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Chico Marx Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4)  | Mini Bio (2)  | Spouse (2)  | Trade Mark (1)  | Trivia (24)  | Personal Quotes (2)  | Salary (2)

Overview (4)

Born in New York City, New York, USA
Died in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, USA  (heart ailment)
Birth NameLeonard Marx
Height 5' 6" (1.68 m)

Mini Bio (2)

As a kid trying to negotiate his way through various gang territories to a floating crap game or a new pool hall where he was not yet known as a hustler, Leonard (Chico) Marx learned to fake several accents. Because he later employed an Italian accent in the Marx Brothers' act, people assumed his name was pronounced "Cheeko." Instead, Leonard was dubbed "Chicko" for his other consuming passion, women (or "chicks"), at which he was more successful than gambling, but when a typesetter dropped the "k" out of his name, the brothers let it stay as Chico. Chico was the brother who guided the Marxes to stardom. He took over the act's managment (amicably) from their mother, Minnie, and through audacity and charm, Chico secured the Brothers their first international (London) booking, their first Broadway show and their MGM contract with Irving Thalberg, among other successes.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: frank cullen, American Vaudeville Museum

Chico adopted the Italian dialect routines no doubt from the many Italian immigrants he grew up with in his New York City neighborhood. An avid gambler and womanizer (chasing "chicks" some say is how he got his nickname), he was an accomplished pianist with his own unique finger pecking style.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: John Nehrenz

Spouse (2)

Mary De Vithas (22 August 1958 - 11 October 1961) ( his death)
Betty Carp (22 March 1917 - 1940) ( divorced) ( 1 child)

Trade Mark (1)

With his brothers, he usually played a rakish con artist with a Italian accent. He often had a scene where he would play the piano in his own unique comedy way.

Trivia (24)

Interred at Forest Lawn, Glendale, California, USA, in the Freedom Mausoleum, Sanctuary of Worship.
Nephew of actor Al Shean.
Was an avid poker player and is rumored to have had a photographic memory so good, he could memorize the positions of cards in a deck. When a check written by Chico was found in mobster Bugsy Siegel's wallet at the time of his death, Chico was interrogated by police. He insisted the check was payment of a gambling debt from a poker game. When asked about his knowledge of Siegel's criminal activities, Chico stated, "We never discussed business." Groucho Marx later said of this incident, "Chico was lucky that Bugsy was shot. If Bugsy had tried to cash that check, it would have bounced. Then Bugsy would have shot Chico."
Father of Maxine Marx, from his marriage to Betty Carp.
Son of Sam Marx and Minnie Marx (nee Schoenberg).
"What's the shape of the world?" was a question brother Groucho Marx (playing a teacher, with Chico as a student) asked in one of their early routines; years later, the two used the question to cheer each other up.
Father-in-law of Shamus Culhane.
The oldest of The Marx Brothers, he was a gambling addict and initially joined his brothers' act to pay off debts. However, he became the unofficial manager of the group once he joined (taking over from his mother), using the hustling charms he attained as a gambler to further The Marx Brothers' fortunes.
He was voted as one of The Marx Brothers the 62nd Greatest Movie Star of all time by Entertainment Weekly.
He was portrayed by actor Irwin Pearl in the Broadway show, "Minnie's Boys", which ran at the Imperial Theatre for 80 performances, from Mar 26 to May 30, 1970.
The famous phrase "Well, who you gonna believe, me or your own eyes?" is often referred to as a Groucho Marx quote, but it was actually delivered by Chico, in his characteristic Italian accent, in Duck Soup (1933) , playing the character Chicolini while impersonating Rufus T. Firefly (Groucho).
While filming Horse Feathers (1932), he had a bad accident, shattering his knee. In some scenes, you can see him limp.
Before he was born, his parents gave birth to a son named Manfred, who died in infancy 6 months afterwards.
He and Harpo were usually mistaken as twins when they were young.
Chico Marx' birth name was Leonard Marx. The origin of his stage name is a commentary on his habitual womanizing. During the Marx Brothers' vaudeville days, show business slang for a woman was 'chick,' and Leonard Marx was rarely seen without a woman. Because all of the Marx brothers were adopting stage names ending with the letter 'O,' Leonard Marx's stage name became 'Chicko,' spelled with the 'K' intact and pronounced with a soft 'I.' An early Broadway program, however, misspelled 'Chicko,' omitting the 'K.' Rather than reprint the program, Leonard began spelling his stage name 'Chico.' The correct pronunciation, however, remained 'Chick-oh,' with the accent on the syllable 'Chick.' Leonard and the other Marx brothers always used that pronunciation.
W.C. Fields said that The Marx Brothers were the only act he couldn't follow on the live stage. He is known to have appeared on the same bill with them only once, during an engagement at Keith's Orpheum Theatre in Columbus, OH, in January 1915. At the time the Marx Brothers were touring "Home Again", and it didn't take Fields long to realize how his quiet comedy juggling act was faring against the anarchy of the Marxes. Fields later wrote of the engagement (and the Marxes), "They sang, danced, played harp and kidded in zany style. Never saw so much nepotism or such hilarious laughter in one act in my life. The only act I could never follow . . . I told the manager I broke my wrist and quit.".
Allegedly, during the opening night party for their Broadway run of 'The Cocoanuts', Groucho informed Chico that Tallulah Bankhead had just walked into the room and wanted to meet him. Chico strode up to Bankhead and introduced himself with, "Miss Bankhead, I would like to fuck you". Bankhead laughed and replied "So you shall darling, so you shall". The story has since become a part of show business lore.
In 1959 The Marx Brothers reunited for GE Theatre's 'Incredible Jewel Robbery' The silent half hour starred Chico and Harpo as a pair of jewel thieves who, disguised as Groucho, plan the perfect crime. Groucho joins them in the police line up at the end of the show. A TV pilot in 1959, Deputy Seraph again teamed Chico and Harpo, this time as two angels whose spirits possess the bodies of people on Earth. The pilot episode was never finished and never seen but a few seconds showed up on the A&E Network's biography of Groucho.
Never appeared in a film nominated for the Best Picture Oscar.
He, Groucho and Harpo had three goes at a weekly tv series but they all failed.

Personal Quotes (2)

I give up, why a duck?
[on his gambling habit] How much money have I lost from gambling in the past ten years? Find out how much money Harpo's got... that's how much I've lost.

Salary (2)

A Night at the Opera (1935) $175,000 + 15% of gross
A Day at the Races (1937) $175,000 + 15% of gross

See also

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