Groucho Marx: Facts You Didn't Know About Comedy's First Huge Star With A Mustache And Glasses


You know the greasepaint mustache and the big glasses, but there's so much more to Groucho Marx than his signature look. As a member of the Marx Brothers comedy troupe, he somehow corralled this chaotic band of brothers and led them off the rails through a series of riotous films, and as a solo performer, he was quick witted and playful but always with a bite. From his friendship with Alice Cooper to his messy final years, this caricature contained legions.

He Wanted To Be A Doctor, Then A Singer

Born in Manhattan in 1890, Groucho Marx was christened Julius Henry Marx, the third of four brothers who grew up in what's now known as Carnegie Hill on the Upper East Side. The young Groucho wanted to be a doctor, but he needed to work for his impoverished family, so he dropped out of school at the age of 12. Inspired by his uncle, comedian Al Shean, Groucho tried his hand at show business as a boy singer with the Gene Leroy Trio before joining his brothers in a singing vaudeville troop that attracted little press. It wasn't until they were in the middle of a particularly horrendous performance in Nacogdoches, Texas that they started joking around on stage. The audience preferred their comedy to their singing, so the brothers pivoted.