Harpo Marx

Harpo Marx

  • Highest Rated: 100% At the Circus (1939)
  • Lowest Rated: 57% A Night in Casablanca (1946)
  • Birthday: Nov 23, 1888
  • Birthplace: New York, New York, USA
  • Born Adolph Marx (a name he later legally changed to Arthur), New York-native Harpo Marx was the second oldest member of the Marx Brothers comedy team. Dropping out of school in the 2nd grade (literally so -- he was thrown out the window by two older boys), Harpo took odd jobs to help support his family, but his first love was always music. Inheriting a harp from a relative -- hence his nickname -- Marx taught himself how to play, and soon became proficient in several instruments, even though he never learned how to read music. Pressed into service by his stagestruck mother, Harpo joined brothers Groucho and Gummo as part of a vaudeville act called the Four Nightingales. When older brother Chico joined the act, Harpo found that, thanks to the verbosity of Chico and Groucho, his stage role as red-wigged tough kid Patsy Brannigan was being alotted less and less dialogue in each performance. Eventually Harpo stopped talking onstage altogether. Marx would never utter a word while dressed in the top hat and battered raincoat of Harpo; instead, he expressed a wide arrange of emotions through whistles, horn honks and frenetic pantomime, taking time out from his lunatic behavior only when settling down to play his harp. When the Marx Brothers became the toast of Broadway in the '20s, Harpo was befriended by theatre critic Alexander Woollcott, who introduced the wide-eyed comedian to the most brilliant artistic and literary talents of the era. (When asked how he got along so well with such heady company, Harpo always claimed it was because he was the only member of the witty group who kept his mouth shut). Harpo settled down at the age of 48 to marry actress Susan Fleming; thereafter, except for his manic film appearances, he revelled in the life of a loving husband and father, adopting several children and raising them beautifully. While most of his professional work between 1919 and 1949 was done with his brothers, Harpo appeared by himself in the 1925 silent film Too Many Kisses, and spent several weeks filming Androcles and the Lion in 1952 before he was replaced by Alan Young. In 1949, Harpo was supposed to solo in a film comedy titled Love Happy, but the money men wouldn't ante up the budget unless his brothers Groucho and Chico also appeared in the film. Though professionally a "dummy", Harpo was a sharp businessman, instinctively making wise investments that would keep him wealthy for life; and though he was no babe in the woods in terms of life experiences, Harpo was widely regarded as one of the kindest and most even-tempered men in show business. After the Marx Brothers went their separate ways, Harpo continued making TV guest appearances in his traditional wig and costume; the most fondly remembered of these guest stints occured on a 1955 episode of I Love Lucy. He also appeared out of character on the 1960 Jane Wyman Theatre "Silent Panic" -- albeit as a deaf-mute, thereby maintaining his professional silence. In collaboration with Rowland Barber, Harpo Marx hilariously summed up his life in a 1961 autobiography Harpo Speaks, the last sentence of which was a characteristic "Honk! Honk!"

Photos

Highest Rated Movies

Filmography

Movies

Rating

Title

Credit

Box
Office

Year

No Score Yet On Your Marx, Get Set, Go! Actor 2004
No Score Yet Remarks on Marx: A Night at the Opera Actor 2004
No Score Yet Lucy: Queen of Comedy Actor 1990
No Score Yet The Story of Mankind Isaac Newton 1957
No Score Yet Love Happy Himself 1950
57% A Night in Casablanca Rusty 1946
No Score Yet The All-Star Bond Rally Actor 1945
No Score Yet Stage Door Canteen Stage Door Canteen Star 1943
67% The Big Store Wacky 1941
89% Go West Rusty Panello 1940
100% At the Circus Punchy 1939
67% Room Service Faker Englund 1938
100% A Day at the Races Stuffy 1937
97% A Night at the Opera Tomasso 1935
92% Duck Soup Pinky 1933
96% Horse Feathers Pinky 1932
94% Monkey Business Harpo 1931
96% Animal Crackers The Professor 1930
95% The Cocoanuts Harpo 1929

TV

Rating

Title

Credit

Year

No Score Yet I Love Lucy
1951-1957
Harpo Marx
  • 1955

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