his occupation as "smuggler." Thereafter, chaos ensued.
Later in life, Groucho would sometimes note to talk-show hosts, not entirely jokingly, that he was unable to actually insult anyone, because the target of his comment assumed it was a Groucho-esque joke and would laugh.
Despite his lack of formal education, he wrote many books, including his autobiography, Groucho and Me (1959) and Memoirs of a Mangy Lover (1963). He was personal friends with such literary figures as T. S. Eliot and Carl Sandburg. Much of his personal correspondence with those and other figures is featured in the book The Groucho Letters (1967) with an introduction and commentary on the letters written by Groucho, who donated his letters to the Library of Congress.
Irving Berlin quipped, "The world would not be in such a snarl, had Marx been Groucho instead of Karl",Irving Berlin, Robert Kimball, Linda Emmet. The Complete Lyrics of Irving Berlin, p. 489. Hal Leonard Corporation, 2005. ISBN 1-55783-681-7 In his book The Groucho Phile, Marx says "I’ve been a liberal Democrat all my life", and "I frankly find Democrats a better, more sympathetic crowd…. I’ll continue to believe that Democrats have a greater regard for the common man than Republicans do".Marx, Groucho. The Groucho Phile, p. 238. Wallaby, 1977. Marx & Lennon: The Parallel Sayings was published in 2005; the book records similar sayings between Groucho Marx and John Lennon.
You Bet Your Life
Groucho’s radio life was not as successful as his life on stage and in film, though historians such as Gerald Nachman and Michael Barson suggest that, in the case of the single-season Flywheel, Shyster, and Flywheel (1932), the failure may have been a combination of a poor time slot and the Marx Brothers’ returning to Hollywood to make another film.