Alex Ben Block, Veteran correspondent for The Hollywood Reporter and author of the first — and in my opinon, still the best — biography on the legendary Bruce Lee, recently agreed to write a review on Amazon for my book, Lee Marvin Point Blank. For reasons neither one of us can understand, Amazon will not post the review. Being the good-hearted mensch that he is, when I asked him if he would allow me to post it on my blog, he fully agreed. What a guy, huh?
The cover of my own copy of Alex Ben Block’s THE LEGEND OF BRUCE LEE, published a year after Lee’s 1973 demise.
Anyway, what he wrote is below, and I’ve posted it not for ego-boosting purposes (although I will admit, it is quite a rocket launcher in that regard!) but to enforce the point of how incredibly fortunate I am to have someone of his stature take note of my work. Hopefully, maybe it’ll encourage others to read it…or better yet, rediscover Lee Marvin and his films!
And so, I give you, Mr. Block’s assement of my work. Enjoy…….
“This is the definitive book on Lee Marvin, who had one of the great screen careers in the era bridging the final days of the Golden Age of the studios and the modern age of blockbuster movies. Dwayne Epstein deserves praise for his in depth research, often insightful writing and for bringing back some wonderful memories for this Cat Ballou fan. I enjoyed reading it and came away with a greatly changed view of Marvin, and much more respect for his career, and the way he lived his life – exactly as he wanted no matter who liked it or how the world saw him. Marvin leaves a rich cinematic legacy, a lot of interesting TV work, an impressive military record, years of hard core alcoholism and the cloud of an absurd “palimony” suit, in a colorful and full life. This book delivers it all in detail, with context, rich characters and a feeling of truth – all done in a flowing and interesting narrative that kept me reading until the very end.”
A photo of Alex Ben Block (right) with iconic 70s actor and personal favorite, Elliot Gould, at a recent Hollywood function.
I don’t mind saying, I have been extremely fortunate to have several notable individuals praise my work, among them NY Times Bestselling biographer Stefan Kanfer, Screenwriter Jeb Rosebrook, author & TV writer Phoef Sutton, biopic writer Larry Karaszewski, and more!
They all boggle my mind in terms of their praise but several stick out for other reasons. One of the those notables is Tracy Keenan Wynn. Son of the legendary actor Keenan Wynn and grandson of comedian/actor Ed Wynn, Tracy and his brother Ned were forthcoming with me in interviews in which they spoke of their father’s friendship with Lee Marvin. Of course, there is no guarantee that after the book comes out either one of them will like the results.
Three generations of a show business dynasty: (L-R) A young Tracy Wynn with his father, actor & Lee Marvin cohort, Keenan Wynn, and his grandfather vaudeville legend, Ed Wynn.
Tracy is the highly noted screenwriter of everything from The Longest Yard (the original!) to The Autobiography of Mis Jane Pittman. When I asked if he’d be willing to write a review of my book, his response blew me away…
“Author Dwayne Epstein’s newest book, LEE MARVIN: POINT BLANK, is a detailed and accurate account of the good and not so good chapters of Lee Marvin’s personal and professional lives, off and on the screen. This is an in-depth study of one of Hollywood’s near mythical character actor/ leading man hybrid personas….the book is at once an in depth study and as well as a highly readable and entertaining overview of one of Hollywood’s most endearing and enduring action stars.”
Another wonderful surprise was from actor Ron Thompson. His performance(s) in Ralph Bakshi’s animated film American Pop remains one of my all-time favorites as he beleivable essayed the character of Tony and his illigetimate son, Pete. Because the film was rotoscoped, no one realized it was even him on screen!
A recent photo of good friend Ron Thompson (inset) and one of his two animated alter egos, Pete, from Ralph Bakshi’s AMERICAN POP.
I made friends with Ron on Facebook a while ago and was extremely glad to see our correspondence blossom into friendship. Actually met him in-person once, too. When I asked if he’d write a blurb for my book, I had no idea he’d write what he did below. I’m telling you, folks, life is constantly full of happy surprises!
“As a young teen, I went to see Brando in The Wild One. I left talking about Lee Marvin.
I truly enjoyed Lee Marvin: Point Blank. It enlightened me on who the man was. Some of you may know I’m an actor. I could relate to a lot of the stories. Especially when he was a NY actor and ‘making the rounds’ and doing live TV. I was unaware that he had been a New York actor.
There are wonderful stories of his adventures in movie making. Dwayne Epstein paints a 3 dimensional picture of the man: A good, kind, thoughtful and extremely troubled man. I highly recommend Point Blank. Well done, Dwayne Epstein.”