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Official Site: Harpo Marx.net
Arthur Adolph "Harpo" Marx (November 23, 1888 – September 28, 1964) was an American comedian and film star. He was the second oldest of the Marx Brothers. His comic style was influenced by clown and pantomime traditions. He wore a curly reddish wig, and never spoke during performances (he blew a horn or whistled to communicate). Marx frequently used props such as a walking stick with a built-in bulb horn, and he played the harp in most of his films.
"Harpo" was born Adolph Marx in New York City. He grew up in a neighborhood now known as Carnegie Hill on the Upper East Side (E 93rd Street off Lexington Avenue) of Manhattan. The turn-of-the-century building that Harpo called "the first real home they ever knew" (in his memoir Harpo Speaks), was populated with European immigrants, mostly artisans - which even included a glass blower. Just across the street were the oldest brownstone in the area, owned by people like the well-connected Loew Brothers and William Orth.
Harpo's parents were Sam Marx (called "Frenchie" throughout his life) and his wife Minnie Schoenberg Marx. Minnie's brother was Al Schoenberg, who changed his name to Al Shean when he went into show business. He was half of Gallagher and Shean, a noted vaudeville act of the early 20th century.
Harpo had little formal education, quitting during his second attempt to pass the second grade. According to Harpo's autobiography, he was thrown out of the window of his classroom (from the first floor) by two big Irish kids, as he was the only Jew in the class and was very small for his age. Upon returning to the classroom, Harpo would lie to his teacher, saying he had gone to the restroom to avoid worse bullying. This happened about three or four times a day until Harpo finally left New York Public School 86 for good. He started working odd jobs alongside his brother Chico to contribute to the family income.
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