LEE MARVIN AND ANNE BANCROFT: A FORGOTTEN OSCAR MOMENT

Lee Marvin and Anne Bancroft may not be on anyone’s list of great Oscar moments but with the Academy Awards on tonight, I thought it a good time to point out that maybe, just maybe, it WAS a great moment.
The two actors had worked together several times during the studio contract days (The Raid, Gorilla at Large, A Life in the Balance) but had very few if any scenes together. That aside, according to Lee’s first wife, Betty Marvin in her autobiography, Tales of a Hollywood Housewife, the two actors actually had a rather torrid affair at one point. It’s not a well-known fact, nor is it something I chose to mention in my book, Lee Marvin Point Blank. The main reason was my inability to interview Ms. Bancroft about the films she made with Marvin, although I did come close to interviewing her husband, Mel Brooks for Filmfax. However, that, as they say, is another story.
Luckily, I did get Betty Marvin to tell me an even more amazing story about the night Lee did win his Oscar that can only be found exclusively in the pages of Lee Marvin Point Blank and must be read to be believed.

This screen grab from the video begs the question, what exactly is Lee Marvin whispering in Anne Bancroft’s ear? The world may never know.

Back to the Oscars on that particular night many years ago. It is a tradition that the previous year’s winner for Best Actor present the Award for Best Actress the following year and vice-versa. Having won for Cat Ballou the year before, a very dapper Lee Marvin was called upon to present the Oscar for Best Actress, or as he said, “These girls.” When he announced the winner as Elizabeth Taylor for Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, I doubt that he knew she had sent Anne Bancroft to accept in her place.

The way Anne Bancroft looks at Lee Marvin as she approaches the podium says volumes.

Perhaps he did know but either way, there appears to be a certain level of familiarity, almost intimacy between the two stars, or maybe I’m just reading too much into it.

The dapper couple leaving the stage to appreciative applause.

Okay, maybe it would be best to simply view the video moment so you can judge for yourself. Thoughts would be appreciated. Either way, enjoy the Oscars and all the best,
Dwayne Epstein

Share

HAIL SID CAESAR!

Sid Caesar:
Even though this blog is reserved for all things Lee Marvin or Lee Marvin Point Blank related, the news of Sid Caesar’s passing compels me to break my own rule. I was privileged to interview Caesar for Filmfax magazine back in 2001 to promote the video release of his classic variety show(s). It remains one of the highlights of my career.

It was fascinating from the start as I waited in his living room for him to finish up his interview with an NPR reporter. While waiting, I couldn’t help but hear an eruption of obscenities bursting forth from the next room. The NPR reporter was leaving, escorted out by the video producer. The exchange as they walked was of the reporter asking what was wrong with Caesar and the producer apologetically stating Caesar just felt bad for breaking his leg, recently. Now it should be said, Caesar’s temper in show business is the stuff of legend so when the prodocer smiled at me and said I was next, I had just to ask, “What the hell was that really all about?” The producer smiled sheepishly and said, “Well, Sid doesn’t like it when media people are unprepared.” I  gulped loudly.

The result of the next several hours, can be read below. It’s lengthy, but I think worth it, and it’s the best way I can think of to pay my respects to one of the most talented and influential individuals I ever met. Enjoy.

SID1

 

SID2

SID3

 

SID4

SID5

SID6

SID7

SID8

 

SID9

Share