Celebrating 100 Years of the Marx Brothers with Fun Facts, Was One Named After a Shoe?

circa 1933: The Marx Brothers, sons of German immigrants to New York. From left, Leonard or Chico ( 1891 - 1961), Herbert or Zeppo (1901 - 1979), Julius Henry or Groucho (1895 - 1977) and Adolf or Harpo (1893 - 1961).
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Groucho, Harpo, Chico, Zeppo, and Gummo… the Marx Brothers. Some of the brothers were more well-known on the screen and stage than others but all were very important in history. To celebrate 100 years of the Marx brothers, let’s talk about some interesting facts about them. First, comment and let us know who your favorite is!

Their stage names came from a poker game and a comedian

Zeppo Marx and his bride Marion Bender are surrounded by brothers Groucho, Gummo, Harpo, and Chico (l. to r.) after the wedding at the Hotel Chalfonte

Vic Twyman/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images

The story goes that the brothers were playing a game of cards with comedian Art Fisher. He thought the brothers could use some fun nicknames. Leonardo became Chicko (later shortened to Chico) because he often chased after women. Arthur became Harpo due to his love of the harp. Milton got the nickname Gummo for his love of gumshoes. Julius became Groucho, not because he was grouchy but because he wore a “grouch bag” filled with little trinkets around his neck. Herbert was named Zippo after a chimpanzee named Mr. Zippo that he would imitate but he later changed it to Zeppo.

The reason behind Groucho’s iconic mustache

Go West Groucho Marx, 1940

Everett Collection

He reportedly did not want to deal with glue-on facial hair so he used greasepaint to create his iconic mustache and eyebrows. If you can spot the difference, his mustache while hosting You Bet Your Life was real.

What did Gummo and Zeppo end up doing?

(Original Caption) X Marx the Spot. Hollywood, California: Caught hands down are the four Marx Brothers of film fame as they leave their fingerprints for posterity or something at Grauman's Chinese Theater in Hollywood, California. Left to right, Harpo, Groucho, Zeppo, and Chico Marx.

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Gummo and Zeppo quit show business and became talent agents instead. First, they started a raincoat business because they felt they were better at sales than the stage. Eventually, Zeppo started the talent agency Zeppo Marx Inc. and became the third-largest talent agency of the time. Gummo joined in 1935 and handled the business of his show biz brothers.

Groucho once hosted a popular late-night show

The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson Groucho Marx, Johnny Carson (1962), 1962-92

Everett Collection

After hosting You Bet Your Life, Groucho got the job offer of a lifetime. He was offered the hosting gig of The Tonight Show after Jack Paar left. He ultimately turned it down but served as a guest host for two weeks and was the one to introduce the new host Johnny Carson.

There was a sixth brother

At the Circus from left: Groucho Marx, Harpo Marx, Chico Marx, 1939 MXB 007P(18106)

Everett Collection

There was another boy born to the family named Manfred who died in infancy. Zeppo was given the middle name Manfred in his memory.

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