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Zeppo Marx

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The Marx Brothers Silver Screen Collection... Laugh your head off with the funniest siblings on the silver screen with this... more info $59.98was $59.98 Buy Now

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Also Known As: Herbert Marx Died: November 30, 1979
Born: February 25, 1901 Cause of Death: lung cancer
Birth Place: New York City, New York, USA Profession: actor, comedian, talent agent, airplane parts manufacturer, citrus grower

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

The handsome straight man of the Marx Brothers, Zeppo was the last to join the group and left at the height of their fame in 1933. The baby of the family, Zeppo (born Herbert) took to the stage after brother Gummo left the act in 1919. He toured with his older brothers Chico, Harpo and Groucho in vaudeville in the early 1920s. The quartet first gained national attention in the zany revue "Ill Say She Is" (1923-1925). Their long-running hit "The Cocoanuts" (1925-1928), written by George S. Kaufman with an Irving Berlin score, assured their stardom. During the run of "The Cocoanuts", they made the independently-financed comedy "Humorisk", which was never released and has been lost.On the strength of their next Broadway hit, "Animal Crackers" (1928-1929), the team was signed to a five-picture contract by Paramount. Although the limitations of early sound technology forced the Marxes to subdue their energetic comedy style and penchant for improvisation, the movie public flocked to "The Cocoanuts" (1929) and "Animal Crackers" (1930).The final three Marx Brothers Paramount releases, "Monkey Business" (1931), "Horsefeathers" (1932) and "Duck Soup" (1933), did not perform well at the box office, although...

The handsome straight man of the Marx Brothers, Zeppo was the last to join the group and left at the height of their fame in 1933. The baby of the family, Zeppo (born Herbert) took to the stage after brother Gummo left the act in 1919. He toured with his older brothers Chico, Harpo and Groucho in vaudeville in the early 1920s. The quartet first gained national attention in the zany revue "Ill Say She Is" (1923-1925). Their long-running hit "The Cocoanuts" (1925-1928), written by George S. Kaufman with an Irving Berlin score, assured their stardom. During the run of "The Cocoanuts", they made the independently-financed comedy "Humorisk", which was never released and has been lost.

On the strength of their next Broadway hit, "Animal Crackers" (1928-1929), the team was signed to a five-picture contract by Paramount. Although the limitations of early sound technology forced the Marxes to subdue their energetic comedy style and penchant for improvisation, the movie public flocked to "The Cocoanuts" (1929) and "Animal Crackers" (1930).

The final three Marx Brothers Paramount releases, "Monkey Business" (1931), "Horsefeathers" (1932) and "Duck Soup" (1933), did not perform well at the box office, although they are now regarded as the team's most inspired comedies. The Paramount vehicles de-emphasized typical Hollywood storylines and romantic subplots, simply providing screen space for the Marxes to perform their routines. The nearly plotless "Monkey Business" features them as shipboard stowaways who wreak havoc on a luxury liner, while "Horsefeathers" is a similar free-form romp through a college campus while "Duck Soup", usually considered the team's absurdist masterpiece, is a satire on the politics of war, as the brothers run the country of Freedonia into the ground.

By the time the brothers left Paramount for MGM in 1935, Zeppo had left the act and posterity has downplayed his impact on the group. "He was a lousy actor, and he got out as soon as he could," was Groucho's unfair assessment. Zeppo did tend to get lost in the chaos; the only normal-looking brother (he used no special make-up, wig or costume), he represented the voice of normality. Taking his brothers' antics perfectly seriously, Zeppo provided a bridge between the "real world" of the other characters and the Marxian world of his brothers. A handsome and affable actor, on his own Zeppo might have been as competent a juvenile lead as David Manners or Charles Starrett.

While Zeppo did not share the later radio and TV fame of his brothers, he also did not share the eventual downslide of the lesser films (Zeppo never made a bad movie, which is more than Groucho could say). After leaving the act, he became an airplane parts manufacturer and citrus grower. In 1937, he and Gummo opened a successful talent agency, Marx, Miller & Marx. Zeppo was the last of the brothers to die, in 1979.

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Duck Soup (1933) Bob Roland
2.
 Horse Feathers (1932) Frank Wagstaff
3.
 Monkey Business (1931) Zeppo
4.
 Animal Crackers (1930) Horatio Jamison
5.
 The Cocoanuts (1929) Jamison
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1919:
Joined brothers' act upon Gummo's retirement
1920:
Toured in vaudeville on Keith-Albee circuit
1923:
Broadway debut, in "I'll Say She Is"
1929:
Film debut in "The Cocoanuts"
1933:
Last film, "Duck Soup"
1937:
Opened talent agency Marx, Miller & Marx with brother Gummo
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Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Marion Benda. Showgirl. First wife; later commited suicide.
wife:
Barbara Blakely. Married in 1959; divorced in 1973; later married Frank Sinatra.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Samuel Marx. Tailor. Born in Alsace-Lorraine in 1860; died in 1933.
mother:
Minnie Marx. Vaudevillian. Born in Germany.
uncle:
Al Shean. Vaudevillian. Born 1868; died 1949; half of vaudeville team Gallagher and Shean.
brother:
Manfred Marx. Died in infancy.
brother:
Chico Marx. Actor, pianist, bandleader. Born 1887; died 1961.
brother:
Harpo Marx. Actor, harpist. Born 1888; died 1964.
brother:
Groucho Marx. Actor. Born 1890; died 1977.
brother:
Gummo Marx. Actor, agent. Born 1892; died 1977.
son:
Robert Marx.
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