Groucho: The Life and Times of Julius Henry Marx

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Groucho: The Life and Times of Julius Henry Marx

Format:  Paperback,

465 pages

Publisher: Random House Inc

Publish Date: May 2001

ISBN-13: 9780375702075

ISBN-10: 0375702075

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Book Information

The following content was provided by the publisher.
This definitive biography of one of the world's greatest comedians unflinchingly yet affectionately uncovers the man behind the cigar.
Here is the amazing career of the man the world recognized as Groucho: the improbable disasters of the vaudeville years; the Marx Brothers, an act so funny W.C. Fields refused to follow it; the unprecedented Broadway success of The Cocoanuts""and Animal Crackers; the cinematic triumphs of Duck Soup and A Night at the Opera; and the marvelous come-back career as king of the game show hosts with You Bet Your Life. Here, too, is the man himself: a lonely middle child who aspired to be a doctor; a man who sabotaged three marriages; a father alternately indulgent and cruel. Intelligent and thorough, hilarious and sad, Groucho is a spectacular biography of the century's most influential comedian.

Specifications

Publisher: Random House Inc
Publish Date: May 2001
ISBN-13: 9780375702075
ISBN-10: 0375702075
Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 465
Shipping Weight (in pounds): 1.1
Product in Inches (L x W x H): 5.0 x 7.75 x 1.0
Walmart No.: 0978037570207

Chapter outline

Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Introductionp. 3
A Severed Headp. 9
They Grow So Fastp. 21
Humoriskp. 47
Charged with Electricityp. 72
You Can Call Me Schnorrerp. 93
Listen to the Mockingbirdp. 122
Whatever It Is, I'm against Itp. 148
No Sanity Clausep. 172
His Life Was His Jokesp. 206
You Lose Either Wayp. 235
Marx's Dust Bowlp. 263
Parodies Lostp. 286
Two Soft Racketsp. 307
Just Don't Diep. 333
Groucho-off and Groucho-onp. 353
A Manager or a Keeperp. 374
Everybody Has a Temperaturep. 395
O Splendid and Disreputable Father!p. 418
Suggested Readingp. 439
Indexp. 447

Reviews

Review by Library Journal (2000-04-15)

Groucho Marx mastered the worlds of vaudeville, theater, movies, radio, and television, yet he remained a moody, morose, unfulfilled man. Plagued by nagging financial insecurities, partly realized literary ambitions, and difficult, unsatisfying relations with his wives, lovers, and daughters, Groucho was a "depressive clown", notes Kanfer (The Eighth Sin). This is the show business saga of "Minnie's boys", Groucho, Harpo, Chico, and, sometimes, Gummo and Zeppo. Groucho never really had a childhood, as mother Minnie drove the boys relentlessly as they perfected their trademark antic, ad-lib style.

Many books on the Marx Brothers pay homage to their innovative wisecracks, word play, and nonstop non sequitur's, but Kanfer shows the show biz realities behind the madness. The book also details Groucho's ambivalent relations with his son, Arthur; his brothers; New Deal liberals; intellectuals and collaborators like S.J. Perelman; and his custodian, Erin Fleming. Although Chico and Harpo remain shadowy figures in this portrayal, this is the first comprehensive portrait of Groucho in years. Recommended for large public and academic libraries.

[Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 2/1/00.] - Pubbing in the same month as Kanfer's book, this work may signal the beginning of a Marx Brothers revival. The brothers' nonstop barrage of verbal and visual gags delighted average moviegoers and intellectuals alike. Kanfer focuses on Groucho, where Louvish, the author of The Man on the Flying Trapeze, a biography of W.C. Fields, expands the canvas to appraise the contributions of the other brothers, plus Margaret Dumont, a regular target of the brothers' mayhem.

Chico was a compulsive gambler and risk taker. Harpo, whose comedy career was limited by his silent act, found fulfillment in family life. Dumont, Louvish shows, was more than a dimwitted comic stooge. (In fact, the Marx Brothers often failed to attract a female audience, an interesting topic covered more fully by Kanfer.) The Marx Brothers' story is now encrusted with numerous myths and dubious anecdotes, and Louvish does a solid job of separating fact from fiction and includes a family tree and a discussion of the FBI's file on the group. Like Kanfer's book, Monkey Business includes generous excerpts of classic Marx Brothers film dialog. Recommended for public library film collections.--Stephen Rees, Levittown Regional Lib., PA

(c). Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book description

This definitive biography of one of the world’s greatest comedians unflinchingly yet affectionately uncovers the man behind the cigar.

Here is the amazing career of the man the world recognized as Groucho: the improbable disasters of the vaudeville years; the Marx Brothers, an act so funny W.C. Fields refused to follow it; the unprecedented Broadway success of The Cocoanuts and Animal Crackers; the cinematic triumphs of Duck Soup and A Night at the Opera; and the marvelous come-back career as king of the game show hosts with You Bet Your Life. Here, too, is the man himself: a lonely middle child who aspired to be a doctor; a man who sabotaged three marriages; a father alternately indulgent and cruel. Intelligent and thorough, hilarious and sad, Groucho is a spectacular biography of the century’s most influential comedian.

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