TUCSON ARIZONA & LEE MARVIN

Tucson Arizona, a city with a surprising history of filmmaking (mostly westerns, of course) was also the home to Lee Marvin the last few decades of his life. Recently, I came across an online photo spread of Tucson’s rich celebrity enriched images which can be seen here
If you don’t want to scroll all the way down to find Lee Marvin like I did, here’s the image below…

Original caption: “Sarah Gorby and actor Lee Marvin hold baby javelinas before a fundraising dinner at the Tucson Racquet Club for the Sarah Gorby Wildlife Rehabilitation Fund in 1983.” Anybody know what the hell a javelina is?

 

Of course, the plethora of film & TV actors captured in photos at work, play and various other venues is certainly worth scrolling through. Pretty impressive as it runs the gamut from the 1950s to today and features everyone from John Wayne (natch!) to Ted Danson! Particular favorites are Groucho Marx and Jayne Mansfeld. The info is intriguing, as well, despite the fact that Jack Lemmon never made a movie called It Happened One Night (1934) but did costar with June Allyson in a 1956 musical remake called You Can’t Run Away From It. Also, the Paul Newman movie in which he’s getting his boots shined was not Pockey Money (whatever that is!) but Pocket Money (1972), costarring the subject of this blog. 
 Speaking of the subject of this blog, the fact that he did reside in Tucson Arizona played a pretty significant role in my biography of him, Lee Marvin Point Blank finally seeing the light of day. Publisher Tim Schaffner, a Tucson resident himself, was pondering whether to publish my work or not Told me that when he noticed his local video store having a speical on Lee Marvin movies, several folks told him some Lee Marvin stories. Hey, every little bit helps! 
 As for Lee Marvin stories, social media can help in the strangest ways. It didn’t make the book but rocker Brad Brooks had his own interesting tale to tell I wrote about here. He later told me he met the man while he worked delivering water to the Marvin home and the serial rapist was real! Just goes to show ya, you never know where or how Lee Marvin can pop up in the world!

-P.S. Been so busy on other projects I haven’t had time to blog in a while. With that in mind, allow me to wish a wonderful yet belated happy 90th birthday as of September 30th to the legendary Angie Dickinson! She is a class act I was fortunate enough to interview for my book and unpublished selections can be seen here. All the best, Angie!
– Dwayne Epstein

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CHARLIE & LEE….TOGETHER AGAIN!

Charles Bronson & Lee Marvin.

Screen grab image from the 1981 interview with Charlie & Lee.

Charlie & Lee, as in Bronson & Marvin, worked together several times in their respective careers but I can’t recall ever seeing them interviewed together..that is until now. Apparently, a local news show out of Fort Worth, Texas on NBC 5 was lucky enough to capture them together back in 1981 as they promote Death Hunt. The interviewer was Bobbi Wygant and she did her homework enough to ask some fairly intelligent questions. Case in point, knowing that they both worked with such legends as Gary Cooper and Spencer Tracy early in their careers (Lee in Bad Day At Black Rock with Tracy and Charlie in Pat & Mike as well as The People Against O’Hara), she knowingly asked them to compare the two legends. 
  Marvin was an old pro at such things as he often promoted his latest endeavors on talk shows. Bronson, on the other hand, hated being interviewed and it shows in the way he constantly fiddles with his microphone cord. It’s a shame really as he comes off as intelligent and insightful in his comments. 
Interestingly, the comments they both make about the location shooting of Death Hunt is in direct conflict to what costar Angie Dickinson told me in Lee Marvin Point Blank. She had talked to Lee about the beautiful locale and his daily response to her is definitely worth reading about. 
One other thing worth noting. Watch the entire clip below as you see Wygant do something after the interview that is akin to what William Hurt did in the movie Broadcast News (1987) that Albert Brooks discovers and upsets Holly Hunter when she finds out. I won’t spoil it if you haven’t seen the film but it’s certainly worth watching. Bronson and Marvin are still sitting there when Wygant does it which is quite bizarre. So watch below and enjoy!

– Dwayne Epstein

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RICK SPALLA: 1960’S LEE MARVIN DOCUMENTARY

Rick Spalla, an independent TV producer of entertainment news shows of substance (i.e. not TMZ or Entertainment Tonight), was one of the first people I sought when I began working on my Lee Marvin biography. I had learned of a TV documentary he had done on Marvin back in 1969 and was desperate to see it and find out more about it. Glad I did.
Don’t recall how I managed it back in those pre-internet days of the 1990s, but I secured an interview with Rick Spalla who graciously let me view the show in his studio on a moviola he set up. The 16 mm film was hardly HD, and stopping and starting it to take proper notes was a challenge, but it was well-worth it for the nuggets of info I was able to mine and put in the book.
Spalla died in 2001 and I never did get to see the show again, that is until now.

Lee Marvin being interviewed by Joe Hyams on location in Oregon during PAINT YOUR WAGON as they enjoy the rehearsal of The Nitty Gritty Band.

Imagine my surprise when Facebook friend and fellow film biographer, Gabriel Hershman, wrote me recently to tell me the show has been posted on YouTube! He sent me the link and I viewed it again as if for the first time. It really was well-done and holds up extremely well, in my opinion.
In fact, it reminded me of the quote I got from Spalla as to how his idea for the show came about: “Initially, I was planning to do the show about Keenan [Wynn] and his racing. Keenan invited Lee along. Then, over the years, Lee just got to be such a big star, we had to do one about him once the series started.”

Closing credit from the show PORTRAIT: LEE MARVIN.

Several of the people interviewed for the show had passed away by the time I began working on Lee Marvin Point Blank. Thanks to Spalla, I was able to get quotes from the likes of Keenan Wynn, Robert Ryan, Jack Webb, and others all of which went in the book. Readers know I also got first person exclusives myself with the show’s other guests, like Terry Moore, Eliot Silverstein, Angie Dickinson and more, so feel free to check those out, as well.
All in all rediscovering the show on YouTube thanks to Gabriel Hershman, was a revelation.

Author Gabriel Hershman’s biography of Albert Finney (above) is HIGHLY recommended.

Marvin was candid and whimsical during the on location interview, the film clips are well-placed and the anecdotes told about him are wonderful.

As to Rick Spalla’s opinion of his subject, he told me: “He lived life to the fullest. He loved living. We went down to Mazatlan so I could film him fishing and he was in heaven. He called it ‘Margarita time.’ On the first day he caught 6 sailfish and a marlin. When he was fishing, he was like a kid with a toy. As if he had all the toys in the world. He’d catch a fish and couldn’t wait to throw the line out again. It was like a movie or something. After the first day, he wanted me to go out with him again, but I had enough.”
Luckliy, for the rest of us, we can now see what he meant. So, without further ado, I give you Portrait: Lee Marvin, part one and part two. or click the images below. Thanks again, Gabriel!

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