Minnie Marx

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Minnie Marx
Minnie marx.jpg
Born Miene Schönberg
(1865-11-09)9 November 1865
Dornum, East Frisia,
Kingdom of Hanover, German Confederation
Died 13 September 1929(1929-09-13) (aged 63)
New York City, New York
Other names Minnie Palmer
Spouse(s) Sam "Frenchie" Marx
Children Manfred Marx (1885-1886)[1]
Leonard "Chico" Marx
Adolph "Harpo" Marx
Julius "Groucho" Marx
Milton "Gummo" Marx
Herbert "Zeppo" Marx
Relatives Al Shean (brother)

Minnie Marx (9 November 1865 or 1864 – 13 September 1929)[2] was the mother and manager of the Marx Brothers, wife of Sam Marx, and the sister of vaudeville star Al Shean.


Marx was born Miene Schönberg in Dornum, Germany. Her parents Fanny née Salomons (1829–1898) and Levy "Lafe" Schönberg (1823–1919)[3] were members of the local Jewish community. Her mother was a yodeling harpist, her father a ventriloquist. Her younger brother, Abraham Elieser Adolf, the future "Al Shean", was born in 1868. About 1880 the family emigrated to New York City, where Minnie married Samuel "Frenchie" Marx in 1884.[citation needed]

The only known photo of the entire Marx family, c. 1915

While managing the Marx Brothers, she also went under the name of Minnie Palmer, so that booking agents would not know that the agent representing the Marx Brothers was their mother. She played the harp as did her mother and her son, Harpo Marx. All the brothers confirmed that Minnie Marx had been the head of the family and the driving force in getting the troupe launched, the only person who could keep them in order, and a hard bargainer with theatre managements.[citation needed]

Marx and some of her sons appear briefly as characters in Glen David Gold's novel Carter Beats the Devil; the narrative identifies her as Minnie Palmer, and only gradually offers clues that the struggling vaudeville act traveling with her are the later-famous Marx Brothers. Marx (played by Shelley Winters) was also the main character in the stage musical Minnie's Boys. As a tribute to her, all the Marx Brothers' daughters were given names that began with "M".[citation needed]


  1. ^ "Chronology". The Marx Brothers. Retrieved 2013-09-20. 
  2. ^ "Mrs. Minnie Marx. Mother of Four Marx Brothers, Musical Comedy Stars, Dies.". New York Times. September 16, 1929. p. 27. Retrieved 11 August 2016. 
  3. ^ "Ancestry of the Marx brothers". Wargs.com. Retrieved 2013-09-20. 

External links[edit]