ARMISTICE DAY, VETERANS DAY & THE MARVINS

Armistice Day began Nov. 11th, 1918 when WWI officially suspended combat on the 11th day of the 11th month on the 11th hour. In time, the name of Armistice Day became Veterans Day in 1954, honoring all those who served in the military on Nov. 12th.
For the Marvin family, there was not a single military conflict in which the family ranks were not involved and seriously depleted, going all the back to the American Revolution. As Lee Marvin liked to say, “It’s my country. We fought for it, we Marvins.” However, since Armistice Day, began with the end of WWI, the involvement began a little closer in Lee’s lineage, which meant his father, Lamont Waltham “Monte” Marvin.

Monte Marvin in his WWI uniform.

Monte was a 1st, Lt. during the war and in charge of a unit in the 302nd Engineers stationed in France. He later served in WWII as a battalion Sgt, again in France, having resigned his commission. As he wryly told a reporter years later, “I was too young for the first war and to old for the second, so I ended up in both.”

An older Monter Marvin in uniform during WWII.

The Marvin men all served in WWII, with Lee’s brother Robert serving in the ground crew of the Army Air Corp. and Lee seeing the most combat as a Marine in the USMC’s island hopping campaign in the Pacific.
All told, the Marvins did their part to earn respect and recognition for their duty in the service. This being Veterans’ Day — and a very special one, as it’s the 100th anniversary of the Armistice signing of WWI — take a moment some time today and remember those who served. Their contribution deserves our thanks.
How to show that remembrance? One way is to read Lee Marvin Point Blank and discover in the actor’s own words via never-before-seen letters exactly what he experienced firsthand and how he really felt about the war at the time he went through it. You won’t be disappointed. Happy Veterans Day.
-Dwayne Epstein

Monte Marvin (left) and son Lee photographed for LIFE Magazine in the 1960s.

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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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LEE MARVIN BIOPIC CAST PART II: BIOPIC FAMILY

Because Lee Marvin Point Blank proved to be as successful as I hoped it would be, a film adaptation seems plausible, so, to continue that line of thinking from the previous blog entry, how about considering the biopic family casting? Lee Marvin’s parents, brother, costars and friends were an integral part of his life story and casting them would round out the biopic family nicely.

(L-R) Lee’s father Monte, mother Courtenay and Lee shortly after he finished USMC basic trying.

 

First up, his father Monte. Described in letters and first-hand accounts as being physically imposing (Lincoln-esque by one account), one friend of Lee’s who knew him said, “If someone went in a bar to give everyone shit, they’d walk a wide circle around Monte. Monte was pretty tough”

Actor J.K. Simmons

Several actors come to mind for the role, such as Tommy Lee Jones, this year’s Oscar winner Gary Oldman, Harrison Ford, Liam Neeson, even Bruce Willis. The two most impressive to my mind would be either Oscar winner J.K. Simmons, or Lee’s Emperor of the North costar, Keith Carradine.

For the role of Lee’s mother, Courtenay Washington Davidge, certain specific characteristics are also most prominent. According to Lee’s first wife, Betty, Lee’s mother had a soft little voice with a Virginia accent that she used to subtley manipulate her husband and two sons. A veritable steel magnolia by way of Tennessee Williams, by some accounts. Reese Witherspoon, Kate Winslet and even Meryl Streep come to mind. Then again, Meryl Streep comes to mind for every role. Based on what I’ve heard and read about Mr.s Marvin, my personal choice would be Renee Zellweger.

Actress Renee Zellweger.

Rounding out the Marvin family cast is Lee’s older brother, Robert. I had the good fortune to get to know Robert towards the end this life and at that point in his life, I would describe  him as rather curmudgeonly, irascible and eventually, quite affable. What I learned about him was that as a younger man he was understandably quite jealous of his brother’s success. Only 18 months apart in age, the Marvin brothers were both close and distant with each other throughout their life times.

Robert visiting his brother in Tucson in the early 70s.

For that reason, I see the character of Robert Marvin as being portrayed by an actor who can elicit both laughs and sympathy, such as Will Ferrell, Jon Heder (Napoleon Dynamite), John C. Reilly and the like. My own personal choice would by Bill Hader, the SNL alumni who was a gifted mimic on the show, but more importantly the possessor of both funny bones and an as yet untapped dramatic talent.

SNL alumni and underrated actor, Bill Hader.

 

Another major supporting role might be several real-life individuals rolled into one. The reason has to do with an aspect of Lee Marvin’s persona I discovered in my research. Early on, Marvin learned that if he’s going to get in trouble for some of his nefarious escapades, it’s always better to do it with a partner to take part of the heat for whatever transpires. Whether riding his motorcycle through the Beverly Hills BMW showroom with Keenan Wynn, wreaking havoc upon the ‘Vegas Vic’ sign while filming The Professionals with Woody Strode, causing a barroom brawl over a game of darts in London with Bob Phillips while filming The Dirty Dozen, or creating the bizarre prank of ‘the vibrator salute’ with Tony Epper while filming Paint Your Wagon, the legendary exploits he indulged in always required a partner.

Woody Strode and Lee on the set of THE PROFESSIONALS.

 

Any number of contemporary actors could do it but if it were up to me, I’d like to see it be along the lines of someone more like Woody Strode. As he told me himself, “We were like brothers.” So, with than in mind, Dwayne Johnson would be a nice choice or, barring the monetary chances of that, some well-built, talented young up-and-coming actor would do nicely.

A Woody Strode Google search resulted in this young actor, France’s Eebra Toore popping up. Anybody know if he speaks English…without an accent?

And so, with lead role possibilities considered, possible directors in mind, and now supporting cast members short-listed, all that’s left is a wise producer willing to take a chance on a story that resonates like a cross between Mad Men and The Hurt Locker. Hey, just because Lee Marvin was famous doesn’t make a movie. A fascinating story is mandatory no matter who it’s about and Lee’s life, work, and influence more than covers all those bases. After all, what Hollywood faked, he did for real.  Any takers?
-Dwayne Epstein

 

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