Lance Henriksen, veteran character actor of many a film and TV project, has had a few run-ins with Lee Marvin, as I recently discovered in an interview he did promoting his film Fallen (2020), which was written, directed and costarring Viggo Mortensen. In the joint interview, Henriksen tells several anecdotes about his career, all fascinating, but one in particular was worthy of this blog that I was totally unaware of. As recounted by Ryan Gilby in the online version of the U.K.’s The Guardian:
“Henriksen’s distinctive features have haunted cinema screens for almost half a century – that drawn face, those goggle eyes in their deep-scooped sockets, the high forehead and prim lips. His first paid gig was as a prison yard extra on The American, a 1960 TV special with Lee Marvin. “I was in jail myself at the time for vagrancy. They paid me $5 and I told the guard: ‘I’m not a vagrant any more!’” He even asked Marvin to spring him from the slammer. “He looked at me, like: ‘Hold that thought,’ and walked off. Hahaha!”
P.R. image of Lee Marvin as Ira Hayes in John Frankenheimer’s THE AMERICAN (1960).
Interestingly, Henriksen’s IMDb profile makes no mention of the appearance, but it does list his first acting credit as an extra in the film version of Ira Hayes released the same year with Tony Curtis as The Outsider. I’d take Henriksen’s word over IMDb any day.
It does however mention that Henriksen made his big screen debut over a decade later as an extra play a train yard worker on Emperor of the North (1973). His bigger break came two years later as an FBI agent in Dog Day Afternoon.
Actor Lance Henriksen in his prime in the mid-1990s.
There’s other odd connections the now 80-year-old Lance Henriksen had to Lee Marvin. He may be the only actor to ever play Marvin’s frequent costar, Charles Bronson, as he did in the TV-movie version of Jill Ireland’s battle with cancer. He also played a bounty hunter in Jim Jarmusch’s Dead Man (1996) who kills and cannibalizes two men named Lee & Marvin. Strange but true. May not be worthy of Lee Marvin Point Blank but it works for this blog. Wonder if Henriksen himself sees the connection.
– Dwayne Epstein
Iggy Pop, often referred to as “The Godfather of Punk,” has had many incarnations. He came into the world as James Osterberg, Jr. His father was a WWII veteran and English teacher in Michigan. He later took the stage name Iggy Stooge and then Iggy Pop fronting the band The Stooges. His legendary performance antics pioneered the mosh pit, stage diving, and other less savory events that lead to the creation of punk rock. Now, at the age of 72 he’s practically considered mainstream — well, not quite, but he’s admittedly slowed down a bit during his still high energy performances and recordings.
What, you may ask, does any of this have to do with Lee Marvin or Lee Marvin Point Blank?
The secret Sons of Lee Marvin members (SOLM), both official and unofficial.
It has to do with yet another incarnation Iggy can lay claim to and that was bestowed by indy filmmaker Jim Jarmusch as shown in the graphic herein. I don’t know about the likes of Ron Perlman, Gary Busey and Jeff Bridges (who knew and worked with Marvin in The Iceman Cometh), but my research showed the top row of gentlemen as definitely being charter members. In fact, I was able get the exclusive TRUE story of Lee’s real son Christopher and his encounter with charter member Tom Waits, all of which provided a great finale to Lee Marvin Point Blank.
I recently discovered via a Facebook friend that Iggy’s appreciation of Lee Marvin predates the Sons of Lee Marvin and, quite possibly, that of Jim Jarmusch.
The message and image from Facebook friend Peter Stipe:
The legendary Michigan Theater and young theater patron Jim Osterberg, soon to be legendary himself.
“I thought this photo might interest you. Ann Arbor’s Jim Osterberg and Lee Marvin before Iggy Pop and The Stooges….The Michigan Theater posted it. My daughter works there.”
Cool, huh? Can’t thank Peter Stipe and his daughter enough for this image but suffice to say I have indeed tried. Love seeing my research proven accurate by faithful readers. Makes me wonder if Iggy Pop/Jim Osterberg read my book. Anything’s possible. Until then, enjoy and Semper Fi!
– Dwayne Epstein
Picture this: I’m in the earliest stages of researching Lee Marvin Point Blank, standing in the middle of the public library, when I read the Film Comment article written by director Jim Jarmusch that reveals the first mention I’ve ever heard concerning the Sons of Lee Marvin. I was still slightly on the fence at the time about whether I should undertake the project at all, that is unti I read Jarmusch’s article.
Being a lifelong film buff I had read much about the legacy of film stars following their passing. The cult surrounding stars such as Marilyn Monroe, Humphrey Bogart, James Dean and others are well know to myself and the general public. Such reverence is often shown via film revivals, books and other venues. However, in all the years I have encountered such things I have never encountered anything as what Jarmusch talks about in his unveiling of the Sons Of Lee Marvin. It literally made me laugh out loud when he retold the anecdote concerning fellow member Tom Waits and the real son of Lee Marvin. I was shushed by the librarian and warned if I repeat the guffaw I’d be asked to leave. I acquiesced to the glares and stares of the other patrons but figured in my head, what the hell, it was worth it. My appreciation of Marvin expanded and my curiosity deepened. Quite simply, the more I found out about him, the more I liked him.
This article, by the way, was part of series in Film Comment in which film makers were asked to list their “Guilty Pleasures,” films they know are bad but they like anyway and with a given reason. Jarmusch dedicates one 10th of his entire list to his favorite Marvin films! So, without further ado, below is the original article that helped pushed me over the edge into dedicating myself to researching and writing Lee Marvin Point Blank.
Oh, and by the way, the story about Waits and Christopher Marvin is pure b.s. but sounds great, doesn’t it? If you want to know the truth, from Christopher Marvin himself. you gotta read Lee Marvin Point Blank. – Dwayne Epstein
The original article by Jim Jarmusch in Film Comment.