The Life and Times of Julius Henry Marx
By Stefan Kanfer
(Vintage, Paperback, 9780375702075, 498pp.)
Publication Date: May 8, 2001
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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.
Stefan Kanfer's books include The Eighth Sin, A Summer World, The Last Empire, and Serious Business. He was the primary interviewer in the Academy Award-nominated documentary The Line King. A former writer and editor at Time and a Literary Lion of the New York Public Library, he has been a writer-in-residence at the City University of New York, the State University of New York at Purchase, and Wesleyan University. He lives in New York and on Cape Cod.
“Thoroughly absorbing.... Groucho has finally gotten a biographer worthy of him.”–The Wall Street Journal