Wednesday, March 29, 2006

GROUCHO'S SULLEN DAUGHTER

Groucho Marx's youngest daughter, Melinda, would rather not be known as Groucho's youngest daughter, Melinda.

While his son Arthur wrote several books about his father, and daughter Miriam put together a collection of letters, young Melinda's been...elusive. Which beats being bitter but funny, or alcoholic and Sapphic, as her siblings turned out to be.
You'll recall, if you're a Grouchophile, that cute Melinda turned up on her Daddy's quiz show. Proud poppa insisted that she sing, and back then she did seem like she was auditioning for an "Our Gang" revival that might need a new Darla. However Melinda's enthusiasm waned. So did everyone's...to the point where you can see just what kind of dysfunctional family they became...

...a chagrined kid, an alky wife and a grouchy old hubby. (The comments section duly noted that this picture shows Eden Marx, Melinda's step-mother. Melinda's mother was Groucho's second wife Kay). Listening to this A-side single, cut post-puberty (about six years after the photo you see on this page), you get the idea with "East Side of Town" that Melinda Marx doesn't want to be the next "Downtown" Petula Clark.

You can almost imagine her telling the sound engineer: "can I get this over in one take?" Turning Fabian's echo chamber into a mausoleum, here's Melinda Marx singing her way out of show business...

The East Side...and Down Side of Being a Celebrity Daughter.... New link, Instant Download or Listen on Line

16 comments:

nomwl1 said...

Really enjoyed hearing her (for a sullen daughter) and thank you for making her sullenness available to all of us! All things considered, she's not too bad. :)

nomwl1 said...

Really enjoyed hearing her (for a sullen daughter) and thank you for making her sullenness available to all of us! All things considered, she's not too bad. :)

NickTamair said...

It is little wonder she wants to stay quiet. The really interesting thing is what happened to her daughter, Jade Marx (sometimes known as Jade Marx Berti). After a bit part in a Clint Eastwood Movie she has become a real internet star! An uncencored Google should suffice to find her work.

knuckles77 said...

O.k. First of all Melinda's mother was NOT Eden. It was Kay Marx, Groucho's second wife. Second of all, and more importantly, Jade Marx (aka Jade Marx-Berti) is NOT the porn star inferred by the above comment. She is in all acuality Clint Eastwood's Sister-in-law, and currently living in Hollywood persuing a legitimate acting career. It is unfortunate the her name is the same as this adult film actress.
If you were to check her name on IMDB you will see the Jade Marx who is Groucho's Granddaughter (Melinda's Daughter) and hopefully help to distinguish the two from each other.

NickTamair said...

I apologise for my mistake. The newly posted picture on imdb makes it clear this is not the same woman (and that the porn star Jade Marx has had a much more successful career!)

NickTamair said...

I apologise for my mistake. The newly edited entry with picture on imdb makes it clear this is not the same woman (and that the porn star Jade Marx has had a much more successful career!)

Frank Dukes said...

Grouch's 2nd wife, Kay, is often shown as being born Kay Marvis. I don't know how she acquired the name Marvis, but I suspect it was a creation of Hollywood. I was in her 6th grade class at the Sacred Heart School in Atlanta. That would have been 1935, as we were both 12 years old then. Her name was Catherine Dittig. This can be verified by checking Atlanta newspaper morgues, as they followed her career in Hollywood, as well as her marriages to Leo Gorcey and Groucho Marx.
I lost track of her when her family took her to California shortly after she won the annual Kiddy Revue at Atlanta's Fox Theater.
I know that she was hospitilized
in Silver Spring, MD and treated for clinical depression. That was in the '60's. Catherine was a very beatiful and sensitive woman who was very well liked by all who knew her.
I would like for recognition to be made of her true maiden name, Catherine Dittig.
Frank Dukes
Purcellville, VA

Ill Folks said...

Thanks, Frank. In the revised version of Gorcey's autobiography, Leo's daughter noted that "Kay" refused to share any recollections because she was working on her own book on what it was like to be married to Gorcey and Groucho. Too bad she didn't leave behind a manuscript.
Or did she?

Anonymous said...

This was all news to me - a big marx movies fan, I know little about the children of any of 'em.
However, I cannot agree with your surmising re Melinda's vocals - at least not on this track. I think it was real sweet. It's a shame about the end note which actually sounds to me more like a warp in the record. Besides, an artist these days can get any off note righted by a quick engineering flick of the studio's post-production wrist!!

Anonymous said...

illfolks.blogspot.com; You saved my day again.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
vilstef said...

Re: The dysfunctionality of the Marx family. I recall reading somewhere, Arthur saying the only time he ever saw his father cry was at Harpo's funeral.

Ill Folks said...

Thanks, Vilstef. Arthur's second book ("Son of Groucho," as opposed to the much earlier and milder "LIfe with Groucho") is one of the best on Mr. Marx. He mentions that Melinda's been extremely elusive and that does say a lot about how much Julius lived up to his nickname. A great man, but maybe a difficult husband or father.

Arthur's description of Chico's funeral is classic. Oh. Maxene's book about her father Chico is surprisingly good...a fast read that is honest and entertaining in describing the often distant and cold Groucho, and the charming but exasperating and disappointing Chico. Harpo...everybody loved.

Lester Solnin said...

I thought I read somewhere, I don't recall the article, that Melinda more or less ran away from Groucho and married Sahn Berti. Is this true?

Ill Folks said...

I think in "Son of Groucho," Arthur Marx did mention that Melinda got out of the house as soon as it was possible, and stayed a pretty fair distance away from Groucho for many years.

Lester Solnin said...

Thanks Ill Folks. I'm glad I have some sanity left in me! LOL