Arthur Marx, Son of Groucho, Dies at 89

Authored 12 books and worked on Broadway plays and television shows

Arthur Marx, a son of comedian Groucho Marx, has died of natural causes. The writer and one-time tennis player was 89. 

He died in his Los Angeles home.

Marx wrote 12 books, some fiction, but most memoirs and biographies of major Hollywood figures. Among his works are Goldwyn: A Biography of the Man Behind the Myth (1976), Red Skelton (1979), The Nine Lives of Mickey Rooney (1988) and the murder mystery Set to Kill (both 1993).

He also addressed his relationship with his famous father in a series of memoirs including Son of Groucho (1972) and My Life With Groucho (1992).

Marx also worked on television shows such as "All in the Family," “My Three Sons,” “Petticoat Junction," "Alice" and “The Mothers-in-Law.” Along with with former Groucho Marx writer, Robert Fisher, he also created “Mickey,” a sitcom starring Mickey Rooney.

Marx authored several hit Broadway plays such as "The Impossible Years," starring Alan King. On stage,  he addressed his famous family with the plays "Minnie's Boys," about the Marx Brothers vaudeville years, and the Olivier Award winning "Groucho: A Life in Revue." 

Before he found success in print, on stage and on screen, Marx came to prominence as a nationally ranked tennis player. Competing as a student at the University of Southern California, Marx won the National Freshman Intercollegiate Tennis title.

He continued playing tennis into his 70s, and even then was able to beat men in their 20s, his son, Andy, told TheWrap.

Andy Marx said his father never really retired. Even a month ago, the elder Marx was working on a movie.

"He still went to the Academy screenings and still voted, he was a 60-year member of the Academy and even more so in the Writers Guild," he said.

Andy Marx said that his father was a dapper man and a World War II veteran.

And although Arthur Marx was proud of his famous father, and was pleased to write about him, "the most impressive thing about him is that he got out from under his father's shadow," Andy Marx said. "And that was a shadow that fell quite far. If you'd done half of the things — especially the way things are now for writers — if you'd done half of the stuff he had done, you'd have a pretty good career."

Marx, a longtime member of both the WGA and AMPAS, is survived by his wife, Lois; sons Steve and Andy; stepdaughter Linda; sisters Miriam and Melinda; and four grandchildren. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations be made to the Writers Guild Foundation.

Born in New York in 1921, Marx spent some of his early years on the road with his father and uncles, Harpo, Chico and Zeppo, during the Marx Brothers’ tours of Vaudeville. By the early ‘30s, with the Marx Brothers established as film stars, the family moved to Los Angeles.

Services will be private.