|Height:||175 cm (5' 9'')|
|Birth Day:||October 20, 1882|
|Death Date:||Mar 6, 1965 (age 82)|
|Height:||175 cm (5' 9'')|
|Weight:||in kg - N/A|
As per our current Database, Margaret Dumont died on Mar 6, 1965 (age 82).
She made her stage debut in a 1902 Chestnut Theater (Philadelphia, PA) production of Beauty and the Beast and appeared in her first silent film, A Tale of Two Cities, in 1917.
Dumont trained as an operatic singer and actress in her teens, and began performing on stage in the U.S. and in Europe, at first under the name Daisy Dumont and later as Margaret (or Marguerite) Dumont. Her theatrical debut was in Sleeping Beauty and the Beast at the Chestnut Theater in Philadelphia, and in August 1902, two months before her 20th birthday, she appeared as a singer/comedian in a vaudeville act in Atlantic City. The dark-haired soubrette, described by a theater reviewer as a "statuesque beauty", attracted notice later that decade for her vocal and comedic talents in The Girl Behind the Counter (1908), The Belle of Brittany (1909) and The Summer Widower (1910).
In 1910, she married millionaire sugar heir and industrialist John Moller Jr. and retired from stage work, although she had a small uncredited role as an aristocrat in a 1917 film adaptation of A Tale of Two Cities. The marriage was childless.
Dumont married millionaire American Sugar Refining Company heir and industrialist John Moller Jr. in 1910 and retired from stage work. The marriage was childless.
After her husband's sudden death during the 1918 influenza pandemic, Dumont reluctantly returned to the Broadway stage, and soon gained a strong reputation in musical comedies. She never remarried. Her Broadway career included roles in the musical comedies and plays The Fan (1921), Go Easy, Mabel (1922), The Rise of Rosie O'Reilly (1923/24) and The Fourflusher (1925), and she had an uncredited role in the 1923 film Enemies of Women.
In 1925, Dumont came to the attention of theatrical producer Sam H. Harris who recommended her to the Marx Brothers and writer George S. Kaufman for the role of the wealthy dowager Mrs. Potter alongside the Marxes in their Broadway production of The Cocoanuts. In the Marxes' next Broadway show Animal Crackers, which opened in October 1928, Dumont again was cast as foil and straight woman Mrs. Rittenhouse, another rich, society dowager. She appeared with the Marxes in the screen versions of both The Cocoanuts (1929) and Animal Crackers (1930).
In most of her interviews and press profiles, Dumont preserved the myth of her on-screen character: the wealthy, regal woman who never quite understood the jokes. However, in a 1942 interview with the World Wide Features press syndicate, Dumont said, "Scriptwriters build up to a laugh, but they don't allow any pause for it. That's where I come in. I ad lib—it doesn't matter what I say—just to kill a few seconds so you can enjoy the gag. I have to sense when the big laughs will come and fill in, or the audience will drown out the next gag with its own laughter... I'm not a stooge, I'm a straight lady. There's an art to playing straight. You must build up your man, but never top him, never steal the laughs from him."
For decades, film critics and historians have theorized that because Dumont never broke character or smiled at Groucho's jokes, she did not "get" the Marxes' humor. On the contrary, Dumont, a seasoned stage professional, maintained her "straight" appearance to enhance the Marxes' comedy. In 1965, shortly before Dumont's death, The Hollywood Palace featured a recreation of "Hooray for Captain Spaulding" (from the Marxes' 1930 film Animal Crackers) in which Dumont can be seen laughing at Groucho's ad-libs — proving that she got the jokes.
On February 26, 1965, eight days before her death, Dumont made her final acting appearance on the television program The Hollywood Palace, where she was reunited with Groucho, the week's guest host. They performed material from Captain Spaulding's introductory scene in Animal Crackers, including the song "Hooray for Captain Spaulding". The taped show was broadcast on April 17, 1965.
Moeller died during the 1918 influenza pandemic, after which Dumont reluctantly returned to the Broadway stage. She never remarried, and died from a heart attack on March 6, 1965. She was cremated and her ashes were interred in the vault at the Chapel of the Pines Crematory in Los Angeles. She was 82, although many obituaries erroneously gave her age as 75.
Decades later, in his one-man show at New York's Carnegie Hall, Groucho mentioned Dumont's name and got a burst of applause. He falsely informed the audience that she rarely understood the humor of their scenes and would ask him, "Why are they laughing, Julie?" ("Julie" being her nickname for Julius, Groucho's birth name). Dumont was so important to the success of the Marx Brothers films, she was one of the few people Groucho mentioned in his short acceptance speech for an honorary Oscar in 1974. (The others were Harpo and Chico, their mother Minnie, and Groucho's companion Erin Fleming. Zeppo and Gummo Marx, who were both alive at the time, were not mentioned, though Jack Lemmon, who introduced Groucho, mentioned all four brothers who appeared with Dumont on film.)
Writing about Dumont's importance as a comic foil in 1998, film critic Andrew Sarris wrote "Groucho's confrontations with Miss Dumont seem much more the heart of the Marxian matter today than the rather loose rapport among the three brothers themselves."
The New York-born daughter of Harriet and William Baker, Daisy Juliette Baker (later Margaret Dumont) spent the bulk of her childhood in the southern United States, cared for by her godfather, the famous journalist and folklorist Joel Chandler Harris. Margaret's marriage to millionaire John Moller, Jr. lasted from 1910 until Moller's death in 1918.
Currently, Margaret Dumont is 139 years, 8 months and 8 days old. Margaret Dumont will celebrate 140th birthday on a Thursday 20th of October 2022. Below we countdown to Margaret Dumont upcoming birthday.
Turner Classic Movies
Remembering Margaret Dumont on her birthday, here with Groucho Marx in A DAY AT THE RACES ('37)