American actress (1889-1965). Born Margaret Baker in Brooklyn, she started out working on Broadway, though she played a few uncredited roles in silent films like the 1917 version of "A Tale of Two Cities" and "Enemies of Women."

In the late 1920s, she co-starred in some comedic stage shows with a family comedy troupe, and then got signed to a contract with Paramount Studios when the comedians -- better known as the Marx Brothers -- translated "The Cocoanuts" and "Animal Crackers" to the big screen. From that point on, Dumont's status as the greatest straight man (male or female) in history was assured.

By most accounts, Dumont rarely actually got the jokes that Groucho, Harpo, and Chico were flinging around, so her characters' obtuse acceptance of Groucho's insults was not entirely an act. In fact, her greatest love was not comedy, but drama; unfortunately, her dramatic roles had little impact, and most of her work involved playing the straight woman for the Marx Brothers and other comedians, including W. C. Fields, Laurel and Hardy, Jack Benny, Danny Kaye, and Abbott and Costello.

Dumont usually played a wealthy, snooty society matron -- and in real life, Dumont was married to John Moller, a millionaire industrialist, and she had expensive homes in Palm Springs, California and Paris, France. Surely that helped take some of the sting out of being alternately wooed and scorned by Groucho Marx...

Her last appearance was on a television talk show called "Hollywood Palace" in 1965, where she reunited with Groucho to reprise her role as Groucho's foil. She died of a heart attack mere days later.

In addition to her seven pictures with the Marx Brothers ("The Cocoanuts," "Animal Crackers," "Duck Soup," "A Night at the Opera," "A Day at the Races," "At the Circus," and "The Big Store"), Dumont also appeared in "Never Give a Sucker an Even Break," "Anything Goes," "The Song and Dance Man,","The Women," "Rhythm Parade," "Sing Your Worries Away," "Born to Sing," "About Face," "The Dancing Masters," "Sunset in El Dorado," "The Horn Blows at Midnight," "Up in Arms," "Diamond Horseshoe," "Little Giant," "Susie Steps Out," "Shake, Rattle and Rock," "Zotz!", "What a Way to Go!, and a TV series called "My Friend Irma."

Research from the Internet Movie Database (www.imdb.com)

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