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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LEE MARVIN ARCHIVES FOR SALE: 20 YEARS’ RESEARCH ON 1 CD!

Lee Marvin Archives? Yes, Lee Marvin archives. I recently completed archiving ALL of my exclusive Lee Marvin research material that I used for Lee Marvin Point Blank by scanning and putting it on CD. The eight full volumes of binders were organized chronologically and consists of at least a 100 pages in each volume. It was pretty labor intensive as it took me over a month and was well over a 1,000 pages in total! I did manage to get everything on one CD, though. It is a true must-have for any Lee Marvin fan  as I can guarantee you’ll discover things not seen anywhere else. ANYONE INTERESTED IN A COPY CAN CONTACT ME HERE OR VIA FACEBOOK. FREE DOMESTIC SHIPPING!
The computer folders breakdown like this, with samples below…

1. Ancestry & Parents, 78 pages: Family details dating back to the 17th century,

Monte Marvin, Lee Marvin’s father, being interviewed in the paper on the death of his beloved uncle, Ross Marvin.

including verified info on Lee’s great uncle Ross Marvin’s actual cause of death and his father Monte Marvin’s childhood reaction!

2. Childhood & Life thru 1965, over 200 pages: This volume is the thickest as I was not planning on doing more than one volume. Consequently, I squeezed in everything I discovered from his early life, all the way up to and including his massive success by 1965.

Extremely rare first page of 3-page detailed account of Lee Marvin’s time at the experimental Manumit School in upstate New York.

It covers and documents his childhood, school years, war years, postwar years, early stage work, early film work, ascent to stardom and his full-fledged stardom by the mid-1960s.

3. Films & Life, 1966-1970, over 190 pages: Emphasis on Marvin’s films from this period includes

A profile of Marvin after winning the Oscar in the local Florida paper near where he went to school.

interviews and profiles in every major magazine at the time, from Playboy to Coronet, and every periodical in between, large or small, and many no longer in print or available online.

4. Life & Films,1971-1975, 104 pages: Extensive coverage of the films he made via

A sample of some of the exclusives in volume 4 is this cover story from the now log defunct “World” Magazine.

various articles, interviews and foreign periodicals, many of which no longer exist.
5. Palimony & More, 1976-1979, 136 pages: THE water cooler conversation of the late

One of the many articles involving the palimony suit included the effect of this Jimmy Breslin interview that nearly brought Marvin up on perjury charges.

70s was the infamous palimony suit Marvin was involved in. Here are all the daily rundowns of the court proceedings as well the actual legal impact the case had. By the way, it did NOT turn out the way most people think it did.
6. Late Life Interviews1980-1986, 125 pages: The old warhorse worked less in his

One of the many late life interviews Marvin gave includes this cover story for Parade magazine.

later years but did give many fascinating interviews in which he whimsically looked back on his life and work.
7. Obituary & Legacy1987-1999, 114 pages: Complete coverage of his passing in

One of the many articles in tribute to Marvin includes this rarity on his motorcycle days with Keenan Wynn.

August, 1987, as well as his legacy among friends and coworkers.

8. Growing Cult Status2000-2012, 119 pages: Since his passing in 1987, and his

The Loft Theater in Tucson showing its tribute to Lee Marvin.

growing cult status ever since,  Lee Marvin is remembered through a variety of sources, from a small repertory movie theater in Tucson to Film Comment and MTV!!!

Feel free to contact me here for my information if needed, or to arrange payment via PayPal. You won’t be disappointed!
_ Dwayne Epstein

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WHAT WOULD LEE MARVIN HAVE THOUGHT OF DONALD TRUMP?

The ongoing controversy surrounding the candidacy, election, and now presidency of Donald Trump has raised the question (in my mind at least), what would Lee Marvin had thought of him? Before I go any further with that thought, allow me to give an important disclaimer: I never met Lee Marvin personally, therefore I am no expert on his politics, nor am I any kind of political expert, per se. In the words of Will Rogers, all I know is what I read in the papers.
However, while researching and writing Lee Marvin Point Blank, I think I can come to some logically conclusions. Granted, there were not any candidates like Donald Trump when Lee Marvin was alive, but there is a way of confirming Marvin’s political viewpoint which is stated in detail in the book.

Ned Wynn, son of Lee Marvin’s best friend, Keenan Wynn said this:

Keenan Wynn (left) and lifelong best friend Lee Marvin shown in their dirt bike days. They shared many things, including their political viewpoints.

“I think politically correct thinking would have driven him nuts. Guys like him and my dad were the furthest thing from that kind of thing… but like most people in Hollywood he was a Democrat. Most people in Hollywood are more reflexive Democrats. My dad and Lee weren’t like that. They weren’t what you call ‘Limousine Liberals.’ They weren’t knee-jerk reactionaries. They were big on taking responsibility for your actions, even if they themselves always didn’t… because Democrats react more from emotion and actors have to deal with things on an emotional level. Realistically, they tempered their point of view. If they were alive today, you wouldn’t see them at an abortion rally or showing up at an awards show with a red ribbon on their lapels. Lee didn’t go in for the belief that humans were perfect. He knew they were flawed.”

Marvin’s overall political leaning was best described by his friend and neighbor George Rapaport: “As I say, there were times when he was absolutely one of the greatest guys. When he was really lucid and off the stuff, and feeling good, you couldn’t find a better guy to talk with. I mean really, we had some really nice conversations, about everything. …He was very much a liberal guy. …No, you would figure the macho guys were always like the rednecks things, and all. But that’s not true…That’s why I say on the inside he was as soft as a pillow. He really cared about people and he cared about issues. He always took a more liberal attitude. I don’t think he was left of Lenin, or anything like that. He wasn’t to the right, I know that. He was a little bit off to the left. He really cared about, I think, what was going on. He always did and he stood up for it.”

Ronald Reagan (with his back to the camera) is confronted by Lee Marvin and Clu Gulager in THE KILLERS.

Probably the most prominent conservative Republican Lee Marvin ever worked with was Ronald Reagan. Granted, Reagan was not nearly as extreme as Donald Trump. However, he was a former actor/personality who cashed in on that popularity for a political career that ended him up in the White House.

What was Marvin’s opinion of Reagan, whom he worked with several times? Career-long agent Meyer Mishkin: ” You know, funny thing with him and working actors, was that he got along with working actors, as far as I know. But once, in the early days, he was doing a show with Reagan, G.E. Theater, or something like that. I said to him, ‘What do you think of Ronald Reagan?’ He said, ‘He’s a jerk.’

All that said, the logical conclusion would be for any one to assume Lee Marvin would not be a supporter of Donald Trump. How do I know? Probably the single best shred of evidence is shown below. Knowing how Marvin felt about the military, as well as his strong dislike of any sign of phoniness, could there be any doubt what Marvin would have thought of Trump? I don’t think so.

The New York Daily News cover from the Summer of 2015 that best explains why Lee Marvin would NOT be a Trump supporter.

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