5 Things You May Not Know about Harpo Marx
Like that today, Nov. 23, is his birthday. Happy 128th Birthday to legend Harpo Marx!
1) Hair wasn’t really his thing
Harpo: au natural
When you think Harpo, you think: harp, top hat, long trench coat and curly blonde hair. Well, much like Groucho’s insanely fake mustache, Harpo’s hair was also fake: in reality he was as bald as his brother!
2) Art, however, was this thing
This looks like my kind of party…
Harpo was a huge art lover and had an extensive collection that included pieces by Joseph Hirsch, George Grosz, and LeRoy Nieman. He also was good friends with Salvador Dali, who once gifted Marx a unique piece of art: a harp with barbed wire for strings and spoons for tuning knobs, wrapped in cellophane. Needless to say, Harpo loved it.
3) He was all about adoption
They take after their father, I see…
Harpo and his wife, Susan Fleming, adopted four children: Bill, Alex, Jimmy, and Minnie. Harpo was once quoted as saying: “I’d like to adopt as many children as I have windows in my house. So when I leave for work, I want a kid in every window, waving goodbye.” I guess he only had four windows…
4) There’s a reason he didn’t speak
Harpo and the bros
As most of you probably guessed, Harpo wasn’t actually mute: he just played one on TV (or, really, the movies). However, Groucho did write in his memoirs that Harpo wasn’t the best at memorizing lines. So, instead of forcing him to do something that he wasn’t good at, the Marx Brothers used it to their advantage and simply made Harpo’s character mute. Because, ya know, something about life and lemons and lemonade.
5) About that reading music thing
Stay classy, my friend
Despite the fact that the crux of his character was about being a harp player, Harpo couldn’t actually read music. Heck, he didn’t actually even play the Harp right. He was completely self-taught and played in a way that placed far less tension on the strings. To his credit, he did eventually try and learn the correct way to play. But whenever he took lessons, his teachers just wanted to watch him play because they were fascinated by his self-taught method! I hope you didn’t spend too much money on those harp lessons, Harpo!
Minoo Allen for Classic Movie Hub