Joined: Feb 15, 2003
From: San Diego, Ca.
|Posted: 2005-03-22 06:19 am  Permalink|
Born Leonard Marx on March 22nd, 1887, he was given the nickname "Chicko" (a typesetter missed the "k" & it was never found again...) as a young vaudvilian 'cause he was always chasing the chicks. Chico developed the "Italian" accent he used to convince some roving bullies that he was Italian, not Jewish. Stereotyped ethnic characters were common with Vaudeville comedians, and all the Marx brothers sometimes performed "dialect characters" early in their careers, but Chico was the only one to continue this.
Chico was a talented pianist. As a young boy, he would get jobs playing piano to earn money for the Marx family. Sometimes Chico would even get work playing in two places at the same time. He would acquire the job with his piano playing skills, work for a few nights, and then substitute Harpo on one of the jobs. The two brothers looked so much alike, no one could tell the difference. Harpo however could only play a few tunes on the piano, which often would get both brothers fired. Thoughout his professional career he never would practice or warm up, preferring to simply soak his fingers in warm water before going out on stage, he was also famous for his "shooting" the keys bits, where he would play passages with his thumb up and index finger straight--like a gun. For a while in the 1930s and 1940s Chico led a big band; young Mel Torme began his professional career singing with the Chico Marx Orchestra.
Chico became manager of the Marx Brothers after their mother Minnie, died. As manager he cut a deal to get the Marx Brothers a percentage of a film's gross receipts - the first of its kind in Hollywood. Chico Marx had a lifelong gambling habit, which usually kept him short of funds, and which compelled him to continue in show business long after his brothers had retired in comfort from their Hollywood income. (Groucho continued to host the long-running televison show "You Bet Your Life" out of his love of being before an audience rather than any financial need.) The last two Marx brothers movies were made for Chico's benefit; the other brothers twice returned to the screen to bail Chico out of debt. Because of his gambling, the brothers finally took the money as he earned it and put him on an allowance, which he stayed on until he died. He had a reputation as a world-class pinochle player. It is said he would throw away good cards (with the knowledge of spectators) to make the play "more interesting".
He is buried in Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery, in Glendale, California.
Other Historical Highlights of today are:
- This is the UNs World Water Day, and the start of the UNs "Water for Life Decade." Today is supposed to be used to promote & begin potable drinking water projects, clean water and sustainable aquatic habitat projects and other water related activities.
- 1765 - The British Parliament passes the Stamp Act, the first direct tax levied from England on the American colonies, leading to direct dissent & the War for Independence.
- 1820 - Stephen Decatur, sailor, naval Commodore, adventurer, Died (shot in a Duel)(b. 1779)
- 1832 - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, writer and poet, Died (b. 1749)
- 1895 - First display (a private screening) of motion pictures by Auguste and Louis Lumière .
- 1920 - Werner Klemperer, actor, conductor, is born(d. 2000)
- 1923 - Marcel Marceau, mime, is Born
- 1931 - William Shatner, actor, Canadian, is Born
- 1946 - Rudy Rucker, science fiction author, mathmatician, computer scientist, great-great-grandson of Georg Hegel, is Born
- 1960 - Arthur Leonard Schawlow & Charles Townes receive the first patent for a laser.
- 1994 - Walter Lantz, cartoonist (Woody Woodpecker), Died.
- 2001 - William Hanna, animator, co-founder of Hanna-Barbera cartoon studio, Died.
- 2005 - Bobby Short, Cabaret Singer, Died (b. 1924)
- 2233 - James T. Kirk, Captain of the U.S.S. Enterprise, interplanetary space slut, is Born
Rev. Dr. Frederick J. Freelance, Ph.D., D.F.S
[ This Message was edited by: freddiefreelance on 2005-03-22 06:20 ]