GAY ICONS

Gay icons exist in the movies and two of the most well-known worked with Lee Marvin. Since June is Gay Pride month (which not so coincidentally is also a theme on TCM for the month) I thought it a good time to comment on Marvin’s work with these two prominent gay icons. It’s important to keep in mind that at the time of these two actors’ greatest popularity their sexual orientation was NOT known, as it would have meant professional suicide. This fact of course allowed them to become major stars and sex symbols to their admiring fans.
First up, Rock Hudson, an often mediocre actor at best but a wonderful and legendary light comedian with a charming air when most befuddled. Marvin’s films with Hudson were not memorable in and of themselves but they certainly helped his career. Released in 1953, Gun Fury and Seminole both top-lined Hudson in rather bland performances. Something, in my opinion, that was often the case with him in dramas, with the sole exception being the riveting performance he gave in Seconds (1966). Gun Fury was released in 3-D and allowed Marvin to put on his resume’ that he worked with the great Raoul Walsh as well as a friendship with Leo Gordon. Other than that…

Seminole, on the other hand, actually had scenes in which Marvin and Hudson interacted — albeit, briefly — throughout the movie.

(L-R) Lee Marvin as Sgt. Magruder and Rock Hudson as Lt. Lance Caldwell in Budd Boetticher’s SEMINOLE.

It was simply another programmer for Hudson, but for Marvin it meant working with cult director Budd Boetticher for the first time, who would go on to cast Marvin in Seven Men From Now (1956), one of the actor’s best performances. What did Marvin think of working with Hudson in the overtly macho period films? I have no idea. I do know, however, that for a man of his generation, he had some surprisingly forward-thinking ideas on the subject of homosexuality that he expressed in Playboy Magazine.
As to other gay icon, that would be Montgomery Clift, the legendary Method actor who’s tragic life Marvin witnessed firsthand.

Lee Marvin (left) and RAINTREE COUNTY costar Montgomery Clift photographed by Bob WIlloughby.

Marvin had gone on record as not being a fan of Method actors as a rule yet ironically, he claimed two of the best actors he ever encountered were Marlon Brando (when he cared) and Clift. Raintree County (1957) was the film he made with Clift and was also the film in which Clift suffered a disfiguring car accident early into the production.

(L-R) Lee Marvin and Montgomert Clift as ‘Bummers’ during the Civil War scene in Raintree.

Marvin’s performance in the film is one of his best while Clift is naturally just painful to watch, no matter how hard he tried. That aside, Marvin had his own theory on the accident’s cause which will not be expressed here, as it is strictly hearsay. Luckily, the tragedy of Clift’s forced hidden sexuality and disfiguring car accident does not hamper his legacy as a superb actor, thanks to his many extraordinary film performances.
As to the Gay community in general, Marvin had several run-ins with members of the community on a personal level. One such encounter was hilariously retold to me by Marvin’s friend and costar Bob Phillips and concerns Marvin’s dedication to the USMC. Another concerned one of his children and both tales can be found in the pages of Lee Marvin Point Blank. So happy Pride, dear readers, and remember, Gay Icons may be everywhere but on film, they are often legendary.

– Dwayne Epstein

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LEE MARVIN RESEARCH MATERIAL FIRE SALE ON EBAY

Having finished Lee Marvin Point Blank more than three years ago, I have found myself with a plethora of collectible research material and memorabilia I have no room to maintain while trying to concentrate on my next project. So, the most logical thing to do with said material is to sell them to the most interested parties. Ebay has proved to be an excellent venue and I have proceeded to do just that.
What it is I’m referring to is rich and varied. I had been working on the book for almost 20 years so consequently, I have amassed quite a collection: Everything from original film & TV stills, to countless magazines, clippings, books, presskits, pressbooks, videos, you name it! These rarities cross the spectrum of media as Marvin’s career ws equally varied and encompassed film, TV and stage. Below are several typical examples currently on Ebay, such as this collection of Western paperback tie-ins. By the way, if you didn’t know (as I didn’t, until I learned) the words in blue here are actually links to the Ebay page of the items, which allows you go right to it and check the items out. But first…..

Four Lee Marvin western movie tie-in paperbacks currently available on Ebay.

Four Lee Marvin western movie tie-in paperbacks currently available on Ebay.

