Teller obviously speaks in radio interviews, like when he has appeared on Fresh Air.
In the the TLC documentary Alias mentioned, Teller was lit in such a way that most of his face was darkened with his mouth visible. It was clearly him but it added a nice touch. Teller seems to not speak (or at least not be seen speaking) only when “in character.”
Harpo Marx spoke two lines of dialogue in the film Too Many Kisses, but it was a silent film from 1925.
Dewayne “Son” Smith, one half of the country comedy/singing duo The Geezinslaw Brothers doesn’t speak when performing or interviews, but does sing. The Geezinslaws had a novelty hit in the early 90s called “Help! I’m White And I can’t Get Down!” spoofing rap music.
Penn and Teller have a gag in their live show, where they make it very obvious that Teller is speaking through the PA from backstage. Also, he spoke to me after the show. Very friendly guys, both of them.
JThunder, good point on Telly. Dude doesn’t even have an IMDB page! Come to think of it, didn’t Oscar have a pet worm (Stinky?) that was silent?
Unless you’re a member of a group and have another person to speak for you, not speaking in public makes it pretty hard to be a celebrity.
Harpo at least had a personality to fall back on, and he managed to make guest appearances (even occasionally on radio) using his various noise-makers. He appeared in speaking parts in plays after he became famous as well. Teller’s silentness just annoys me.
I guess I’m not surprised that more people don’t do it.
Harpo Marx did speak in public occasionally (Once, notably, at a curtain call for his one-man show in the '50s).
Harpo can be heard, but NOT seen, singing in the opening moments of MONKEY BUSINESS. He, Groucho, Chico, and Zeppo are stowaways in the hold of a ship. Each of them is hiding in a barrel, and they pass the time by singing “Sweet Adeline” in four-part harmony (Of course, once out of the barrel, Harpo never speaks a word).
Highly recommended: Harpo Marx’s autobiography HARPO SPEAKS! A truly wonderful memoir. (Doper Exapno Mapcase knows what I’m talking about)
While Harpo didn’t speak in movies, it’s my understanding that, in the Marx Brothers’ vaudeville days, his character was a stereotypical Irishman (hence the name “Harp”-o, get it?) who spoke with a heavy, exaggerated Irish accent (just as Chico was a stereotypical Italian with an exaggerated Italian accent).
Sorry, not got. The acquisition of the nicknames is a mystery no Marxist scholar has yet solved, though stories abound. The first print mention of their using them as stage names doesn’t come until 1919 and they were billed under their real names on Broadway as late as 1924. Groucho’s story, about a monologist named Art Fisher dealing out the names in a poker game in Galesburg, Illinois, in 1914 after the characters in the comic strip Sherlocko the Monk has a number of problems with it, not the least of which is that nobody can track down a monologist named Art Fisher. Harpo tells the same story, undated, but places it in Rockford, Illinois, and talks about a later version of the strip, Knocko the Monk.
But whenever and wherever and whoever, I’ve never seen a suggestion that the name came from Harpo’s Patsy Brannigan Irish dope character. Harpo’s fame was in playing the harp. Harpo himself says that the name came from his harp-playing. So does everyone else. If you have a cite that says otherwise, I’m really curious to see it.