THE MARX BROTHERS in Richmond Hill

The Marx Brothers, Leonard, Adolph, Julius, Milton and Herbert (Chico, Harpo, Groucho, Gummo and Zeppo) were born in Yorkville in Manhattan’s Upper East Side from 1887-1901, and the family resided at 179 East 93rd Street during their boyhood.

The brothers were showbiz veterans (Chico, the oldest brother, was in his mid-thirties) by the time the family bought this house at 87-48 134th Street just south of Jamaica Avenue in the early 1920s. They began as vocalists and instrumentalists on the vaudeville circuit as early as 1905, when Julius Marx (Groucho) was fifteen; Herbert (Zeppo) was the last brother to join his brothers onstage in 1915. By the 1920s their familiar stage personas, as well as their nicknames, had been established; Broadway beckoned with “I’ll Say She Is” in 1924, and Paramount Pictures in 1929 with an adaptation of playwright George S. Kaufman’s “The Cocoanuts.” Chico, Harpo and Groucho made a string of highly successful movies until 1949, and Groucho was a TV staple until his death in 1977. Gummo and later, Zeppo tired of showbiz and both had retired from the act by the mid-1930s.

The Three Stooges, who were more of a slapstick act than the Marxes (though a look at any Marx Brothers film has its share of visual gags and pratfalls) had a presence in Brooklyn and had built houses in Bensonhurst before their own stage and film success took off.



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6 Responses to THE MARX BROTHERS in Richmond Hill

  1. Dan Herman says:

    Jack Kerouac lived at 94-21 134th.

  2. Alan Gregg Cohen says:

    It’s amazing that the Marx family house and block appear to be so well maintained given the age of the homes and the substantial demographic changes that have occurred in the neighborhood; however I’m assuming the houses were purchased by individuals of a similar income to the earlier residents so as to be able to proudly maintain their property which is a nice sight to see. My grandmother lived several blocks to the north of that area north of Hillside Avenue on 87th Avenue between 134th and 135th Steets (in the mid 1950s through the late 1960s) in North Richmond Hill off Kew Gardens Road and near the Maple Grove Cemetery and Kew Gardens border, and looking on google map views, her physcical neighborhood appears little changed from what I remember as a child. It’s nice to see that some areas of Queens have not been radically altered in appearances over the years and destoyed by upzoing and increased density where it does not benefit the community.

  3. Steve says:

    Agree with Alan above; my impression is that anything in that area would have been “distressed” due to “demographics” decades ago. Nice to see that it has survived.

  4. Ken says:

    The architectural style is called a Dutch Colonial. I grew up in one in Bayside.

  5. patrick valle says:

    I grew up on the same street up the block for some 16 years. I remember seeing that plaque whenever walking down the block. I had a girlfriend that lived a couple of houses away. As I think back now I am amazed of how we take things for granted. Those were some beautiful houses on that street and most of them were/are still in great condition. The J train was just a short walk down the block. I am sure they used to take it at sometime. So cool to have walked the same streets & sidewalks as them. What a great piece of history….

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