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The Gamblers

The Gamblers

The Downfall of Mickey, Chico, and Others

(p.96) 6 The Gamblers
Hollywood at the Races
Alan Shuback
University Press of Kentucky

Attending the races can be fun, sociable, and a means of generating publicity, but it has its pitfalls—gambling being the worst. Mickey Rooney, Chico Marx, Al Jolson, Jimmy Durante, Desi Arnaz, and John Huston all suffered from gambling addictions in one form or another, and all dropped fortunes in the process. Rooney referred to Del Mar as a “toilet” for all the money he flushed away there. Durante made a career out of laughing at himself, including his inexplicable habit of betting on five or six horses in a single race. Huston had bookies and agents who placed bets for him in all the major racing centers in the world. Chico Marx surpassed them all, squandering a huge fortune at the track, in card games, and at casinos, leaving him flat broke and dependent on Social Security checks in the last decades of his life.

Keywords:   gambling, addiction, horseplayers, horse racing

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