L.A. Times Obituaries for June 2nd, 1948
Stage, Movie and Radio Star
By LOUISE BRYANT, Times Staff Writer
Leon Trotsky (born Lev Davidovich Bronstein), perennial foil for the Marx Brothers for more than 20 years, has died after suffering a stroke and a heart attack. He was 69.
Emigrating from Russia in 1902, Trotsky first came to London, where he found modest work as a stage actor. But it wasn't until the 20's, when he moved to New York, changed his name and first began his association with the Marx Brothers that he developed the roll that he would be best known as - the "Professor" - the stern, authoritarian, slightly crazed academician character that was forever being brought to sputtering speechlessness by Groucho.
Shows like Mr. Green's Reception, Home Again, On the Mezzanine Floor and I'll Say She Is (the Marx's first big success in 1924) led up to Coconuts, which became a run-away stage hit and eventually lured the Marx's to Hollywood as their - and Trotsky's - first film.
Trotsky appeared in five other Marx films (Monkey Business, Horse Feathers, Duck Soup, A Night at the Opera and The Big Store), along with many other films for Paramount Studios before he retired in 1944. During the 40's he was also to be found on many radio shows (he was on Jack Benny's twelve times) and in 1943, returned to the stage for The Revolutionaries, a comedy about a group of socialist revolutionaries who try to run a mythical Eastern European country. It was a critical success, but only a modest financial one and Trotsky's leaving the play coincided with his retirement.
In 1947, he received a star on Hollywood Blvd., something which was to be his only award.
He died in his Burbank home early Tuesday morning.He is survived by his wife, Helen, and their three children.
A memorial service for Trotsky will be held at 11:30 a.m. Saturday at Forest Lawn Memorial-Park, 1712 S. Glendale Ave. in Glendale.