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The Marx Brothers
Gummo Marx (Milton)


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Home | Biography | Gummo Marx

Gummo Marx

Born: Oct 23, 1892
Died: April 21, 1977

Gummo Marx was the fifth son of Minnie and Sam Marx. While the census of 1900 gives 1892 as his birth year, on his death certificate and his grave the year 1893 is given.

Gummo married widowed Helen von Tilzer (nee Theaman) in 1929 and adopted her daughter Kay from her previous marriage. Together they had a son, Robert

He is the Marx Brother that is almost forgotten by the fans. The reason for this is that Gummo had stopped performing with the boys before they became stars on Broadway. He and Groucho were the original performers in the family, both appearing in an act known as "The Three Nightingales". Actually Gummo was the first of the boys to be on the stage. He appeared with his Uncle Julius in a ventriloquism act.

When Gummo joined the army he was replaced on stage by Zeppo. After the war Gummo went into business selling dresses and cloth and continued at it until he was lured back to show business. Not as a performer but as a partner in a talent agency. He managed his brothers for years and made a good name for himself as an agent.

Gummo held a patent for a box he invented. In "The Marx Brothers Scrapbook" he describes it: "I invented a [laundry] box that has only four side instead of eight. In the normal laundry box you'd put the laundry in one-half and cover it with the other. This one saved a lot of paper and the laundry would slide into it." He also tells of the product failing because of rising cardboard prices. Gummo wasn't the only inventor in the family, Zeppo also held three patents.

gummo patent

Packaging Rack, #1,320,335 (view full document)


Important dates in the life of Gummo Marx:

23 Oct 1892Milton "Gummo" Marx is born
1909The Three Nightingales: Groucho and Gummo are joined by Mabel O'Donell for this singing trio managed by Minnie Marx
Jan 1910Harpo joins The Three Nightingales to form The Four Nightingales
Feb 1910When joined by Minnie Marx and aunt Hannah Schickler The Four Nightingales become The Six Mascots
1912Fun in Hi Skule is the first musical sketch of the Brothers. This half-hour 'school act' features the four brothers, Paul Yates and others
1913Mr. Green's Reception is a followup to Fun in Hi Skule
1914Home Again is developed from the second half of Mr. Green's Reception
1918In The Cinderella Girl Zeppo replaces Gummo. This musical comedy is written by Jo Swerling with music by Gus Kahn
16 Mar 1929Gummo marries Helen von Tilzer
1930Robert, son of Gummo and Helen, born
21 Apr 1977Gummo dies
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This site uses material originally created by Frank Bland for his website Why A Duck?. Frank did kindly give me permission to use this material.

The Marx Brothers - Los Hermanos Marx - האחים מרקס - マルクス兄弟 - Les Freres Marx - 마르크스형제 - Братья Маркс - Bröderna Marx - برادران مارکس - I Fratelli Marx - Братята Маркс - Bracia Marx - Germans Marx - الأخوة ماركس - 馬克思兄弟 - Αδελφοί Μαρξ - Irmãos Marx

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