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The Marx Brothers
Chico Marx (Leonard)


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Home | Biography | Chico Marx

Chico Marx

Born: March 22, 1887 in New York City, NY
Died: October 11, 1961 in Hollywood, CA

Chico was the second child in the Marx family, but his older brother Manfred died in infancy, so Chico had the role of the oldest. His given name was Leonard. The legend for his nickname "Chico" says that he got it from chasing "chicks". He was the favorite son of his mother Minnie and it showed in what she let him get away with. He was always willing to take any bet, and would be a life long gambling addict. He was also famous for his way with the opposite sex.

Chico always had a smile, a game of pinochle, and a lady. He was probably the most reckless of the group but it often paid off for them all. It was his ideas and drive that made the other boys hang in there during the tough times. It was Chico who lead them to greater success when he saw the first musical tabloid shows and decided that it was a perfect format for the group. This came at a time when spirits were down over low bookings for the much toured "Mr. Green's Reception". He acted as the Manager of the group right after Minnie was retired. Chico was able to act as the focus of the groups energies and it was this focus which lead the group to Broadway and the silver screen. It was also due to Chico's ability to charm people that the Brothers ended up working with Irving Thalberg.

Chico played in all Marx Brothers vaudeville shows and films. He also did a radio show with Groucho and later worked as a musician. He remained a performer for all his life, often working the same small circuits as an old man that he had worked as a boy. He had to do this because of the amount of money he lost over the years gambling. He was once asked how much money he had lost and his reply was "Ask Harpo how much he's made and that' how much I've lost." Chico died in 1961, after a long battle with heart disease. At his funeral a man stood up and began eulogizing him. He painted a totally inaccurate picture of who Chico Marx had been. It got so bad at one point during the service Harpo leaned over to Maxine and whispered "When I go, do me a favour and hire a mime."


Chico Marx appeared in the following movies:


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