Though known as a member of the famous Marx Brothers
and later the host of television's You Bet Your Life, Groucho Marx
actually considered himself a writer first, and a comedian second.
That would make sense, given his remarkable ability to twist a phrase, as evidenced in this Groucho Marx quote
, "Some people claim that marriage interferes with romance. There's no doubt about it. Anytime you have a romance, your wife is bound to interfere."
Few realize the breadth of his body of written works, however. In the early part of his career, his pieces were printed in College Humor and even The New Yorker. Some of them used his stage name, others were signed Julius H. Marx
, his given name. All of them were hilariously funny to read, even today.
Thankfully, most of his work has been saved, including letters he wrote to other actors and actresses and speeches he gave at colleges and other venues over the five decades he was a star.
Of course, Marx didn't think of himself as a star. He preferred to keep in the company of writers. He moved in some pretty big writing circles too, even having been a houseguest of writer pal T.S. Eliot
. He was once said to remark that he'd rather be known as an author and remembered for his writing than every thing else he had done in his career.
In many respects, his wish to be remembered as a writer came true. In the 1960s, his letters to and from friends were added to the Library of Congress so that future generations could discover his mastery as a writer.
Not bad for a self-educated man who dropped out of school in the 9th grade.