All four books are in great condition and highlight a different time and way in which films were cross-promoted. Also currently available is the 15th anniversary issue of Playboy Magazine from 1969 featuring a lengthy interview with Marvin…

Cover of Playboy Magazine's 15th Anniversry issue which contains and overflowing plethora of special features!

Cover of Playboy Magazine’s 15th Anniversry issue which contains and overflowing plethora of special features!

First page of the lengthy and incisive PLAYBOY interview Lee Marvin did for Playboy's 15th Anniversary issue in 1969.

First page of the lengthy and incisive PLAYBOY interview Lee Marvin did for Playboy’s 15th Anniversary issue in 1969.

A better description and accompanying images exist on the auction page, by the way. Other items include some of the other books I had to read, for better or for worse, that helped with my research. Here are two examples. Lee’s widow, Pam Marvin’s book, Lee: A Romance, was acquired as an uncorreted, proof, as shown below…

Cover of the uncorrected proof for LEE: A ROMANCE by Pam Marvin.

Cover of the uncorrected proof for LEE: A ROMANCE by Pam Marvin.

Also acquired was Donald Zec’s book, Marvin, in paperback format which was ‘authorized’ by Lee, although he later said much of what was in it, he concocted….

Cover of the British paperback biography of Lee Marvin by Donald Zec.

Cover of the British paperback biography of Lee Marvin by Donald Zec.

Not all the items I’ve listed are of similiar ilk. Take for example the original lobby cards from Point Blank also show below….

2 original lobby cards from POINT BLANK now available on Ebay.

2 original lobby cards from POINT BLANK now available on Ebay.

The preceding items were simply random examples of what I’m selling. There are more, of course, including several non-Marvin related items, if you’re a fan of pop culture in general. Over the next several weeks and months I’ll be posting more items, so if in reading this, you have a personal favorite item you’ve always wanted to own, by all means message me her at the space provided below and I’ll make every effort to fulfill your ‘wish list.’ Until then, please feel free to check out all my postings and take full advantage of this Lee Marvin Ebay fire sale. Thanks and enjoy!

 

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LEE MARVIN ON GAY RIGHTS VIA PLAYBOY, 1969

Gay Rights was in its earliest public stage in 1969 but that didn’t keep Lee Marvin from commenting on it in a 1969 Playboy Magazine interview. In fact, one of the things I’m often asked is why did I choose to write about Lee Marvin. Quite frankly, the more I found about him as a person the more intrigued I became as he was not a typical macho, strutting, chauvinist. His opinions astonished me, such as his thought on Gay Rights,  especially for a man of his generation. Anyone who reads Lee Marvin: Point Blank will probably discover that as I did in researching and writing it.
He was an extremely hot commodity in 1969, so when Playboy wanted a big name to interview for its anniversry issue, they could not do better than Marvin……

Cover of Dec. '69 issue of PLAYBOY featuring an interview with Lee Marvin.

Cover of Dec. ’69 issue of PLAYBOY featuring an interview with Lee Marvin.

The interview was conducted not long after the assassination of both Martin Luther King and Robert F. Kennedy so the topic of violence in American (and film) was prevalent in the interview, as shown from one of the pull quotes below…..

Shown growing his beard for Paint Your Wagon, Lee Marvin in the famous three pix of Playboy's interview format.

Shown growing his beard for Paint Your Wagon, Lee Marvin in the famous three pix of Playboy’s interview format.

That said, THE most striking aspect of the interview, in my opinion, is when the subject of homosexuality is brought up and what Marvin has to say about it. There’s macho swagger of course, but he not only says he could he easily play a gay character, he gives it his own spin. You’d never hear John Wayne say that! I also love the fact that even the pseudo, ultra-hip Playboy interviewer is taken aback by Marvin’s response…..

Lee Marvin's comments on what he thinks about homosexuality on film.

Lee Marvin’s comments on what he thinks about homosexuality on film.

 

Marvin's thoughts on homosexuality continued.

Marvin’s thoughts on homosexuality continued.

By the way, for more on Marvin’s opinions on such controversial subjects — including a rather funny run-in he had with a gay producer and how he handled it — read Lee Marvin Point Blank. You won’t be disappointed.
– Dwayne Epstein

 

 

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