LEE MARVIN HIGH SCHOOL? NOT LIKELY THESE DAYS!

The idea of a Lee Marvin High School, or any other institution, may seem as likely as the Joan Crawford Day Care Center or perhaps the Stanley Kowalski School of Etiquette. The reason being is that in today’s cultural, social and political climate, political correctness has run amok, unfortunately.
An example of such ridiculous behavior was in the news recently. Virginia’s Bowling Green University had the name of Lillian Gish and her sister Dorothy removed from the school’s campus theater. A petition was passed around by the students to have the action taken and despite an outcry from the mainstream creative community –the likes of James Earl Jones, Martin Scorsese and more — the action was taken. Ms. Gish’s offense? She starred in D.W. Griffith’s 1915 racist cinematic opus, Birth of a Nation. Never mind the copius amount of money she and her sister had donated to the school over the years or her amazing contribution to film and theater in general. The dictates of political correctness reigned supreme here. The entire sad series of events can be read here.
Ironically, when Spike Lee accepted the school’s Gish Prize in 2013, he said, “Would you believe, two of the most important films that impacted me while I was studying at NYU starred Miss Lillian Gish. Those films were D. W. Griffith’s The Birth of a Nation and Charles Laughton’s The Night of the Hunter. Isn’t it funny (sometimes) how life works? And how ironic life can be? God can be a trickster. Peace and love to the Gish Sisters. . . .”
It is with that in mind I conclude that in the current climate of political correctness, the possibility of a school or institution named for Lee Marvin seems remote at best. It did almost happen, though, while he was still alive….

An image from Donald Zec’s bio on Lee Marvin in which the actor admires St. Leo’s recently named dormitory in his honor.

The honor bestowed upon the school’s famous alumni was sadly short-lived, however. The reason most people think his named was removed was of course, incorrect, as well as the fact that he was NOT kicked out of school before graduating. That controversy was explained by the school’s archivist in a previous blog entry.

Teenaged Lee Marvin in full uniform when he briefly attended the political incorrectly named David Farragut Naval Academy in Toms River, NJ.

No, Marvin might have to wait a long time before seeing his named carved on the hallowed halls of some great institution. His own persona and famous ways aside (chronicled in depth in Lee Marvin Point Blank), there would be another reason why. In these insane times of political correctness, it could easily be discovered: He and his brother were proudly named after a distant relative on his Virginia born mother’s side: losing Confederate general, Robert E. Lee.
– Dwayne Epstein

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DADS & GRADS? LEE MARVIN POINT BLANK!

Dads & grads have always had a special designation for Father’s Day. Why that is, I have no idea. Always reminds me of corny ads from my childhood to this day….

Not too imaginative, I grant you, but you get the point. At least such ads aren’t nearly as gaudy and off-putting as the ones for Memorial Day and President’s Day sales. What does any of this have to do with Lee Marvin? Well if it helps, Lee Marvin had a dad and also was a dad.

(L-R) Lee Marvin’s father, Monte, Lee, and Lee’s son, Christopher, holding the family dog, Liberty.

It may or may not be as well known but Lee was not a grad. He left school a year before graduation to join the USMC during the war and never did get his diploma. After the war he attended night school briefly to try to get his high school diploma but never finished any of the necessary classes.
However, in 1969, he did receive an honorary degree of fine arts from the school that would have been his alma mater, St. Leo in Florida. It had become an accredited university and as such, extended an invitation of an honorary degree to the Oscar-winning actor.

Lee Marvin, 2nd from right, receiving his Honorary Degree from St. Leo, along with then Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird, 2nd from left.

So, when it comes to such things as dads & grads, Lee Marvin sort of qualifies. Now, the bigger question is what exactly is the point of this blog entry? Well, if you’re looking for the perfect Father’s Day gift or a nice little something for the graduate in life, look no further than Lee Marvin Point Blank. Most dads are familiar with Lee Marvin’s work and are fans while most graduates can become a fan by learning more about him. Makes sense now, doesn’t it? Available on Amazon at a half-priced soon to be extinct hardcover, reduced price Kindle and trade paperback with lots of extras. Feel free to check it out. You’ll be glad you did.
Oh, and happy Father’s Day!
– Dwayne Epstein

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LEE MARVIN ENCYCLOPEDIA ENTRY: WRONG AND RIGHT

Despite the publication Lee Marvin Point Blank back in 2013, every now and again I still come across some frustratingly incorrect information regarding Lee Marvin and his career. The most recent example is an old film encyclopedia entry that is both snarky and incorrect in its facts. It came out around the time of Marvin’s breakthrough success in both Cat Ballou and Ship of Fools.
Granted, in the grand scheme of things, to paraphrase Clint Eastwood in Heartbreak Ridge, it doesn’t matter a flea’s fart in a windstorm but it is aggravating to one such as I when having devoted nearly two decades to researching the man’s life and work! What grinds my gears is such snarky statements as his Oscar win being for “One of the most trivial roles in his career.” And that’s the introductory paragraph!  It then goes on to state that Lee played football while attending St. Leo (he didn’t) and that he didn’t do any drama at St. Leo (he did). It talks of his wanting to work on Wall Street, that Henry Hathaway saw him on TV and then wanted him for You’re In the Navy Now, that the role of Kid Shellen was ‘barely’ written….Ugh! It’s enough to drive a film historian  to sobriety!
Don’t just take my word for it. Read the entry below compared to the work I did in Lee Marvin Point Blank and see for yourself. I’m surprised they didn’t mention that Bob “Captain Kangaroo” Keeshan saved Lee’s life in WWII. Yeah, it’s that bad….

No, it's not Boris Karloff. It's Lee Marvin in a p.r. still from SHIP OF FOOLS (1965) used as an image for the film encyclopedia's entry on the actor.

No, it’s not Boris Karloff. It’s Lee Marvin in a p.r. still from SHIP OF FOOLS (1965) used as an image for the film encyclopedia’s entry on the actor.

The film encyclopedia entry on Marvin that got almost as much wrong as it did right.

The film encyclopedia entry on Marvin that got almost as much wrong as it did right.

 

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