Lee Marvin and Anne Bancroft may not be on anyone’s list of great Oscar moments but with the Academy Awards on tonight, I thought it a good time to point out that maybe, just maybe, it WAS a great moment.
The two actors had worked together several times during the studio contract days (The Raid, Gorilla at Large, A Life in the Balance) but had very few if any scenes together. That aside, according to Lee’s first wife, Betty Marvin in her autobiography, Tales of a Hollywood Housewife, the two actors actually had a rather torrid affair at one point. It’s not a well-known fact, nor is it something I chose not to mention in my book, Lee Marvin Point Blank. The main reason was my inability to interview Ms. Bancroft about the films she made with Marvin, although I did come close to interviewing her husband, Mel Brooks for Filmfax. However, that, as they say, is another story.
Luckily, I did get Betty Marvin to tell me an even more amazing story about the night Lee did win his Oscar that can only be found exclusively in the pages of Lee Marvin Point Blank and must be read to be believed.
Back to the Oscars on that particular night many years ago. It is a tradition that the previous year’s winner for Best Actor present the Award for Best Actress the following year and vice-versa. Having won for Cat Ballou the year before, a very dapper Lee Marvin was called upon to present the Oscar for Best Actress, or as he said, “These girls.” When he announced the winner as Elizabeth Taylor for Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, I doubt that he knew she had sent Anne Bancroft to accept in her place.
Perhaps he did know but either way, there appears to be a certain level of familiarity, almost intimacy between the two stars, or maybe I’m just reading too much into it.
Okay, maybe it would be best to simply view the video moment so you can judge for yourself. Thoughts would be appreciated. Either way, enjoy the Oscars and all the best,