Susan Fleming

Comely auburn-haired, blue-eyed actress and dancer, an alumnus of the Ned Wayburn Academy in New York. A Ziegfeld Girl, she danced on Broadway in the Follies and in George White’s Scandals. On the strength of this, she was offered a long-term Hollywood contract with Paramount. A publicity campaign for the quirky W.C. Fields romp Million Dollar Legs (1932) got her tagged as ‘The Girl with the Million Dollar Legs’ (that was indeed the amount her pegs were insured for). She played a ‘Klopstokian’ girl named Angela, but then, all Klopstokian girls were named Angela. Susan later appeared in rather less well-remembered roles for 20th Century Fox, RKO and Warner Brothers but essentially found film acting a bore, declaring in a 1995 interview that “It took forever to get the lights sorted out. I hated it!”

A chance meeting with legendary comedian Harpo Marx at a dinner party given by Samuel Goldwyn led to a four-year courtship and three marriage proposals (from her) until he finally accepted. Having happily left film acting behind, she became Susan F. Marx, followed the Marx Brothers wherever they went, cleaned Harpo’s curly wigs and successfully raised their four adopted children. Harpo and Susan eventually retired to Palm Springs after their movie swan song Love Happy (1949)] in 1948, whereupon Susan devoted her life to local politics and philanthropic causes.

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