Adolph Arthur “Harpo" Marx was a brilliant, delightful, completely original comedian. Any fan of the Marx Brothers and the wonderful movies (as I am) (or is it, as am I?) knows this. In the Marx Brothers movies Harpo played a childlike character, a kind of ethereal spirit who lived in his own world. He wore a curly blond wig, a big raincoat, a plug hat, and he went around honking a big taxi horn. And of course, he loved to play the harp.
Harpo never spoke in the Marx Brothers films, existing as a happy-go-lucky mute in a world of voices and sound. And while nakedness or the act of taking off one's clothes can often symbolize lasciviousness or sexuality, with Harpo, it would seem more of a childlike thing.
In real life, Harpo was a childlike character too. He was a grown man, completely comfortable without clothing on (much like a very young child). This is probably why there are more Harpo Marx naked stories than any other comedian.
The first Harpo naked story involves Harpo and his brother, Groucho. Harpo and Groucho were going to attend an all-male "stag party" in a hotel one night. That night, they entered the hotel elevator, each carrying an empty suitcase.
As a gag, they thought it would be hilarious to walk out of the elevator nude and surprise the guys. In the elevator, they pushed the button to stop it, undressed and put all their clothes in suitcases they were carrying. In their excitement, they pushed the wrong floor number and walked in, completely naked, to an all-female bridal shower.
In the late 1920's, Harpo met the classic writer Somerset Maugham. As Maugham was giving Harpo a tour of his house, Harpo saw that Maugham had a swimming pool right below his bedroom window. Thinking this was the greatest thing he had ever seen, Harpo, without hesitation, stripped off his clothes and leaped out the window into the pool.
During this same period, Harpo was scheduled to have dinner with the famed writer George Bernard Shaw. Relaxing before the meal, Harpo was swimming in the nude down on a beach, when he heard voices up above him. He threw a towel around himself, climbed the hill above and realized it was Shaw's voice he'd heard.
Harpo put out his hand to shake the great author's, when Shaw got a mischievious smile on his face and snatched away Harpo's towel, leaving Harpo standing au naturel. “From the first moment I met George Bernard Shaw, I had nothing to hide," recalled Harpo.
When the Marx Brothers were filming their movie Horsefeathers in 1932, they were shooting a scene featuring the movie's big, climactic football game. After several takes, the huge stadium crowd of extras was growing restless and disinterested. “I’ll wake them up", said Harpo, who proceeded to take off all his clothes and run laps around the stadium completely naked.
When the Marx Brothers went to MGM studios to make movies in 1935, they had a hard time getting in to see producer Irving Thalberg. Although they had scheduled meetings, Thalberg kept them waiting outside several times and the boys got fed up.
One day, when Thalberg returned to his office, he discovered all three Marx Brothers (Harpo, Groucho, and Chico) sitting naked on the floor of his office. The boys had started a bonfire in the middle of Thalberg's office and they sat roasting potatoes over the fire. A good sport, Thalberg told the boys to get some butter from the studio commissary, which Harpo did, and they all ate the potatoes together. (I am assuming Harpo put on his clothes before going to the commissary.)
Incidentally, after this incident, Thalberg never kept the boys waiting again.
After Harpo married in 1936, he and his wife Susan tried to adopt children. During one adoption process, the lady who interviewed Harpo and his wife rubbed Harpo the wrong way. He may have been offended by her anti-semitism, and Harpo, uncharacteristically, was very angry.
On the next scheduled meeting with the lady from the adoption agency, she came to the Marx household and purposefully rang the doorbell. Harpo answered the door, completely naked, but with a bow tied around his manhood.
Harpo and his wife adopted four children. Here are three of them.
In his later years, Harpo lived a happy life of semi-retirement in Palm Springs. Harpo loved to play golf in the Palm Springs heat.
Harpo's golf routine was quite unusual, but fitting. He would play a hole, then strip off all his clothes and jump into the nearest Palm Springs swimming pool to refresh himself from the desert heat. Then he'd dress himself again and play a few more holes. Then, when he got the urge, he'd take off his clothes again and jump into the nearest swimming pool again. Harpo's Palm Springs neighbors, aware of their uninvited "pool guest,” never complained. It seems everyone knew Harpo and loved him for his unique eccentricities.
One of Harpo's goals towards the end of his life was to make the first naked hole-in-one. He would bring a bucket of golf balls, take off all his clothes, and hit them, one after the other, toward a hole. Unfortunately, in spite of his trying and trying, he fell short (within a foot) of achieving his naked golf ambition.