He may not have been the best looking guy in the world, but Lee Marvin did grace many a magazine cover in his time, and even after! His un-matinee looks aside, there was something about him the camera did indeed like and below are several examples that not only chart the trajectory of his career, but his personal likes, his audience and his lasting appeal…..
When the New York Hearld-Tribune’s TV supplement ran a magazine cover story in 1958 on the amount of violence on television, they had on their front the likes of Darren McGavin in “Mike Hammer,” Ty Hardin in “Bronco,” Richard Boone in “Have Gun Will Travel” and Marvin in “M Squad.”
In fact, the success of “M Squad” was such, that even after it left the air and went into syndicated reruns, another newspaper TV supplement ran a magazine cover story on it and profiled its star in 1962….
In between films & TV appearances Marvin had time to indulge in one of his lifelong hobbies which naturally garnered the cover of an appropriate magazine….
He continued to be profiled between the covers of periodicals over the next few years as his popularity slowly gained momentum but only the NY Daily News Sunday edition chose to do a cover story on the actor. The year was 1966 and the print date was just hours before the Academy Awards in which Marvin surprised everybody…
By 1967 he was the number one male box office star in America making appearances in every major magazine in the country. When he made the magazine cover once again it was to promote his latest project already in theatres at the time.
Lee Marvin & charity are not words that are often thought of in the same sentence but they certainly came together when it came to the actor’s dedication to the USMC. Throughout his life, he would often give generously to Marine-related causes, but usually kept a low-profie about it. Of course, if media attention meant bringing more attention to the cause, then he would certainly do so. In 1968, at the height of his popularity, he was the on-air host and narrator of an ABC-TV special entitled, “Our Time in Hell” featuring recently discovered color footage of embattled WWII Marines in the Pacific. He waived his fee for the show and instead, had it turned over to an organization that helped civilian victims of the Vietnam War, as recounted in Lee Marvin Point Blank (p. 172). Below, are two more examples of Lee being recognized for his charity work with the USMC. All that his known of these events are what is written on the back of the pictures…..
Lee Marvin recives a USMC award for his charity work
Above simply states “Marine Award, 1966.” The gentleman to the right is unknown.
Lee Marvin presents (recieves?) a check for his USMC work.
The above photo is from The CItizen News archives and is also an unknown event but appears to be Lee happily presenting (or recieving?) a check from a USMC officer. Neither gentlemen other than Marvin are known. Anybody want to chime in with information? Please do!
Lee Marvin’s star finally ascended when he was in his 40s and the promotional material for his films, such as paperback movie tie-ins, prove it. Below are more examples….
As detailed in Lee Marvin Point Blank, Roy Chanslor’s novel The Ballad of Cat Ballou (above left) was kicking around Hollywood for some time before it was finally changed and turned into a comedy farce with Lee and Jane Fonda in 1965. Hollywood provided the appropriate imagery on the cover to sell books. Frank O’Roarke’s A Mule For Marquesa was also changed when it made it to the screen in 1966. Writer/Director Richard Brooks offered it to Burt Lancaster & Marvin. Marvin loved it but when Lancaster read it, he thought he’d be playing the Marvin role. Brooks said he’d be boring in that role so Lancaster would be playing the dynamite expert. “I read the book and there’s no dynamite expert in it,” Lancaster reportedly told Brooks. “There will be when I’m done with it,” Brooks responded.
Marvin closed out the decade with the poorly received Paint Your Wagon (1969) which time has been more kind to than when it first came out. The same can be said for Point Blank (1967) which has become so popular with the passing of time, it resulted in this post-release tie-in in the 80s from Britain, shown above right.