The estate of Groucho Marx -- Family and friends fight over his finances. Groucho Marx was at center stage again, but there were no laughs when the beloved year-old comedian, rendered helpless by a stroke and hip surgery, became the focus of a bizarre court battle 15 years ago this week. A former actress who met Groucho in when she heard he needed a secretary, Fleming got most of the press. She insisted that Marx had proposed marriage but she had turned him down because he wanted to adopt a child and she wanted to have her own. Arthur, a successful playwright he cowrote The Impossible Years , had written two books that showed him to be less than sympathetic toward his father. Miriam was a recovering alcoholic whose drinking had soured her relationship with Groucho. Marx died of pneumonia just a few months later, on Aug.
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She was arrested once in the Los Angeles area on a weapons charge, and spent much of the decade in and out of commitments to various psychiatric facilities. She was also reportedly impoverished and homeless in her final years, living on the streets of Hollywood and Beverly Hills. Many close to him admitted that she did much to revive his popularity; these efforts included a series of one-man shows, culminating in a sold-out performance at Carnegie Hall which was released on a best-selling record album and an honorary Academy Award he received in When Marx protested, it was said, Fleming threatened, "I will slap you from here to Pittsburgh. Arthur wanted temporary conservatorship of his father, and took Fleming to court.
Schulman asked the jury to decide in the bank's favor 'to make an example of Miss Fleming and to show that in our society old people cannot be treated and threatened as Groucho Marx was. During his closing arguments Monday, Schulman portrayed Miss Fleming as a greedy woman who dominated and terrorized Marx, who was 50 years her senior, and that she swindled the comedian during six years as his live-in companion. She used him as the platform for her self aggrandizement. She knew she had to do this to get total control of him. Schulman said Miss Fleming sometimes paraded naked in front of Marx to taunt him and at other times threatened and humiliated him. He said she forced Marx to take tranquilizers 'when she wanted to get rid of him for the day' and said she once told him, 'If you don't take it I'll slap you from here to Pittsburgh.
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