Grou­cho Marx’s fam­ily friend re­veals the se­ri­ous side of the leg­endary funnyman.

WAS THE FUNNY YOU BET YOUR LIFE! BUT THE LEG­ENDARY CO­ME­DIAN ALSO HAD A SE­RI­OUS SIDE, AS A CLOSE FAM­ILY FRIEND RE­VEALS

Closer Weekly - - Contents -

You can’t spell Grou­cho with­out grouch. In fact, fa­mous funnyman Grou­cho Marx was quite cranky in real life. “He was a dif­fi­cult per­son,” Frank Fer­rante, a Grou­cho im­i­ta­tor and fam­ily con­fi­dant, tells Closer. Of the Marx Brothers, “He was the se­ri­ous one.”

Grou­cho (born Julius) de­vel­oped this crotch­eti­ness early in life. His mom, Min­nie, forced him and sibs Harpo, Chico, Zeppo and Gummo into vaude­ville, and “Grou­cho was her least fa­vorite,” says Fer­rante. “He never made it past sixth grade,” which gave him life­long in­se­cu­rity about his in­tel­li­gence. “Grou­cho kept a dic­tionary in his car be­cause he was al­ways try­ing to im­prove his vo­cab­u­lary.” Still, Grou­cho de­vel­oped a finely honed wit and used it to skewer the rich and pow­er­ful in clas­sic Marx Brothers movies like A Night at the Opera and A Day at the Races. “He was ir­rev­er­ent and said things we could only imag­ine say­ing,” ob­serves Fer­rante. “That was ex­hil­a­rat­ing and ap­pealed to au­di­ences dur­ing the Great De­pres­sion. He didn’t pull his punches.”

His love life, how­ever, was no laugh­ing matter. Grou­cho was mar­ried and di­vorced three times. “He had a very un­ortho­dox ex­is­tence,” says Fer­rante. “And he didn’t choose women who were his in­tel­lec­tual equals.”

Yet Grou­cho was a dot­ing dad to son Arthur and daugh­ters Melinda and Miriam. “He was very at­ten­tive,” says Fer­rante, who adds that Grou­cho of­ten sang with his kids. “He gave them the gifts of great hu­mor and mu­sic.”

Grou­cho shared those gifts with the world, and more than 40 years af­ter his death, he still leaves us laugh­ing. Notes Fer­rante, “What bet­ter legacy is there than that?”

— Bruce Fretts, with re­port­ing by Lexi Cic­cone

MON­KEY BUSI­NESS “Get­ting older is no prob­lem. You just have to live long enough.”

— Grou­cho

Grou­cho with brothers Chico and Harpo inA Day at the Races...V ...and with his sec­ond wife, ac­tress Kay Marvis, and their daugh­ter, Melinda

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