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It's Only the One and Only Groucho, but Don't Tell the Lady With the Pool

September 07, 1989|DENNIS MCLELLAN

Although he was nothing like his madcap screen image, Groucho Marx was, as announcer George Fenneman would say, "the one and only Groucho."

Groucho's daughter, Miriam Marx Allen, remembers one time in the 1930s when MGM director Archie Mayo was building a house across the street from the Marxes' Beverly Hills home. The pool was already finished, and Mayo told Groucho, "Any time you want to use our pool, go on over."

One Saturday morning, Allen said, she, her brother Arthur and Groucho were swimming in the pool when Mayo's sister arrived to show the house to friends. She was angry to find strangers in the pool.

"What's going on here?" she demanded. "What are you doing here?"

Groucho, who was seldom recognized in the '30s without his false movie mustache, replied: "Well, we were just walking down the street, it was hot, and we thought we'd take a swim."

Allen said they got out of the pool, but Groucho never let on who he was.

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