Leonard Marx, or Chico Marx, as he is fondly known, was an American actor, comedian, and musician. Chico was the part of the group, "The Marx Brothers," and was the eldest brother among Harpo, Groucho, Gummo, and Zeppo. Leonard got the name of Chico as a result of his luck with the ladies, who were called as "chic" in slang. Chico was born to parents, Sam and Minnie Marx, in New York City. The comedian, Al Shean, was Chico's maternal uncle. Chico started learning the piano at quite a young age, and soon, his talented fingers earned him enough dough, to support the family. The 1949 Marx Brother's films “Love Happy,” A Night at the Opera and A Night in Casablanca showcase how good Chico was at playing the keyboard. Chico had a different style of playing the piano which gave the onlooker, the impression of shooting the keys with a gun. Chico's Broadway debut came in the 1923 play "I'll Say She Is."
Chico often was found portraying a stereotype Italian persona, wearing a curly wig with a Tyrolean hat on top of it. Chico made his film debut in 1929 with "The Cocoanuts." Chico's movie career took off in 1935 with "A Night at the Opera," in which he played Fiorello. A couple of years later, Chico played Tony in "A Day at the Races." Chico then featured in Room Service and "At the Circus" in the late 1930s. Go West, "The Big Store," and A Night in Casablanca constituted Chico's films in the 1940s. A Night in Casablanca was made to repay the debts that Chico had accumulated as a result of his compulsive gambling habit. Chico was addicted to all forms of betting and gambling, including the game of pinochle, horse races and dog races. Love Happy, The Story of Mankind, Animal Crackers, "Newsfront," The Big Store, and Monkey Business were some of Chico's other films. Chico also had a knack of destroying his marriage with infidelity. He was earlier married to Betty Karp in the year 1917 and was a father to Maxine, with whom he grew extremely close. Chico also reached out to Maxine on matters regarding acting.
In 1958, after he divorced Betty, Chico married Mary De Vithas. On October 1, 1961, Chico passed away as he was suffering from arteriosclerosis. He was buried at the Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in California.