Birth name: Herbert Manfred Marx
Birthdate: Monday, February 25th, 1901
Location: New York City, USA
Died: Friday, November 30th, 1979
Location: Rancho Mirage, California, USA
Cause of death: Lung cancer
Best known for: One of the original, and youngest, of the Marx Brothers act who appeared in the siblings' first five films before retiring from acting to become a theatrical agent and engineer. He became a multi-millionaire as a result of his engineering efforts.
|Pictured circa 1957, the Marx Brothers.|
From left, Harpo (aged 69), Zeppo (56),
Chico (70), Groucho (67)
and Gummo (65)
Zeppo did not like to be reminded of or connected to his time as part of the Marx Brothers, and was often brusque with those who brought it up in his company. By the mid-1970s, Zeppo's manufacturing business was falling on hard times, and his brother Groucho was sending him $4,000 a month subsistence.
In 1978, an incident that took place in 1973 finally reached court. Zeppo was accused of physically assaulting a girlfriend, Jean Bodul, in his car. Zeppo shrugged it off as "a little pushing and shoving" when Bodul tried to drive off with his keys and credit cards, but he was found guilty and ordered to pay five-figure damages.
|Zeppo with his second wife Barbara|
pictured in 1959, when he was aged 58
In 1978, at the age of 77, Zeppo fell ill with cancer and moved to a house on the golfing fairway off Frank Sinatra Drive in California. Although doctors thought at first the cancer had gone into remission, it was not the case, and he had to continue attending hospital, accompanied by his then ex-wife Barbara Blakeley (who in 1976, after divorcing Zeppo, married his good friend Frank Sinatra).
Zeppo - as the last surviving Marx Brother - died of lung cancer at the Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage on November 30th, 1979, aged 78. He was cremated and his ashes scattered in the Pacific Ocean. According to Barbara, at the end Zeppo was somewhat sad and alone, having pushed away many people who used to be close to him, due to what many describe as an unpleasant nature.
|Zeppo toward the end of his life in the 1970s|