Groucho Marx? Apocryphal?
Dear Quote Investigator: Groucho Marx apparently once said that he pursued the affections of a woman for two years until he finally discovered that the woman was doing exactly the same thing: pursuing the affections of a woman. Would you please investigate this claim?
Quote Investigator: The 1967 collection of correspondence titled “The Groucho Letters” included a 1955 missive that the comedian sent to playwright and screenwriter Harry Kurnitz. Groucho included the following parenthetical quip: 1
Many years ago I chased a woman for almost two years, only to discover that her tastes were exactly like mine: we both were crazy about girls.
Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.
In 2000 “The Times Book of Quotations” included a slightly altered version of the quotation using the phrase “we were both crazy” instead of “we both were crazy”. The abbreviation “Attr.” below meant that the words were attributed to Groucho, but the creators of the reference had been unable to provide a citation: 2
Many years ago I chased a woman for almost two years, only to discover her tastes were exactly like mine: we were both crazy about girls.
In 2001 “Cassell’s Humorous Quotations” included the slightly altered quotation together with a citation pointing to “The Groucho Letters”. 3
In conclusion, Groucho Marx deserves credit for this quip based on the 1955 letter printed in the 1967 book. Some later reference works present a slightly inaccurate text.
Image notes: Illustration of Groucho Marx style glasses and mustache from Clker-Free-Vector-Images at Pixabay. Image has been resized.
(Great thanks to K whose inquiry led QI to formulate this question and perform this exploration.)
- 1967, The Groucho Letters: Letters From and To Groucho Marx, Chapter: Friends Abroad, Letter Date: March 28, 1955, Letter From: Groucho Marx, Letter To: Harry Kurnitz (Playwright and Screenwriter), Quote Page 249, Publisher: Michael Joseph, London. (Verified with scans) ↩
- 2000, The Times Book of Quotations, Section: homosexuality, Quote Page 347, HarperCollins, Glasgow, United Kingdom. (Verified on with hardcopy) ↩
- 2001, Cassell’s Humorous Quotations, Compiled by Nigel Rees, Section: Lesbianism, Quote Page 249, Cassell, London and Sterling Pub. Company, New York. (Verified on paper) ↩