Day 328 of 365 – Marilyn “Erin” Fleming Grave

I hate going to cemeteries and after this week I hope I don’t see one for awhile.  I have four friends that have lost a loved one this week,  so I’m kind of blogging for them today.  Not about them but about someone that most people don’t even know about!

While I was meeting with clients in Hornings Mills today I thought that I would take a walk first…this is what I stumbled upon in the cemetery.

I didn’t know much about these people but I quickly got the scoop after I used my iPhone to do some research.

Marilyn Fleming was born New Liskeard, Ontario, Canada. She appeared in minor roles in five films between 1965 and 1976, during which time she became acquainted with Groucho Marx and moved into his house.
(13 August 1941 – 15 April 2003) was a Canadian actress who was best known as the companion and caregiver to the US comedian Groucho Marx in his final years.

Fleming’s influence on Marx was controversial. 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, and an honorary Academy Award that was presented to him during his lifetime. Also, some observers felt the apparent relationship with a young starlet boosted Groucho’s ego, adding to his vitality. Others, including Marx’s son, Arthur, described her in Svengali-esque terms, accusing her of exploiting an increasingly senile Marx in pursuit of her own stardom.

In the years leading up to Marx’s death in 1977, his heirs filed several lawsuits against her. One allegation leveled against Fleming was that she was determined to sell Marx’s favorite car, a Cadillac, against his wishes. When Marx protested, it was said, Fleming threatened, “I will slap you from here to Pittsburgh.” Many people close to Marx believed Fleming was abusive towards him. Arthur wanted temporary conservatorship of his father, and took Erin to court. According to the book Raised Eyebrows by Groucho’s secretary Steve Stoliar, Fleming had several personal problems; he stated in his book that she used drugs, had mood swings, and was given to inappropriate outbursts, both in public and in private.

The court battles dragged into the early 1980s, but judgments were eventually reached in favor of Arthur Marx, ordering Fleming to repay $472,000 to the Marx estate.

Fleming’s mental health deteriorated in the 1990s. 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 wrote an article after her ordeal with Marx son saying that her life was ruined and now she was broke.  She committed suicide in 2003 by shooting herself in LA.

So how did she get here?  Hmmm.

Categories: Things To See And Do

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