Family Tree Tuesday – The Marx Brothers
The Marx Brothers were an American family comedy act that enjoyed success in vaudeville and film during the early 20th century. While there were five brothers in total, the act mainly consisted of eldest brothers, Chico, Harpo and Groucho. The comedy trio gained enormous fame for their films and were inducted to the Motion Picture Hall of Fame in 1977.
Their parents were Simon “Frenchie” Marx and Minnie Marx. Simon was born in Alsace, France and became a tailor. Their mother, Minnie, managed her sons’ careers, taking the name Minnie Palmer so booking agents wouldn’t know she was their mother. She was the sister of comedian and vaudeville star Al Shean, who made up half of the highly successful vaudeville act Gallagher & Shean.
Leonard “Chico” Marx was the eldest Marx brother. His daughter, Maxine, married legendary Disney animator James “Shamus” Culhane, who is credited with animating the dwarfs singing “Heigh-Ho” in the film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
The third eldest Marx Brother was Julius “Groucho” Marx, who enjoyed a highly successful solo career on radio and television. His son with his first wife, Arthur Marx, was a former nationally ranked amateur tennis player. He later became a successful writer, penning several books on his relationship with his father. His daughter with his second wife, Melinda, enjoyed a brief career as an actress.
Milton “Gummo” Marx briefly worked with his brothers in vaudeville. However, he eventually became a theatrical agent. His grandson, Gregory Marx is an actor, who won a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in 1987.
The youngest Marx brother was Herbert “Zeppo” Marx. Zeppo appeared in the first five Marx films but then left the act to pursue a career as an engineer and theatrical agent. Zeppo eventually became a multi-millionaire through his engineering efforts.
Check out the Marx family tree and see how you’re related!