Actor, agent, inventor. The youngest of the Marx Brothers began his performing career in 1918 after the fourth brother, Gummo, joined the Army in World War I, so that there would still be four brothers in the act. It is also said that their mother Minnie made him join his much-older brothers on the vaudeville circuit because he was getting into a lot of fights (and usually winning, because he had a very well-developed physique) and she wanted to keep him out of trouble. He served the role as the act's straight man and an understudy to the other three, although oftentimes his role in a play (and, later, movie) would be quite minor. However, offstage he was said to be the funniest of the brothers. When the play 'Animal Crackers' was touring on Broadway, he had to take over the role played by Groucho when he had to get his appendix removed, and it was said that he was even better than Groucho himself, so much so that when his older brother saw one of the performances when he was recovering, he was so impressed he stayed off of the stage for two weeks to give his baby brother a chance to really display his acting and comedic ability. Even though he did have some roles that gave him a major role in the proceedings, by 1933 he had had enough of being overshadowed by his three much-older brothers and not being given many important roles, and struck out on his own. Zeppo joined their brother Gummo in opening a talent agency, and became very successful as an agent to the stars. He also had a demonstrated ability in mechanics and engineering, as evidenced by how, in his affiliation with Marman Products, he made clamping devices which were used in 1945 in the atomic bomb raids over Japan, and a two-cylinder motorized bicycle, and on his own, in 1969, invented a wristwatch which was designed so that it would sound an alarm if the person wearing it began to have a heart attack. Other careers he pursued throughout his life were that of grapefruit farmer and fisherman. With his first wife, Marion Benda, he adopted two children, Timothy and Thomas. His second wife, Barbara Blakely, had a son from a previous marriage, Robert, whom Zeppo also adopted. This marriage ended in divorce also, however, and Blakely later remarried to Frank Sinatra. Zeppo, the last surviving Marx Brother, died of lung cancer at the age of seventy-eight.
Bio by: Carrie-Anne