Summary

Birth:
23 Oct 1892 1
New York City NY 1
Death:
21 Apr 1977 1
Palm Springs, California 1
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Personal Details

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Full Name:
Milton Marx 1
Also known as:
Gummo 1
Birth:
23 Oct 1892 1
New York City NY 1
Male 1
Death:
21 Apr 1977 1
Palm Springs, California 1
Cause: cerebral hemorrhage 1
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Birth:
Mother: Miene Schönberg Marx 1
Father: Sam Marx 1
Marriage:
Helen von Tilzer 1
16 Mar 1929 1
Spouse Death Date: 20 Jan 1976 1
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Occupation:
American vaudeville performer and theatrical agent 1
Race or Ethnicity:
Jewish 1

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Stories

Bio

Often referred to as the "forgotten" Marx brother, Gummo Marx played the role of straight man in the famous comedy troupe until he left the act to serve in World War I. The youngest of the Mark Brothers, Zeppo, took his place. Gummo went on to become a businessman, agent and inventor, and parhaps the most beloved sibling of allQUOTES

"Gummo was a love. He didn't like show business but I think he felt, same as I did, that he was inadequate, that he wasn't doing his share. I miss Gummo very much."

– Zeppo Mar
x Early Life

Everyone thinks of Harpo as the silent one (not with that horn!), but Gummo Marx was acgtually the quiet one. Born Milton Marx on October 21, 1892, in New York City, Gummo, like his brothers, was a first-generation American, the fifth of six boys born to Sam and Minnie Marx, who left Europe and met in New York. The first of their six sons, Manfred, died in infancy.

There are related versions as to how Gummo acquired his nickname, all revolving around shoes: Legend has it that he was stealthy backstage, sneaking up on people like a gumshoe (detective), so monologist Art Fisher dubbed him Gummo. However, it has also been reported that Gummo actually wore rubber-soled shoes because frequent illnesses required that his feet be protected from damp.

Career in Comedy and Business

Gummo was actually the first Marx brother on stage, appearing early on in his Uncle Julius's ventriloquism act. Then, Minnie Marx organized a vaudeville singing troupe called the Three Nightingales in 1909, with Groucho, Gummo and singer Mabel O'Donell, to tour the circuit. When Harpo was brought in, they became the Four Nightingales, and Minnie occasionally joined in the act along with the boys' aunt, Hannah Schickler, making them the Six Mascots. When Chico joined the act, they became the Four Marx Brothers.

WWI, Talent Agent and Inventor

When Gummo left the brother act to join the war effort in 1917, youngest brother Zeppo took over his role as straight man.

Gummo's military service in the U.S. Army didn't require him to go overseas, but he didn't return to the stage after World War I, deciding to start a raincoat business instead. He later became a successful talent agent, especially after Zeppo joined him in the business when he, too, left the act.

Gummo ended up representing brother Groucho as well as other top talent of the time, including Glenn Ford, and helped develop the television series Life of Riley. He also held a patent for a packing rack he'd invented.

Personal Life and Legacy

Gummo married Helen von Tilzer in 1929 and their son, Robert, was born the following year.

Gummo Marx died of a cerebral hemorrhage on April 21, 1977, at his home in Palm Springs, California. He is buried next to wife Helen at the Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California. His three grandsons all went into show business.

In The Marx Brothers Scrapbook, Groucho expressed his affection for Gummo, with some unkind words for Zeppo. But Zeppo, too, felt closest to Gummo. In his last interview, Zeppo told the BBC, "Gummo was a love. He didn't like show business but I think he felt, same as I did, that he was inadequate, that he wasn't doing his share. I miss Gummo very much."

Gummo

here were actually 5 Marx Brothers. 1938: Front L-R: 
Harpo, Chico, Groucho; Back L-R: Zeppo, Gummo

Milton "Gummo" Marx (October 21 or 23, 1892 or 1893[1] – April 21, 1977) was an American vaudeville performer and theatrical agent. He was the fourth-born of the Marx Brothers. Born in New York City, he worked with his brothers on the vaudeville circuit, but left acting when he was drafted into the U.S. Army during World War I, years before his four brothers (Groucho MarxHarpo MarxChico Marx, and Zeppo Marx) began their film career

Marx was born in New York City. His parents were Sam Marx (called "Frenchie" throughout his life), and his wife, Minnie Schoenberg Marx. Minnie's brother was Al Schoenberg, who changed his name to Al Shean when he went into show business. He was half of Gallagher and Shean, a noted vaudeville act of the early 20th century. Marx's family was Jewish. His mother was from Dornum in East Frisia; and his father was a native of Alsace, and worked as a tailor.[2][3][4]

His military service began shortly before the Armistice, and he was therefore never sent overseas. After leaving the army, Gummo, who in an interview said he never liked being on stage, went into the raincoat business.[5] Later he joined with his brother Zeppo Marx and operated a theatrical agency. After that collaboration ended, Gummo represented his brother Groucho Marx and worked on the television show The Life of Riley, which he helped develop. He also represented other on-screen talent and a number of writers.

Gummo was well respected as a businessman. He rarely had contracts with those he represented, his philosophy being that, if they liked his work, they would continue to use him, and if not, they would seek representation elsewhere.[6]

Gummo was given his nickname because he had a tendency to be sneaky backstage, and creep up on others without them knowing (like a gumshoe). Another explanation cited by biographers and family members is that Milton, being the sickliest of the brothers, often wore rubber overshoes, also called "gumshoes," to protect himself from taking sick in inclement weather.

He married Helen von Tilzer on March 16, 1929. Their son, Robert, was born in 1930.[7]

Gummo died on April 21, 1977, at his home in Palm Springs, California from a cerebral hemorrhage following two strokes.[8] His death was never reported to Groucho, who by that time had become so ill and weak that it was thought the news would be of further detriment to his health. Groucho died four months later.

His grandsons are actors Gregg Marx, Chris Marx, and actor/producer Brett Marx, who as a child actor appeared as 'Jimmy Feldman' in 1976's comedy film The Bad News Bears.

When Richard J. Anobile asked Groucho in The Marx Bros. Scrapbook which brother to whom he was closest, Groucho replied. "Gummo. He's a nice man, and that's more than I can say for Zeppo."

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