Donald Zec, the British journalist to lay claim to being the first Lee Marvin biographer, has died at the the ripe old age of 102, on September 6th according to published reports. Zec had a very lengthy and enviable career as a entertainment reporter for the U.K.’s Daily Mirror, the highlights of which include interviewing everyone from Marilyn Monroe to the Beatles and more. He had also published full-length biographies on the likes of Sophia Loren as well as Marvin and a collection of interviews of celebrities with the aptly titled author’s spin, Some Enchanted Egos. The Marvin bio, however, was indeed the first of its kind, which I snapped up when it came out in 1980.
I am not one who wishes to speak ill of the dead and do indeed appreciate and respect the fact that Zec was able to write the book. However, my personal opinion of his work had been stated previously in this blog and can be found here.
In other words, I thank Mr. Zec for authoring a book that helped me to decide to write on the similar subject, but with vastly different results. Perhaps the last word on the subject was best stated by Lee Marvin himself. As Marvin told Roger Ebert in a 1984 interview about the Donald Zec book:
“Years ago there was a book about me. One of those as-told-to books. I said a lot of astounding things in that book. That was back when I was still in the image-building stage. I wasn’t misquoted. I really did say all those things. But, whether they’re true? Well, they might be true and they might not be true. What do I know?”
So, all that said, rest in peace, Mr. Zec is all I can add.
If you want the real story of Lee Marvin’s amazing life, career and legacy, there’s always Lee Marvin Point Blank.
– Dwayne Epstein