FOR FATHER’S DAY: UNPUBLISHED THOUGHTS FROM CHRISTOPHER MARVIN

I was extremely fortunate to interview Lee Marvin’s son Christopher, especially since he was understandably reluctant to be interviewed. He eventually came around (with his mother’s urging) and gave some wonderful insights into his father, almost all of which can be found in the pages of Lee Marvin Point Blank. A handful of his observations did fall through the cracks for one reason or another. Sadly, Christopher succumbed to cancer in October 2013 and so, as a lasting a tribute to his father, here are some never-before-published thoughts for Father’s Day:

Left to right is grandfather Monte, father Lee and son Christopher with family dog, Liberty.

Left to right is grandfather Monte, father Lee and son Christopher with family dog, Liberty.

“I think his job was just his job. When he was home, it was a different thing. It was a father-son relationship. That was his gig and it was no big deal. He didn’t boast about it and he didn’t even really talk about it. It was just the thing he enjoyed doing. Once he finished a film, he moved on to another one, or he took time off. That’s it. He enjoyed doing what he was doing. It was tough for him to get the end result the way he wanted it, like anybody else.”

Christopher and his father wearing matching suits in the early 1960s.

Christopher and his father wearing matching suits in the early 1960s.

“He and I had some real delicate time as well; soul searching stuff…. I appreciated it. I don’t think very many people really have that. When he drank, then he got real loud but he never got violent. He never hit me once. There was no reason…. Verbally abusive, yeah he could always be, because he’d be mad at something else. Then, it would just come out. We got a few things back edgewise at each other, you know, one-liners, that made him happy and still pissed off. I’d say certain things to him. Like this one time, I was 17 or 18 and it was about finding work, and not looking for work, and this and that. He would want me to kind of cause an argument, like he would do with his father. I said, ‘I’m not you and you’re not grandpa. This shit stops here.’ Then, when I was 18, he said, ‘I love you but I’m disappointed in you.’ I want you to be a lot better than I am.’ I looked at him and said, ‘Why don’t you just knock me out right now? That’s bullshit.’ He looked at me. He got a snicker out of that.”

Christopher (right) with his father in the 1970s outside his father’s Tucson home.

Christopher (right) with his father in the 1970s outside his father’s Tucson home.

 

“I get a lot of compliments from people who really loved dad. That’s what I really respect. The more I hear that from people, then I get to learn more about what he really represented. Now that I look at it, he really tried to play that character out of himself so he could get people to understand.”

The author of Lee Marvin: Point Blank (right) with Christopher Marvin enjoying a laugh at the American Cinematheque screening of Point Blank & The Killers in 2013.

The author of Lee Marvin: Point Blank (right) with Christopher Marvin enjoying a laugh at the American Cinematheque screening of Point Blank & The Killers in 2013.

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HAPPY FATHER’S DAY

Fathers Day: conjures up images of sweet, sometimes corny Hallmark cards, dads smiling in spite of the cheesy gifts, backyard barbecues for him in which he’s celebrated but is still working anyway…Or as in the case of my family, taking dad out to dinner in which he pays.
Writing and researching Lee Marvin Point Blank I was fortunate to come across some images that may not be typical Lee Marvin but are certainly perfect for Father’s Day. Take the image below, for example. Late 1950s or early 60s in which Lee appears to be fixing a toy for his son Christopher while his pinofore-wearing daughter, Cynthia, holds on to him in sweet admiration. Now I ask you, is this Father’s Day, or what?

fathersday

A classic Father’s Day image with son Christopher, daughter Cynthia, and Lee himself, fixing a toy for his son.

 

Lee Marvin and his father Monte (below), pose in front of the door inside the Marvin Woodstock home for a photo layout that was done for LIFE Magazine n 1965.
From all the Marvins, I bid one and all, a happy Father’s Day!

dad-woodstock

For Father’s Day: Lee Marvin and his father Monte in the family’s Woodstock home, approximately 1965.

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RARE PHOTO OF RALPH O’HARA, LEE MARVIN & FRIEND

In researching Lee Marvin: Point Blank, some of the most intriguing stories about the man were related to me by individuals not necessarily know by the general public. Case in point: Ralph O’Hara. O’Hara was a legend around the bars of Malibu and Santa Monica and as such, he just had to have some good Lee Marvin stories to uncover. Anyone who’s read Lee Marvin: Point Blank knows how true that is. He was also willing to relate his poignant perspective to the end of Lee’s life (pp. 243-244). I can also say that after Christopher Marvin read my book he told me that the next time I see or hear from Ralph that Chirstopher has the $20 he owes him for lending him gas money from Tucson back to Calif after after his father’s funeral in 1987. Unfortunately, I long lost contact with Ralph, who apparently moved down South after he retired from bartending.

RALPH

Wallawa Whitman National Forest Baker Oregon on set of Paint Your Wagon, July 1968. Ralph J. O’Hara, Julie Ayers, Lee Marvin

During the time I was in contact with Ralph O’Hara I constantly badgered him  for a picture, especially for one with him and Lee. I haranged him for several months but he kept insisting his lawyer would not allow it. Go figure that one out. One day, in the mail, I received the image above. Too ragged to be used for the book, I present the photo here for your perusal. Ralph, if you’re out there and can see this, I thank you once again!

Ralph’s own caption: “Wallawa Whitman National Forest Baker Oregon on set of Paint Your Wagon, July 1968. Ralph J. O’Hara, Julie Ayers, Lee Marvin.”

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