Interpretation by Kathy Biehl
After finishing these interpretations, I reviewed the charts as a group to look for similarities other than their legendary adoration of Minnie. Because their charts are so intense, I decided to try an unusual approach suggested by astrologer Debbi Kempton-Smith in her enormously readable (but lamentably out-of-print) Secrets From a Stargazer's Notebook: using her method for telling whether (and about what) a person is a maniac. The key is hard aspects (conjunction, square, quincunx, opposition) to either Mars or Uranus. And the Marxes' charts are full of them.
Each of them has the signature for attacking life "with the gusto of a rabid wolverine," which is a hard aspect between Mars or Uranus and the sun or moon. Chico's Mars is conjunct his sun. Harpo's Mars opposes his moon. Groucho's Mars squares his sun. Gummo's Uranus is conjunct his sun. Zeppo's Mars opposes his sun and squares his moon. These aspects have the impact of a perpetual internal combustion engine. The mayhem that they unleashed onstage was not make-believe; the same frenetic energy propelled their private lives as well.
Chico, Harpo and Zeppo have the mark of a hothead, Mars in hard aspect to the Uranus moon. Chico's Mars opposes Uranus, Harpo's Mars squares Uranus, and Zeppo's is in a quincunx (150 degrees) to Uranus.. Zeppo most openly displayed this trait, since he had another tinderbox configuration (Uranus squaring his Neptune/Pluto conjunction.) Chico's hothead tendency is tempered by a trine to implacable moon in Aquarius, so it would have been more likely for him to retreat than blow up.
These guys were also impulsive and impatient with a vengeance, which is shown by any hard aspect to Mars. Chico had Mars conjunct his sun; Harpo's Mars opposes his moon; Zeppo's Mars opposes his sun. If they were ready for something, they wanted it NOW. No wonder it was so difficult to round them up in front of a camera.
Chico and Harpo have an aspect that basically made them uncontrollable, a Saturn/Uranus square. There is a respect for authority here; it's just that it's only for their own. They had no problem occupying a position of control and imposing the rules themselves. This aspect would have given them very strong opinions about how a certain situation should go, and they would have wanted everyone to comply with their ideas. If people went along, they wouldn't cause any trouble. If someone told them to do something that was counter to their ideas, though, all hell could break loose. Harpo was more likely to blow up; with secretive Pluto opposing his sun, he would have been more likely to do this behind closed doors. (Writers' conferences, while films were being planned, are reported to have been agonizingly unpleasant. Groucho and Zeppo aren't the only ones capable of being difficult. If a writer ever suggested that Harpo do something that didn't fit his view of his character, Harpo would not have let it roll off his back.) Chico was more likely to vanish. Either of them had the potential to strike back with undermining action. (My guess is that they spearheaded the assault on Irving Thalberg's office, after he'd put the Brothers off one too many times.) This aspect is not the stuff of easy working relationships, and is hardly cut out for taking direction.
Gummo had Uranus conjunct Mercury, the planet of communication. Kempton-Smith believes that this contact makes a person truthful at all costs and therefore not tactful. My take is that Gummo was driven to find the truth in a situation and was ruthlessly honest with himself. (He openly called himself a bad performer and expressed no public disappointment over leaving the act.) Since these planets are in ever-so-mysterious Scorpio, though, his innate regard for secrets would have at least engendered an internal conflict before he succumbed to any compulsion to share. But when he did speak, he would tell it like it was.
Kempton-Smith also contends that aspects to Uranus make you ahead of your time (it is, after all, the ruler of future-dwelling Aquarius) or "just plain crazy." Harpo had two, the squares to Mars and Saturn. Chico had a bunch, the square to his moon and the opposition to his sun/Mercury/Mars conjunction. Zeppo's Uranus opposed the Neptune/Pluto conjunction. All of them definitely acted in ways that suggest an absence of rational thought. The Uranus aspects could explain the staying power of their films and popularity; though their trappings are antiquated, their antics were not rooted to their time (and, in fact, are often characterized as revolutionary they presaged the rebelliousness of the 60s, when rediscovery of their films began.) Zeppo's also fits in with his inventions, both of which were Plutonian as well as Uranian -- the clamps used in bombing raids aiding death and destruction, and the heart monitor guarding against death.
Copyright Kathy Biehl 1999. All rights reserved. Permission is granted for electronic replication or distribution of this article only if you include the copyright notice.
(This page was originally created for Frank Bland's 'Why A Duck?' website)