Gay Rights was in its earliest public stage in 1969 but that didn’t keep Lee Marvin from commenting on it in a 1969 Playboy Magazine interview. In fact, one of the things I’m often asked is why did I choose to write about Lee Marvin. Quite frankly, the more I found about him as a person the more intrigued I became as he was not a typical macho, strutting, chauvinist. His opinions astonished me, such as his thought on Gay Rights, especially for a man of his generation. Anyone who reads Lee Marvin: Point Blank will probably discover that as I did in researching and writing it.
He was an extremely hot commodity in 1969, so when Playboy wanted a big name to interview for its anniversry issue, they could not do better than Marvin……
The interview was conducted not long after the assassination of both Martin Luther King and Robert F. Kennedy so the topic of violence in American (and film) was prevalent in the interview, as shown from one of the pull quotes below…..
That said, THE most striking aspect of the interview, in my opinion, is when the subject of homosexuality is brought up and what Marvin has to say about it. There’s macho swagger of course, but he not only says he could he easily play a gay character, he gives it his own spin. You’d never hear John Wayne say that! I also love the fact that even the pseudo, ultra-hip Playboy interviewer is taken aback by Marvin’s response…..
By the way, for more on Marvin’s opinions on such controversial subjects — including a rather funny run-in he had with a gay producer and how he handled it — read Lee Marvin Point Blank. You won’t be disappointed.
– Dwayne Epstein