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Speaking of Harpo

Speaking of Harpo

Speaking of Harpo

Speaking of Harpo


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Susan Fleming appeared in three Broadway shows and twenty-eight films before she turned her back on a show business career she never really enjoyed or wanted. The role of her lifetime came when she married Harpo Marx in 1936. Together, they raised four adopted children and enjoyed one of Hollywood's happiest and most successful unions. But their twenty-year age difference made Susan a young widow in 1964. On her path to Hollywood, Susan worked in Broadway musicals produced by Florenz Ziegfeld and George White and befriended a young dancer who would later be known as Paulette Goddard. In Hollywood, she appeared in films with stars like John Wayne, W.C. Fields, and Katharine Hepburn and worked at all the major studios. But it wasn't until she fell in love with a confirmed bachelor, twenty years older than her, that she found her purpose. Her story is the counterpoint to the beloved and acclaimed Harpo Marx autobiography, Harpo Speaks! Susan's frank, opinionated perspective provides a true look behind the curtain and details Harpo's last years, following the publication of his own book. Susan's account of her more than thirty-year adventure with Harpo includes encounters with people like Charlie Chaplin, William Randolph Hearst, Salvador Dalí, Somerset Maugham, Joan Crawford, Howard Hughes, George S. Kaufman, Helen Keller, 'scar Levant, Jean Harlow, Bugsy Siegel, Samuel Goldwyn, Menachem Begin, Ginger Rogers, Alexander Woollcott, and of course, the Marx Brothers. Susan provides an inside look at the family and pulls no punches when discussing her brothers-in-law, who weren't always her favorite comedians.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781493065301
Publisher: Applause
Publication date: 07/15/2022
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 50,006
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Co-author Robert S. Bader has previously chronicled the Marx Brothers in Four of the Three Musketeers: The Marx Brothers on Stage (Northwestern University Press, 2016) and Groucho Marx and Other Short Stories and Tall Tales (Applause, 2011). He is also a documentary filmmaker. Bader's film, Ali & Cavett: The Tale of the Tapes (HBO, 2020) was recently honored with a Critics' Choice Documentary Award. His next film, Groucho & Cavett, will premiere on the PBS series American Masters in 2022. Bader also manages intellectual property for celebrity estates including Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, and the Marx Brothers.

Table of Contents

Foreword (Looking Backward) Bill Marx vii

Preface: 1964 xi

Chapter 1 Don't Tell Anyone You Were Born in Brooklyn 1

Chapter 2 The Lights of Broadway 11

Chapter 3 Hollywood, Here I Come 19

Chapter 4 The Winter of My Discontent 31

Chapter 5 Exit Miss Fleming 43

Chapter 6 Billy 55

Chapter 7 Summer of '41 65

Chapter 8 The Beverly Hills Population Explosion 75

Chapter 9 Palestine's Man in Hollywood 85

Chapter 10 London, 1949 97

Chapter 11 After the Last Marx Brothers Reunion 109

Chapter 12 Growing Up with Harpo 123

Chapter 13 Hypochondriacs Do Have the Occasional Heart Attack 135

Chapter 14 Israel, 1963 145

Chapter 15 The Widow Marx 153

Chapter 16 Rediscovering Susan Marx 161

Chapter 17 Peace through Selfishness 171

Afterword Robert S. Bader 177

Appendix I Susan Fleming on Stage 183

Appendix II Susan Fleming on Film 187

Acknowledgments 195

Index 197

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