1. What is your favorite Marx brother’s film? Duck Soup.
2. In your research, did you discover something that fans didn’t know?
Well, I was very close to Groucho’s children, Arthur and Miriam. So I heard many stories and had an insider’s view of my hero. I discovered the extent of his complexity and experienced through his correspondences and conversation what a loving, concerned father he was.
3. What is about Groucho that piqued your interest?
As a kid viewing his films, I was exhilarated by his character’s irreverence, his fearlessness. As a shy kid, I found him emboldening.
4. Who came up with the names to end in the letter, “o.”
A comic on the bill with the young Marx Brothers, Art Fisher, coined their names. There was a popular comic strip at the time called Sherlocko, the Monk. And it was a thing at the time – nicknames ending in”O.” Julius was tagged Groucho over a card game and the rest is history.
5. What and why found more problematic his work or personal life?
Like most of us, Groucho’s personal life was more problematic. He had challenges in his marriages which led to three divorces. And his daughter Miriam was an alcoholic for years who finally went into sobriety the year Groucho died at 86.
6. Who was he close to confide in?
I believe he was closest to his daughter Miriam who kept over 200 of his correspondences that were printed in book form in 1992 as “Love, Groucho.”
7. Are there any living Marx relatives around?
Yes, many. Including Groucho’s youngest daughter Melinda who appeared on his TV quiz show “You Bet Your Life.” Two of Harpo’s children Jim and Bill Marx who accompanied older Groucho on the piano. Gummo’s son Bob. Zeppo’s sons. And grandchildren of most of the Marx Brothers.
8. Was there a point in life that Groucho wanted to give up show business and lead a regular life?
I don’t believe so. Groucho was a relentless performer, though early on he wanted to be a doctor and later a writer which he became.
9. Did the brothers get along?
They certainly had their moments and there was conflict at times between Chico and Groucho, but overall they figured out a way to work together for decades and spoke daily. Groucho loved all of his brothers – particularly Harpo.