Straight Lady: The Life and Times of Margaret Dumont “The Fifth Brother Marx”

New Book Celebrates the Life of ‘Fifth Brother Marx’ Margaret Dumont

“I’m a straight woman, the best in Hollywood. There’s an art to playing straight. You have to build your man up, but never outgrow him, never steal the laughs.” ”

— Marguerite Dumont

GRASS VALLEY, California, USA, Oct. 3, 2022 / — Best-selling authors Howard Kazanjian and Chris Enss celebrate the life of movie legend Margaret Dumont in Straight Lady: The Life and Times of Margaret Dumont” The Fifth Marx Brother.”

Tall and majestic, her character provided the perfect foil to the wise Groucho Marx in a series of films including A Night at the Opera and Duck Soup. Her character’s apparent obliviousness to the insult led to the widespread belief, fostered by Groucho himself, that Dumont was a humorless person who never got the joke, a belief she contradicted in a 1942 interview. “I’m not a puppet,” she says. “I am a straight woman. It’s an art to play straight. You have to build your man up but never overtake him and never steal the laughs from him. Straight Lady: The Life and Times of Margaret Dumont, “The Fifth Marx Brother” focuses on Dumont and his role in producing the comedy teams’ most successful films. Several books have been written about the Marx Brothers as an acting family and their individual lives, but this is the first written about Margaret Dumont.

What others have to say about Straight Lady:

“Dumont was, as always, a fixed point in the world of [Marx Brothers’] chaos… It all makes for an enticing story. Bugler Criticism

“To End! Enss and Kazanjian’s wonderful book pays homage to one of the greatest straight women of all time. Margaret Dumont proved to be Groucho’s most valuable asset. With a keen sense of timing , she prepared him to win every battle. brava!” Wendie Malick, actress/producer/screenwriter

“Film after film, Margaret Dumont was Goliath to Groucho Marx’s David; imperious, with just enough snobbery to make Groucho chicken out, but still standing against his pikes while being wonderfully funny… They were the perfect team, and now this book pays this superb comic actress a long-awaited tribute to his talents. ” C. Courtney Joyner, award-winning film historian and screenwriter

Straight Lady: The Life and Times of Margaret Dumont “The Fifth Marx Brothers” is now available in bookstores worldwide, on, Barnes & and on Visit for more information.

Chris Ens
Chris Ens
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