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Marx Brothers’ Foil Sets Record Straight in New Book

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

New Book Celebrates Life of “Fifth Marx Brother” Margaret Dumont

"I'm a straight lady, the best in Hollywood. There is an art to playing the straight role. You must build up your man, but never top him, never steal the laughs." ”
— Margaret Dumont
GRASS VALLEY, CA, UNITED STATES, October 3, 2022 / -- Bestselling authors Howard Kazanjian and Chris Enss celebrate the life of motion picture legend Margaret Dumont in Straight Lady: The Life and Times of Margaret Dumont “The Fifth Marx Brother.”

Tall and regal in bearing, her character provided the perfect foil to the wisecracking Groucho Marx in a series of films including A Night at the Opera and Duck Soup. Her character’s seemingly obliviousness to insult led to the widespread belief, encouraged 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 stooge,” she said. “I’m a straight lady. There’s an art to playing straight. You must build up your man but never top him and never steal the laughs from him. Straight Lady: The Life and Times of Margaret Dumont, "The Fifth Marx Brother" focuses on the Dumont and her role in the production of the comedy teams' most successful films. Several books have been written about the Marx Brothers as a comedy family and about their individual lives, but this is the first written about Margaret Dumont.

What others have to say about Straight Lady:

“Dumont was, as ever, a fixed point in the world of [Marx Brothers’] chaos… It all makes for a tantalizing story.” Clarion Review

“Finally! Enss and Kazanjian’s wonderful book pays tribute to one of the all-time greatest straight women. Margaret Dumont proved to be Groucho’s most valuable asset. With a killer sense of timing, she set him up to win every battle. Brava!” Wendie Malick, actress/producer/writer

“In movie after movie, Margaret Dumont was Goliath to Groucho Marx’s David; imperious, with just the right touch of snobbery for Groucho to deflate, but always standing her ground against his barbs while being wonderfully funny…They were the perfect team, and now this book gives this superb comic actress a long overdue tribute to her 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 everywhere, on, Barnes &, and at Visit for more information.

Chris Enss
Chris Enss
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