FINDING THE RIGHT AUTHOR PHOTO FOR DWAYNE EPSTEIN

You would think using a photo of myself, Dwayne Epstein, for the cover of Lee Marvin Point Blank would be a rather simple matter. Not so when the situation was complicated by several factors. Topping the list was not liking how I look in photographs. In fact, there are damn few photos of myself that I like. There are a handful of exceptions, of course, but they are few and far between. One exception was a photo of me taken in New Jersey back in the late 80s.

Author Dwayne Epstein in New Jersey, circa 1989.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I wanted to use that photo but publisher Tim Schaffner balked at the idea, stating that it was too old and I no longer looked like that. He was right of course. So, I thought about this possibility, taken a few a years later when I moved back to California. Problem was that I no longer had the beard and…I no longer looked liked. Cool posters, though, huh? Unlike the beard, I still have them.

 

 

 

Long Beach, Calif, circa 1991

 

 

 

 
Then there was the idea of this photo, in which I posed with Robert Marvin in front of the Marvin family home in 1994. Problem was….that’s right, you guessed it. I no longer looked like that. Sensing a trend, here?

 

 

Robert Marvin and author Dwayne Epstein in front of the Marvin home in Woodstock, NY, in the mid-90s.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Personally, I didn’t understand why this was becoming so difficult. It had not dawned on me at the time that my publisher was trying to politely spare my feelings. It reminded me a lot of that scene in The Professionals with Ralph Bellamy and Lee Marvin. You know the one. Early in the film, Bellamy’s character of J.W. Grant points to a newspaper clipping on the wall that includes an image of Marvin during the Mexican Revolution. He tells Marvin’s character, Henry ‘Rico’ Fardan, “Your hair was darker, then.” Silver-haired Marvin responds, “My heart was lighter, then.”

 

 

 

Ralph Bellamy and Lee Marvin in ‘that’ scene from THE PROFESSIONALS.

It had gotten so bad between the publisher and myself that he hired a professional photographer to take a more recent picture. The ones the publisher liked I detested and vice versa. I suggested that my girlfriend Barbara take the shot. End result? His choice was used for the hardcover and my choice, by Barbara, was used for the paperback. Want to know what they look like? Ha! Buy the book(s).

 

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LEE MARVIN AT THE 1960 DEMOCRATIC CONVENTION

The 1960 Democratic Convention…..with Lee Marvin?
In researching Lee Marvin: Point Blank, I encountered many surprises, not the least of which was the actor’s personal politics. The popular theory was that in being such a macho tough guy on screen, he must have been a conservative Republican, like his frequent co-star John Wayne. Not so, in Marvin’s case, according to friends and family.

Fans may think of him as a classic badass who thought like Wayne, but the truth is he was, by all accounts, a lifelong liberal Democrat who despised Republican stalwarts, such as costar Ronald Reagan (See Lee Marvin Point Blank, pp. 109-110).

July 15, 1960: Sen. John F. Kennedy during his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention. About 50,000 attended the final session held at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Earlier sessions were held in the Sports Arena. This photo was published in the July 16, 1960 LA Times.

July 15, 1960: Sen. John F. Kennedy during his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention. About 50,000 attended the final session held at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Earlier sessions were held in the Sports Arena. This photo was published in the July 16, 1960 LA Times.

Marvin rarely made his politics publicly known but he felt so strongly for candidate John F. Kennedy, he agreed to appear on stage at the 1960 Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles in support along with several other like-minded celebrities of the day (Ralph Bellamy, Lloyd Bridges, Nat ‘King’ Cole, Tony Curtis, Sammy Davis, Jr., Rosemary DeCamp, Anthony Franciosa, George Jessel, Phyllis Kirk, Hope Lange, Peter Lawford, Janet Leigh, Shirley MacLaine, Mercedes MacCambridge, Sheree North, Arthur O’Connell, Alma Pedroza, Vincent Price, Edward G. Robinson, Frank Sinatra, Jan Sterling, Inger Stevens, Shelley Winters).

Kennedy’s assassination during the filming of The Killers devastated the cast & crew and made for a poignant and ironic event in Marvin’s relationship with his son (p.135). He would never again publicly endorse a political candidate.

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GREAT MAN’S PASSING: AUGUST 29TH, 1987 WE LOST LEE MARVIN

Great Man’s Passing
It was 26 years ago this weekend that we felt the loss of the great man’s passing: we lost Lee Marvin to the ravages of time.The loss to many of those closest to him, such as friends, family, and co-workers, is well chronicled in Lee Marvin Point Blank.
However, as is often the case, at the time of his passing, news of his death was overshadowed by the loss of another iconic fim personality: John Huston, who had passed away the day before, at the age of 81. Still in all, Marvin’s death was indeed recorded such as in the following obituaries, like this one from the L.A. Times:
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In the actor’s home town of Tucson, the following obit ran:
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The now long-defunct Herald-Examiner ran a piece in which they spoke with several of Marvin’s co-workers:
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However it was the N.Y. Times, in the city of his birth, which gave Marvin’s passing the most complete coverage:
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Ironically, one of Marvin’s most frequent co-stars, Charles Bronson, did not comment on his death but would himself pass away from Alzeheimer’s Disease exactly 15 years later to the day in 2003!

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