Zeppo = Zero? A Totally Unexamined Life

Holy Bee of Ephesus

PRODUCER: Can you get some more variety into your part?Zeppo Marx, 1933

ZEPPO: How many different ways are there to say “yes”?

(Allegedly overheard during Animal Crackers Broadway rehearsals, 1928.)

“Zeppo Marx is a peerlessly cheesy improvement on the traditional straight man.” — James Agee, legendary film critic.

“Oddly enough, it proved to be Zeppo who was the most difficult to track down in terms of his post-team life. Perhaps if I had more time and money…though I expect that would have a pretty minority appeal.” —  Simon Louvish, Marx Brothers biographer.

One thing that comes from a reading list like mine that consists mostly of biographies is you get a glimpse of the difference between a well-known person’s public image and what he is like out of the spotlight. A seemingly simple, straightforward persona can hide immense depths of complexity (and vice versa).

It seems clear that no one is ever…

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