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 She is a class act I was fortunate enough to interview for my book and unpublished selections can be seen here.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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EMMY.COM’S LEE TV: STORY BEHIND THE STORY

Emmy.com’s Lee TV article that went online the day after Lee Marvin’s birthday was culled from my book Lee Marvin Point Bank, obviously. The brief story behind it I think is interesting and at the very least, worthy of this blog. If you haven’t seen it, it’s available for your perusal here.  Readers of my book are certain to get a sense of deja vu as it’s contents are largely from my chapter about Marvin’s TV work entitled “Man in a Straitjacket.”
What makes the story interesting? Well, it works like this: In need of some freelance work, I was fortunate to contact the managing editor of Emmy.com late last year and submit my resume. She liked what she saw and eventually offered me some freelance work. My first was an interview with Nick Rutherford of Dream Corp. LLC, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Since it was near the end of the year, I didn’t get another offer until I interviewed Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’s Vella Lovell this month, which I also enjoyed. It was terrific speaking with these talented up-and-comers, as I discovered not all interesting things for me to write about has to be retro. However…..
I took a chance and pitched the idea of writing about Lee Marvin’s TV work. I was surprised and elated when the Emmy.com’s managing editor went with the idea and so, Emmy.com’s Lee TV was born. I thought it best to take the point of view I had in the book, that Marvin hated the medium contrasted with his versatile performances within the medium.
That proved to be misstep, as I was told the negative quotes from the actor were not in keeping with the TV Academy. If it were to fly, a rewrite was in order. Had this been me, say 10-20 years earlier, I’d have balked and walked. With age comes wisdom and so, less than a day later, I rewrote it and re-submitted it. I’m glad I dd as the editor was right, it reads much better. The result was the currently posted article of Emmy.com’s Lee TV. Live and learn, right?

Lee Marvin (left) & Patricia Donahue in a romantic clinch fro G.E. Theatre’s “The Last Reunion,” something you’d rarely see the actor do on film.

The idea was to show how much Marvin did things on the small screen he never did on film, which includes actually playing a Marine…TWICE!
I got to thinking about it some more and realized there are a plethora of such legendary actors who proved more versatile on television than they ever were on the silver screen. When the medium was still in its infancy, so too were the careers of several future postwar superstars. For instance…..

Paul Newman & Eva Marie Saint are the singing leads in a TV musical of OUR TOWN. Narrator Frank Sinatra had a hit song from it with “Love & Marriage.”

Did you know that Paul Newman actually sang in an original musical adaptation of Thornton WIlder’s Our Town? I kid you not! And how about this…

(L-R) Lillian Gish as Mary Todd Lincoln, Raymond Massey as Abraham Lincoln, and Jack Lemmon as John Wilkes Booth, in an episode of the dramatic anthology series ‘Ford Star Jubilee’ called ‘The Day Lincoln Was Shot,’ February 11, 1956.

Known on film mostly for his brilliant comedic and dramatic performances as a harried, middle-class contemporary man, Jack Lemmon once played John Wilkes Booth on an episode of an anthology series AFTER Lemmon had already won an Oscar for Mr. Roberts.

Then there’s my personal favorite example. Most folks don’t know that cult favorite Charles Bronson had an extensive career on television long before his middle-aged international stardom n the 1970s. He even had his own series based on a real-life individual…..

The rarely seen smile of actor Charles Bronson from his show MAN WITH A CAMERA as freelance photographer, Mike Kovac.

The possibilities are pretty impressive, don’t you think? I’ll be looking into such possibilities in the not too distant future but in the mean time, anybody need an award-winning, NY Times Bestselling writer? You can reach me here. Thanks!
-Dwayne Epstein

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