SPRING CELEBRATION WITH A RARELY SEEN LEE MARVIN!

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!”

In Woodstock back in the mid-90s as Lee Marvin's brother Robert drives home a point to me during Sunday Brunc. I know it's Sunday as he's wearing a tie, as he said his mother always told him to do on Sundays.

In Woodstock back in the mid-90s, as Lee Marvin’s brother, Robert, drives home a point to me during Sunday brunch. I know it’s Sunday because he’s wearing a tie, as he said his mother always told him to do on Sundays.

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.

Top pictures from the left: Young Lee Marvin (left) holds his mother Courtenay's hand along with older brother Robert (right). On the right, both Marvin brothers are smiling for their fathers camera. Bottom pictures: Lee's parents, Courtenay and Monte Marvin, smile in front of their Spanish Gardens apt. in Queens N.Y. On the right, a much happier Lee 'Green Bean' Marvin smiles for the camera.

Top pictures from the left: Young Lee Marvin (left) holds his mother Courtenay’s hand along with older brother Robert (right). On the right, both Marvin brothers are smiling for their fathers camera.
Bottom pictures: Lee’s parents, Courtenay and Monte Marvin, smile in front of their Spanish Gardens apt. in Queens N.Y. On the right, a much happier Lee ‘Green Bean’ Marvin smiles for the camera.

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LEE MARVIN’S WOODSTOCK – PART II

Back in April, I hosted some images from my trips to Woodstock in the 90s as I researched Lee Marvin: Point Blank.  It proved to be the tip of the iceberg, with more images still to come. In the  original post, titled Lee Marvin’s Woodstock – Part I (ingenious, no?) I showed pix of Woodstock’s Village Green, Lee’s parents final resting place,  and the exterior of the Marvin home in Bearsville, situated right outside of Woodstock.
This time around, take a trip inside the house that would be the closest thing Lee Marvin ever had to a childhood home. After Lee’s brother, Robert, and sister-in-law, Joan, passed away the centuries old house was sold and the family items auctioned off. I’ve also been told recently that the house was ransacked, which is very unfortunate. When I visited it back in 94, it looked lived in and cozy.  Pictured below is the living room just inside the double doors off the porch seen in the background.

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Living room of the Marvin Home

It was the main area of activity when Lee and his brother were younger, and when Lee would came to visit after his stardom, as seen below on this Xmas Eve visit in the early 70s….

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Marvin living room when Lee came to visit Robert in the 70s.

The archway leading out of the living room lead to the front door, as seen below from the top of the stairs. Readers of Lee Marvin Point Blank may remember it as the sight of one Lee, Robert, and Monte’s many post war brawls (p. 56, hardcover; 53, papebpack)….

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Looking in from the front door, there’s a narrow hallway leading to a back window and a side bathroom…

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Up the staircase were of course the bedroom Lee and Robert shared shown at the far left and the center room used by Monte as an office and later Robert. Not shown further to the left is the master bedroom….

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A close-up of the office used by both Monte and Robert is filled with treasures. It was here that Robert and I spent hours recording our conversation that would make up a good part of Lee Marvin: Point Blank. The lamp on the desk, by the way, is made from a pump Robert ‘liberated’ from the Queen Mary on his trip back to the states after the war. Also visible is a framed picture from the Civil War of a Marvin. It isn’t an ancestor, but a still of Lee from Raintree County….
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Lastly, the bedroom and the bed Lee slept in after the war. I slept in it my first night with the Marvins, but only the first night. A summer storm kept me up all night and the creepy factor alone was pretty intense. Not able to sleep, I wandered the house and eventually discovered a hidden cache of Marvin rarities. When I showed it to Robert and Joan the next morning, I told them I didn’t think Lee wanted me sleeping in his bed. Joan responded, “Maybe he wanted you to be be awake to find what you found.” Maybe, indeed….
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