Since March 20th, was the first day of Spring (although you’d never know it by some of the weather across the country), I thought I’d add something appropriate for the time of the year, that naturally includes Lee Marvin.
As I’ve stated previously, I was extremely fortunate in my research for Lee Marvin Point Blank to be able to get Lee’s older brother, Robert, to open up to me. It wasn’t easy at first, as he had never done so before, but once he did, the results were incredible. I genuinely believe it’s one of the many encounters that has made the book a better portrait of the man than anything else that has been published about him before. Robert allowed me full and unfettered access, and whenever I found a new archival treasure, I brought it to him to get the story behind it. The overwheleming majority of these discoveries can be found in the pages of Lee Marvin: Point Blank as we sat for hours on end with him regaling me with amazing tales with a tape recorder between us. In fact, his wife Joan asked me at one point, “What are you and Robert talking about so much?” I answered truthfully, “Just his childhood and life with Lee.” She then paid me a wonderful compliment by stating, “I only asked because I have not heard Robert laugh so much in years!”
One of the best parts was showing him pictures, such as the montage of photos shown below. To be present as he laughed or teared up over the long-forgotten images cannot be duplicated in words. I can, however, add the following transcript of our conversation…..
Dwayne: Was this Halloween, this shot of you and Lee and your mother?
Robert: That’s out in Jackson Heights. Look at the hat my mother is wearing. Isn’t that something? That was the way the girls dressed. That was the style and it looked pretty good, too. That was the Spanish Gardens Apts. It still exists too, I think.
D: Was that where you lived? (nods) Was that the name of the complex…
R: Yes it was.
D: Let me ask you a tough question. I’m assuming you were dressed for Halloween. What were you guys dressed up as? Do you recall?
R: I’d be a scarecrow…maybe its Thanksgiving. My brother’s dressed as, I suppose, a green pea, maybe. No, wait a minute! It was a Spring celebration at school so it must have been like March, or something like that.
D: School pageant kind of thing. Look at that chubby face on Lee.
R: And my dear mother. God.
D: Pretty cool, huh? You’re lucky you have this stuff. Some families don’t even have these.