LEE MARVIN HIGH SCHOOL? NOT LIKELY THESE DAYS!

The idea of a Lee Marvin High School, or any other institution, may seem as likely as the Joan Crawford Day Care Center or perhaps the Stanley Kowalski School of Etiquette. The reason being is that in today’s cultural, social and political climate, political correctness has run amok, unfortunately.
An example of such ridiculous behavior was in the news recently. Virginia’s Bowling Green University had the name of Lillian Gish and her sister Dorothy removed from the school’s campus theater. A petition was passed around by the students to have the action taken and despite an outcry from the mainstream creative community –the likes of James Earl Jones, Martin Scorsese and more — the action was taken. Ms. Gish’s offense? She starred in D.W. Griffith’s 1915 racist cinematic opus, Birth of a Nation. Never mind the copius amount of money she and her sister had donated to the school over the years or her amazing contribution to film and theater in general. The dictates of political correctness reigned supreme here. The entire sad series of events can be read here.
Ironically, when Spike Lee accepted the school’s Gish Prize in 2013, he said, “Would you believe, two of the most important films that impacted me while I was studying at NYU starred Miss Lillian Gish. Those films were D. W. Griffith’s The Birth of a Nation and Charles Laughton’s The Night of the Hunter. Isn’t it funny (sometimes) how life works? And how ironic life can be? God can be a trickster. Peace and love to the Gish Sisters. . . .”
It is with that in mind I conclude that in the current climate of political correctness, the possibility of a school or institution named for Lee Marvin seems remote at best. It did almost happen, though, while he was still alive….

An image from Donald Zec’s bio on Lee Marvin in which the actor admires St. Leo’s recently named dormitory in his honor.

The honor bestowed upon the school’s famous alumni was sadly short-lived, however. The reason most people think his named was removed was of course, incorrect, as well as the fact that he was NOT kicked out of school before graduating. That controversy was explained by the school’s archivist in a previous blog entry.

Teenaged Lee Marvin in full uniform when he briefly attended the political incorrectly named David Farragut Naval Academy in Toms River, NJ.

No, Marvin might have to wait a long time before seeing his named carved on the hallowed halls of some great institution. His own persona and famous ways aside (chronicled in depth in Lee Marvin Point Blank), there would be another reason why. In these insane times of political correctness, it could easily be discovered: He and his brother were proudly named after a distant relative on his Virginia born mother’s side: losing Confederate general, Robert E. Lee.
– 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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