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 Harpo Marx

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Harpo Marx

  • Original Name Adolph Arthur
  • Birth 23 Nov 1888 New York, New York County (Manhattan), New York, USA
  • Death 28 Sep 1964 Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, USA
  • Burial Cremated, Ashes scattered, Specifically: Ashes allegedly sprinkled into the sand trap at the seventh hole of the Rancho Mirage golf course
  • Memorial ID 679

Actor. Comedian. Born Adolf Marx in New York City, one of six sons born to immigrants Miene 'Minnie' Schönberg and Samuel Marx. He attended school until the second grade, dropping out at the age of eight. He was infatuated with music, but when the family bought a piano, they could afford lessons for only one, and they went to older brother, Leonard 'Chico' Marx. Despite this set back, he self-taught himself the piano, and discovered he had an innate talent for musical instruments. Despite never learning to read music, he easily picked up several other instruments, including the harp, which would eventually give him his stage name. He joined the family vaudeville act when he lost his 'legitimate' job, and began to develop the pantomime for which he became so well known. In early vaudeville roles he would perform speaking parts until he reportedly read one review in which a critic was said to have noted that Harpo was brilliant, his pantomime hilarious, but the effect was spoiled when he spoke. He took the criticism to heart, and never spoke another word on stage or in front of a camera while in character. During World War I, he changed his name from the Germanic Adolf to the more acceptable Arthur. Despite his lack of formal education, his intelligence and wit were sharp, and he was included as a member of the Algonquin Round Table in New York City. The Marx Brothers had an extremely successful stage career in New York prior to their movie debut in 1929 in 'The Cocoanuts,' which was a direct translation from stage to screen. Their first motion picture was filmed in New York City, the rest would be made in Hollywood. Over their career, the brothers produced more than a dozen collaborative movies, supposedly one every time one of the brothers needed money. He married actress Susan Fleming in 1936, and they adopted four children together. During World War II, he performed on War Bonds tours, and worked to entertain Allied troops. In the 1950s, he occasionally appeared on television including one memorable appearance on the 'I Love Lucy' television series in May 1955. During that same period, he suffered through some half dozen heart attacks, each one worse than the last. In 1961, he published his autobiography, 'Harpo Speaks.' He announced his retirement in 1963, and in late 1964, he agreed to undergo the relatively new procedure of bypass surgery. He died at age of 75, the day after heart surgery. In January 1977, the Marx Brothers were inducted into the Motion Picture Hall of Fame.

Bio by: Iola


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 1 Jan 2001
  • Find A Grave Memorial 679
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Harpo Marx (23 Nov 1888–28 Sep 1964), Find A Grave Memorial no. 679, ; Maintained by Find A Grave Cremated, Ashes scattered, who reports a Ashes allegedly sprinkled into the sand trap at the seventh hole of the Rancho Mirage golf course.