The UK Telegraph, the major newspaper of the United Kingdom, recently published a fairly lengthy article by Martin Chilton focusing mainly on the actor’s singing of “Wandering’ Star” in Paint Your Wagon (1969). The article can be found here and it’s fairly entertaining.
To his credit, writer Martin Chilton uncovered some interesting factoids I was not aware of, such as the quotes from Nelson Riddle’s son, Christopher Riddle, and a few other tidbits.
Famed photographer Bob Willoughby captured Lee Marvin with his infrared lens on location for Paint Your Wagon.
To his discredit, he also got some things obviously wrong. Normally I wouldn’t mind but since the author chose to mention me and my book, Lee Marvin: Point Blank, I think it best to set the record straight, as is my way:
Lee Marvin & Clint Eastwood early in the film also captured by Bob Willoughby.
– Marvin was never, repeat, never in the army. That is the last thing you would ever want to mix-up in the presence of a Marine. Nor are the Marines affiliated with the Navy, as one person commented. The USMC is and always has been an autonomous branch of the U.S. military.
– He also did not have his sciatic nerve severed on Saipan but NEARLY had it severed. The 13 months of convalescence was bad enough but had it been severed, he’d never be able to walk again.
– His entry into theatre wasn’t quite a lark but a calculated stumble into a series of events.
– Betty Marvin, Lee’s first wife, was not trained as an opera singer but trained in musical comedy at UCLA by MGM musical director Roger Edens. The requirements are quite different.
– The photo of Marvin and his costar from The Dirty Dozen misspells Charles Bronson as BROSNAN. Wonder how Pierce feels about that?
I’m rather surprised that the UK Telegraph didn’t bring up the urban legend about Marvin and Captain Kangaroo and revive that old chestnut like a Walking Dead zombie.
Bottom line, as always, if you want the straight, hard, and fascinating facts behind Lee Marvin’s life, career and legacy, read Lee Marvin Point Blank. Then we’ll talk.
– Dwayne Epstein
Happy 96th birthday to Lee Marvin! Yes, it’s that time of year again as on this day in 1924 in New York City’s Booth Memorial Hospital Lee Marvin came into the world.
Regular readers of this blog know that I’ve written about his birthday in the past, such as back in 2016, 2017, etc. So with that in mind, I was rather hard pressed to find a new angle to write about it.
Readers of Lee Marvin Point Blank know the circumstances surrounding his birth, early years, and more via my exclusive research. So, what’s left?
Photo montage of great Lee Marvin images courtesy of Facebook friend, Aldora Terrell.
Well, apparently, the web has caught on to the idea of celebrating the life and work of Lee Marvin, and for that I am of course grateful. There have a been a couple of pretty good blog entries about him today. Take for instance this wonderful tribute by blogger Sheila O’Malley. Well done, Sheila.
But then there are others which are meant well but feel more like a caraway seed in my wisdom tooth. A website called Groovy History recently posted about Marvin and not only misspelled my name as a reference source, they misinform the reader about the life and work of Lee Marvin and to my my mind, THAT is unforgivable. Seriously. A film extra right after the war? No mention of his years of stage work on and off Broadway? His training with the American Theater Wing? A pacifist? Come on! As my Facebook friend Erc Farkas wrote me, “Did he even read your book?” Sigh.
Ah well, be that as it may all one can do is simply say Happy 96th birthday, Lee. Glad they still remember you. But hey, if you want to get the facts straight, read the Award-Winning NY Times Bestseller, Lee Marvin Point Blank. Better yet, watch a Lee Marvin movie. Talk about your win/win scenarios! In both instances, you won’t be disappointed.
– Dwayne Epstein
This Valentine’s Day weekend, may I suggest trying a gift a little different from the traditional? Let’s face it, candy gets eaten real quick and flowers don’t last much longer. Give your loved one the gift of a book as it’s the gift that keeps on giving year after year.
Lee Marvin says it best.
To be more specific, I suggest Lee Marvin Point Blank. It may be the perfect gift for the holiday. But don’t take my word for it alone. Take it from no less an authority than Vanity Fair, as who should know better? Back in 2013, the magazine’s online staff writer James Wolcott probably said it best, or at least better than I ever could and I certainly thank him for it. Oh, and no, I don’t owe him any money.
“FEBRUARY 14, 2013 3:15 PM
“Wash his face. He’s fine.”
BY JAMES WOLCOTT
It being Valentine’s Day, I can think of no more romantic way to waste the day (before I get to work) than by dipping in and out of a tender, caring, just-published biography of America’s former sweetheart, Lee Marvin. In Lee Marvin: Point Blank, written by Dwayne Epstein, the action star who terrorized the West with a bullwhip in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, taught a squad of murderers and borderline psychos how to love again in The Dirty Dozen, and let Angie Dickinson use him as a punching bag for her furious little fists in the movie that gives this bio its subtitle weaves through the pages like the big rangy scary cat he was.”
So, there you have it. The perfect summation as to why Lee Marvin Point Blank is the perfect gift. You’ll also find out how Marvin himself celebrated the day with his loved ones and it may surprise you.
So go ahead. Give the gift that keeps on giving….or else!