Erin Fleming

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Erin Leslie Fleming
Born Marilyn Fleming
(1941-08-13)August 13, 1941
New Liskeard, Ontario, Canada
Died April 15, 2003(2003-04-15) (aged 61)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Nationality Canadian
Occupation Actress
Partner(s) Groucho Marx

Erin Leslie Fleming (August 13, 1941 – April 15, 2003[1]) was a Canadian actress best known as the companion of Groucho Marx in his final years.

Early career[edit]

Fleming was born Marilyn Fleming on August 13, 1941 in New Liskeard, Ontario, Canada. She appeared in minor roles in six films between 1965 and 1976, during which time she became acquainted with Marx and moved into his house. She appeared in the Woody Allen movie, Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex* (*But Were Afraid to Ask).[2]

Relationship with Groucho Marx[edit]

Fleming's influence on Marx was controversial. Many close to him admitted she did much to revive his popularity;[3] these efforts included a series of one-man shows, culminating in a sold-out performance at Carnegie Hall which was released on a best-selling record album and an honorary Academy Award he received in 1974.[citation needed] Sidney Sheldon wrote a roman à clef on Fleming's relationship with Marx titled A Stranger in the Mirror published in 1976.[4] The 1993 television adaptation of the novel has Full House actress Lori Loughlin playing the role inspired by Fleming.

Court battles dragged into the early 1980s, but judgments were eventually reached in favor of Arthur Marx, ordering Fleming to repay $472,000 to the Marx estate.[5]


Fleming's mental health deteriorated in the 1990s. She was arrested once in the Los Angeles area on a weapons charge, and spent much of the decade in and out of commitments to various psychiatric facilities. She was also reportedly impoverished and homeless in her final years, living on the streets of Hollywood and Beverly Hills.[citation needed]


Fleming committed suicide on April 15, 2003 at age 61 by shooting herself.[6] She is buried in Hornings Mills Cemetery, Horning's Mills, Ontario, Canada.[7]



  • Adam-12 (Episode: "Venice Division", 1973)

The Dick Cavett Show (December 16, 1971)


  • Stefan Kanfer, Groucho: The Life and Times of Julius Henry Marx (2000), 978-0375702075
  • Miriam Marx Allen, Love, Groucho: Letters from Groucho Marx to his Daughter Miriam (1992), 978-0306811036
  • Arthur Marx, My Life with Groucho (1992) revised from Life With Groucho (1954), 978-0942637458
  • Steve Stoliar, Raised Eyebrows: My Years Inside Groucho's House (1996), 978-1593936525
  • Charlotte Chandler, Hello, I Must Be Going (1978), 978-1416544227


  1. ^ "Erin M Fleming". United States Social Security Death Index. index, FamilySearch. April 15, 2003. Retrieved August 24, 2014.  citing U.S. Social Security Administration, Death Master File, database (Alexandria, Virginia: National Technical Information Service, ongoing).
  2. ^ Erin Fleming at the Internet Movie Database
  3. ^ Dick Cavett, "Groucho Lives! (In Two Places)", New York Times Online, March 30, 2012.
  4. ^,3468441&hl=en
  5. ^ Los Angeles Times, April 15, 2011, Obituary of Arthur Marx, "In his father's declining years, Marx became a central figure behind a successful legal battle to wrest back control of Groucho's affairs from his late-in-life companion, Erin Fleming."
  6. ^ Biodata,; accessed August 24, 2014.
  7. ^ Erin Fleming profile], (Memorial# 102523857)

External links[edit]