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Thursday, 28 January 2010

Icon Series: Indelible Marx - Groucho Marx

Groucho Marx, Sig Ruman and Margaret DumontImage via Wikipedia

“Here’s to our wives and girlfriends – may they never meet!”

Julius Henry Marx, most famously known as Groucho Marx, is perhaps the wittiest comedy actor I have ever had the pleasure of hearing or watching. His fast-wit skill, along with his other talents, was perfected with his four brothers, Chico, Harpo, Gummo and Zeppo, through the hard graft of the Vaudeville stage and then brought to big screen with the advent of "talkies" and finally ending with a hugely successful game show.

“I never forget a face, but in your case I'll be glad to make an exception”

I first got into the humour, caricature and icon of Groucho Marx when I was 17 years old. That was some four decades after Groucho’s golden age in films. In fact, I was only 13 months old when this wondrous comedy icon passed away. It was winter of 1993 and my father had won a couple of industry awards for his work with animals in films and one of the prizes was a coffee table book on the history of films. I was drawn to this light reading and enjoyed looking up the various icons I had become interested in over the years. When it came to comedy, Groucho Marx was the only one of famous siblings mentioned. The photo showed him wooing his regular straight foil in the movies, the great Margaret Dumont. I read the short bio with interest, particularly noticing the witty quotes that were all attributed to this comic legend. I mentioned him to my business studies tutor just off hand and she immediately confessed to being a fan of the Marx Brothers, telling me more about the rest of the gang. I was about to see them all for myself before the year was out.