Groucho MARX

Family tree of Groucho MARX

Actor

AmericanBorn Julius Henry MARX

American comedian and film and television star

Born on October 02, 1890 in New York City, New York, USA , United States

Died on August 19, 1977 in Los Angeles, California, USA

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In a 1950 radio episode of You Bet Your Life, Groucho stated that he was born in a room above a butcher's shop on 78th Street in New York City.



The Marx children grew up on East 93rd Street off Lexington Avenue in a neighborhood now known as Carnegie Hill on the Upper East Side of the borough of Manhattan, in New York City. The turn-of-the-century building that Harpo called "the first real home they ever knew" (in his memoir Harpo Speaks) was populated with European immigrants, mostly artisans. Just across the street were the oldest brownstones in the area, owned by people such as the well-connected Loew Brothers and William Orth.

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Groucho's mother was Miene "Minnie" Schoenberg, whose family came from Dornum in northern Germany when she was 16 years old. His father was Simon "Sam" Marx, who changed his name from Marrix, and was called "Frenchie" throughout his life because he and his family came from Alsace-Lorraine. Minnie's brother was Al Schoenberg, who shortened his name to Al Shean when he went into show business as half of Gallagher and Shean, a noted vaudeville act of the early 20th century. According to Groucho, when Shean visited he would throw the local waifs a few coins so that when he knocked at the door he would be surrounded by adoring fans. Marx and his brothers respected his opinions and asked him on several occasions to write some material for them.



Minnie Marx did not have an entertainment industry career, but had intense ambition for her sons to go on the stage like their uncle. While pushing her eldest son Leonard (Chico Marx) in piano lessons, she found that Julius had a pleasant soprano voice and the ability to remain on key. Even though Julius's early career goal was to become a doctor, the family's need for income forced Julius out of school at the age of twelve. By that time, Julius had become a voracious reader, particularly fond of Horatio Alger. Throughout the rest of his life, Marx would overcome his lack of formal education by becoming very well-read.



After a few unsuccessful stabs at entry-level office work and other jobs suitable for adolescents, Julius took to the stage as a boy singer in 1905. Though he reputedly claimed that as a vaudevillian he was "hopelessly average," it was merely a wisecrack. By 1909, Minnie Marx successfully managed to assemble her sons into a low-quality vaudeville singing group. Billed as "The Four Nightingales", Julius, Milton (Gummo Marx), Arthur (from 1911, originally Adolph; Harpo Marx), and another boy singer, Lou Levy, traveled the U.S. vaudeville circuits to little fanfare. After exhausting their prospects in the East, the family moved to La Grange, Illinois, to play the Midwest.



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Geographical origins

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