There are some extremely rare photos in Lee Marvin Point Blank that have never seen the light of day. This, however, is not one of the photos in the book, but it is a personal favorite for obvious reasons. I wished we could have been able to use for the book but alas, the right to do so was cost preventative. Fortunately, it is here for your persual. Following Jim Marshall’s photo is a great story about what took place seconds before the picture was snapped…

Jim Marshal's pic of Jack Palance (left) and Lee Marvin (right) backstage in dressing room with Johnny Cash (center) in 1969.

Jack Palance (left) and Lee Marvin (right) backstage in dressing room with Johnny Cash (center) in 1969.


In this rare photo taken by famed photographer Jim Marshall, Monte Walsh co-stars Jack Palance (left) and Lee Marvin (right) visit Johnny Cash (center) backstage. According to Marvin’s son Christopher, just as the photographer snapped the picture, Marvin said to Palance, “Geez, Jack! Unfold your hands. You look like a f**king faggot!” Hence the look on everyone’s face. Also, partially visible as reflected in the mirror, is Cash’s wife, June Carter.
Also worth noting is Lee Marvin’s neckwear and belt, as they’ve been reversed. That might be a clue as to the the condition he was probably in.


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What exactly is the momentous Marvin memento? Well, a little back story is required. When Lee Marvin came home after the war, he settled with his family in the upstate New York area of Woodstock. The closest friend he made those years after the war was David Ballantine. The two men shared many interests including fishing, hunting and gun collecting. Before Marvin knew what he was going to with his life, and even the years after he decided to become an actor, the entire Ballantine family had a great influence over his life. In fact, it was David’s father, E.J. “Teddy” Ballantine who opened Marvin’s eyes to a life as an actor. David’s brother, Ian, and sister-in-law, Betty, started the very succesful publishing company Ballantine Books. Betty was a trusted confidante to the former combat Marine, so much so that he was her insight that led me to discover Marvin’s PTSD which became a most important theme in Lee Marvin: Point Blank.
In the years following Marvin’s phenomonally successful acting career, his friends and family from Woodstock were never too far from his memory. He would visit whenever he could and when something reminded him of his friends back east, he was sure to let them know it. Case in point, this letter from 1969, written and mailed on Monte Walsh stationary….
ballantine envelope

The contents of the letter were 2-fold. First, a quickly typed letter to David in which Marvin recounts the following anecdote on the beach at Malibu….

Dear David,

You are going to think I’m full of shit but here it is. Yesterday I was walking down the beach amongst the driftwood and trash line and feeling a little possesive, my beach, when I spot this green Scotch bottle, a pint, and know the label used to read Ballantine’s. The cork is still in it and I think, the bastards, why don’t they leave the cork out and then it would eventually sink and not litter up ‘MY BEACH.’ Proceeding to do the same, I pick it up and lo….there is something in it. Ah Ha. Some children have secreted a secret map or call for help in it. Okay, I’ll play the game. I can not pull it out of the slim neck so I bring it back to the house and get a hammer and go out to the trashcan to break it. I DO NOT WANT BROKEN GLASS ON ‘MY BEACH.’ So doing, lo and behold. The rest is self-explanatory. I thought you might get a kick out of it, I did. Love to you all, & Pam,


ballantine letter




What was the 2nd part of the letter that Lee felt was self-explanatory and worthy of writing in the first place? It was of course, the following content of the bottle…..
ballantine content


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International Appeal of Lee Marvin

As shown in the pages of Lee Marvin Point Blank, it didn’t matter if it was Europe, South America or Asia, Lee Marvin’s appeal knew no bounds and the international media took full advantage of it. As a matter of fact, after Lee and Betty Marvin divorced, she had had her full of seeing ex-husband’s image everywhere and decided to move to Europe. Stepping off the plane in Europe she was greeted by massive ads and banners advertising a new musuem photo exhibit highlighting a certain popular American movie star. Wanna guess who it was?

Whenever a new film of Marvin’s was set to open, pop culture magazines of the day ran such articles as the following pages below from Japan….


Lee Marvin in Japan




Lee Marvin in Japan 2


Lee Marvin in Japan 3

Despite the fact that French actress Jeanne Moreau was his co-star, Marvin’s appeal was so great overseas that when Monte Walsh went into general release, the first page of an Italian magazine’s 3-page article about the film was this simple image…


Lee Marvin in Italy


At the time of his death, in 1987, A French magazine ran the following article. By the way, anybody speak French?


Lee Marvin in France 1



Lee Marvin in France 2


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