GROWING UP WITH CHICO by Maxine Marx

GROWING UP WITH CHICO

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Like Groucho's son Arthur (Life with Groucho, Son of Groucho), Chico's daughter Maxine had her problems growing up as a Marx Bros. kid. But, while Groucho was a downright nasty dad, Chico--the eldest and mama Minnie's favorite (hence Groucho's insecurity and jealousy)--was just lovably hopeless: an inveterate philanderer and compulsive gambler (winning thousands at bridge, losing it all and more at poker). This, of course, made for troubles at home: little Maxine, part-raised by grandma Minnie, felt rejected (mother Betty had to follow Chico on the road to keep him reasonably in line); and later she'd always wind up as artificial peacemaker, begging Chico to come home or stay home for her sake--even when he had mistresses on the side. (He became ""the phantom of Elm Drive,"" living in the family house but totally apart.) Maxine tells this all cheerfully enough, without the bitterness of cousin Arthur, but it hardly seems worth a book; nor does she get much real mileage from her own career, which begins interestingly--some success as a plump actress, psychoanalysis (on advice from Dame May Whitty, of all people), near-seduction by Ray Milland--and then just fades away with no explanation other than a brief reference to marriage. So, filled out with Marx Bros. history (much of it very familiar) and reminders of Chico's under-estimated contribution to the act--this is a thin and far-from-earthshaking addition to the Marx archives. But it's generally likable and ruefully affectionate, especially in the memories of that early, free-form Marx-clan mÉnage.

Pub Date: Oct. 13th, 1980
Publisher: Prentice-Hall