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Groucho: The Life and Times of Julius Henry…

Groucho: The Life and Times of Julius Henry Marx (edition 2001)

by Stefan Kanfer

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205357,211 (3.74)1
Title:Groucho: The Life and Times of Julius Henry Marx
Authors:Stefan Kanfer
Info:Vintage (2001), Edition: 1st Edition Thus, Paperback, 496 pages

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Groucho: The Life and Times of Julius Henry Marx by Stefan Kanfer


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A difficult woman at the beginning, a difficult woman at then end, laughs and tears everywhere. That's Groucho's life, in "Groucho: The Life and Times of Julius Henry Marx."

Groucho and the boys wouldn't be the same without their overbearing mom Minnie, and the story starts with their sometimes-reluctant entry into show business, following the footsteps of their uncle, Minnie's brother Al Shean. He helps shape them and they grow into the world-famous gang of comedic anarchists.

Through the ups and downs, Groucho seemed to have the most difficulty. Chico was carefree and perpetually in debt from gambling and girls, the uncomplicated Harpo settled into domestic bliss, and Zeppo, always the underappreciated straight man, became an amazing agent, along with the "other" brother, Gummo.

But Groucho battled alcoholic wives and alcoholic kids, the stock market crash and his own, massive self-doubts.

This isn't a tell-all expose, but it is honest. And it's also funny, relating some of the best movie and TV lines, the letters, the conversations and dinners and retrospectives.

Groucho, for all his faults and foibles, was a sharp-witted, funny, satirical man. His humor set the stage for the modern era, and it's worth knowing more about him. ( )
  ralphz | Oct 23, 2015 |
not bad but a little slow ( )
  lewisw | Jan 26, 2013 |
A hard look at a painfully funny, painfully unpleasant man. Woe to any woman who crossed paths with Groucho. Three wives and two daughters, all who had to battle demons - one of which was Groucho. He seemed to be fine with most of the men he came in contact with (excepting his own son), but had painfully complicated relationships with the women. The best parts are those with his brothers - I'd prefer to read a compendium of their skits, honestly. Reading this just made me sad for those who came in contact with them - except Harpo, who comes off here as a genuinely nice and intelligent, if poorly educated man. ( )
  waitingtoderail | Oct 17, 2009 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0375702075, Paperback)

This definitive biography of one of the world’s greatest comedians unflinchingly yet affectionately uncovers the man behind the cigar.

Here is the amazing career of the man the world recognized as Groucho: the improbable disasters of the vaudeville years; the Marx Brothers, an act so funny W.C. Fields refused to follow it; the unprecedented Broadway success of The Cocoanuts and Animal Crackers; the cinematic triumphs of Duck Soup and A Night at the Opera; and the marvelous come-back career as king of the game show hosts with You Bet Your Life. Here, too, is the man himself: a lonely middle child who aspired to be a doctor; a man who sabotaged three marriages; a father alternately indulgent and cruel. Intelligent and thorough, hilarious and sad, Groucho is a spectacular biography of the century’s most influential comedian.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:59 -0400)

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