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Subject: Archive: Zeppo Marx, Nov. 30, 1979


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Last & least of the Marx Bros.
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Date Posted: Saturday, November 30, 05:14:59pm


Zeppo Marx, the surviving member of the Marx Brothers comedy team who left the quartet in 1934 for other businesses, died yesterday at Eisenhower Medical Center in Palm Springs, Calif. The youngest of the brothers, he was 78 years old and had lived in Palm Springs.

Officials at the hospital, where his brother Gummo died two years ago, refused to disclose the cause of death, saying only that Zeppo Marx had died after a long illness. He was admitted to the hospital Nov. 25.

Mr. Marx, whose real first name was Herbert, was the straightman and the romantic lead with the Four Marx Brothers until 1934. He had appeared on stage with his brothers and was in their first five films, ¡°The Cocoanuts¡± (1929), ¡°Animal Crackers¡± (1930), ¡°Monkey Business¡± (1931), ¡°Horse Feathers¡± (1932) and ¡°Duck Soup¡± (1933).

¡®Tired of Being a Stooge¡¯

¡°I'm sick and tired of being a stooge,¡± he told his oldest brother, Groucho, in a letter of resignation. ¡°You know that anybody else would have done as well as I in the act. When the chance came for me to get into the business world, I jumped at it. I have only stayed in the act until now because I knew that you, Chico and Harpo wanted me to.¡± Gummo had left the act before Zeppo.



Groucho conceded that Zeppo's straightman role was an unrewarding one, as exemplified by two lines from the play, ¡°Home Again: ¡° ¡°The garbage man is here,¡± said Zeppo. ¡°Tell him we don't want any,¡± answered Groucho. In his book, ¡°Grouchophile,¡± Groucho described his brother as: ¡°Handsome, wooden, slightly obtuse, the fill in. His character brought logic to a basically illogical story and he was often an intrusion. In real life, the wittiest of men and a scrapper.¡±

Groucho Disagreed on Price

After leaving, Zeppo Marx then became one of the film colony's leading theatrical agents. He also manufactured airplane parts and, along with Albert D. Herman, an engineer, invented an electric wristwatch that monitors the wearer's heartbeat and emits an alarm if the beat is too slow or too fast.

Although he had handled the comedy team's business when he was a member, after he quit he seldom represented his brothers. He once explained: ¡°I arranged one deal ¡ª $250,000 for them to do ¡®Room Service.¡¯ Groucho said it should have been $350,000.¡±

The brothers were the sons of Samuel and Minna Marx of New York. Chico died in 1961, Harpo in 1064 and Gummo and Groucho in 1977.

Zeppo Marx and Marion Benda were married in 1927. They had a son, Timothy. That marriage ended in divorce, and in 1959 Zeppo married Barbara Blakely, a fashion model. This marriage also ended in divorce, and, in 1976, Mrs. Marx married Frank Sinatra, the singer©\actor.

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FUN FACT: Zeppo Marx, along with engineer Albert D. Herman, invented an electric wristwatch that monitors the wearer's heartbeat, and emits an alarm if the beat is too slow or too fast.So next time you put on your AppleWatch, know its invaluable apps may not have been, if not for a man named ZEPPO!Saturday, November 30, 05:46:05pm


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