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Lee Marvin

Lee Marvin

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Also Known As: Died: August 29, 1987
Born: February 19, 1924 Cause of Death: heart attack
Birth Place: New York City, New York, USA Profession: actor, plumber's assistant

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Having started out portraying sadistic bad guys in a number of notable film noirs, actor Lee Marvin was propelled to stardom and leading man status following his Oscar-winning performance as two characters in the classic Western comedy "Cat Ballou" (1965). Prior to that particular triumph, Marvin began making a name for himself with supporting roles in "The Wild One' (1953) and "The Big Heat" (1953), with the latter showcasing a famed scene where his menacing character threw scalding coffee in Gloria Grahame's face. Later in the decade, he had a stint as an investigator of organized crime on the briefly popular "M Squad" (NBC, 1957-1960), which helped turn the actor into star. Following turns as a sadistic cowboy in "Bad Day at Black Rock" (1955), the titular murderer in "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence" (1962), and a methodical assassin in "The Killers" (1964), Marvin changed the course of his career with his Academy Award-worthy performance in "Cat Ballou." From there, Marvin portrayed characters whose inescapable use of violence was nonetheless heroic: he was an avenging member of a Western posse in "The Professionals" (1966), the leader of a squad of soldier-convicts sent on a suicide mission in...

Having started out portraying sadistic bad guys in a number of notable film noirs, actor Lee Marvin was propelled to stardom and leading man status following his Oscar-winning performance as two characters in the classic Western comedy "Cat Ballou" (1965). Prior to that particular triumph, Marvin began making a name for himself with supporting roles in "The Wild One' (1953) and "The Big Heat" (1953), with the latter showcasing a famed scene where his menacing character threw scalding coffee in Gloria Grahame's face. Later in the decade, he had a stint as an investigator of organized crime on the briefly popular "M Squad" (NBC, 1957-1960), which helped turn the actor into star. Following turns as a sadistic cowboy in "Bad Day at Black Rock" (1955), the titular murderer in "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence" (1962), and a methodical assassin in "The Killers" (1964), Marvin changed the course of his career with his Academy Award-worthy performance in "Cat Ballou." From there, Marvin portrayed characters whose inescapable use of violence was nonetheless heroic: he was an avenging member of a Western posse in "The Professionals" (1966), the leader of a squad of soldier-convicts sent on a suicide mission in "The Dirty Dozen" (1967), and a cold, vengeance-mind thief in the unrelenting crime thriller "Point Blank" (1967). His career crested with a co-starring role in the notorious Western musical "Paint Your Wagon" (1969), in which he displayed one of the worst singing voices in cinema history, before hitting a slow, downward slope throughout the 1970s with underwhelming films like "The Klansman" (1974), "Shout at the Devil" (1976) and "Avalanche Express" (1978). Marvin rebounded late in his career with two excellent movies - the gruesome World War II epic "The Big Red One" (1980) and the methodical crime thriller set in Soviet Russia, "Gorky Park" (1984), both of which helped put an exclamation point on a sterling career.

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

3.
 Delta Force, The (1986) Colonel Nick Alexander
4.
 Dirty Dozen: The Next Mission (1985) Major Reisman
5.
 Canicule (1984) Jimmy Cobb
6.
 Gorky Park (1983) Jack Osborne
7.
 Death Hunt (1981) Sergeant Edgar Millen
8.
 Breathless (1980) Sergeant
9.
 Avalanche Express (1979) Colonel Harry Wargrave
10.
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1942:
Fought in Pacific chapter of WWII; gun shot wound resulted in 13 months of hospitalization before discharge
1947:
Stage debut in "Roadside" with Maverick Theater, Woodstock, NY; then to Greenwich Village, New York
:
Appeared Off-Broadway and in summer stock
1950:
Moved to Hollywood under the aegis of Henry Hathaway
1950:
Film debut (a bit) in "Teresa", directed by Fred Zinnemann
1951:
Film acting debut in Henry Hathaway's "You're In the Navy Now
:
Returned to New York for Broadway appearance in "Billy Budd"; then toured in "A Streetcar Named Desire" and "The Hasty Heart"
1952:
Signed contract with Columbia
1953:
Famous early career moment on screen: as the tough thug who throws scalding hot coffee in Gloria Grahame's face in Fritz Lang's noir classic, "The Big Heat"
1954:
Portrayed a dim-witted, sadistic cowboy who menaced Spencer Tracy in "Bad Day at Black Rock"
:
Starred on TV's "M Squad" (117 episodes)
1962:
Delivered strong performance as vicious killer Liberty Valence in John Ford's "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence"
1964:
Played methodical, gray-haired businessman-assassin in Don Siegel's "The Killers" (film was originally made-for-TV, but deemed to violent and released theatrically; marked Ronald Reagan's final screen role before his political career)
1965:
Won Best Actor Oscar doing double duty as Kid Shelleen, the whisky-soaked but good-hearted gunfighter, and his evil twin Tim Straun, who dressed in black and wore a silver nose because his own had been bitten off in a brawl
1967:
Led a band of "dead-end" soldiers behind enemy lines in the hit "The Dirty Dozen"
1967:
Created one of the most influential violent heroes as the destroyer of the "organization" in John Boorman's "Point Blank"
1969:
Made screen singing debut in Josh Logan's dreadful "Paint Your Wagon"
1972:
Appeared in "Prime Cut", once again as a violent hero
1979:
Played a squadron leader in Samuel Fuller's comeback pic "The Big Red One"
1979:
Played a squadron leader in Samuel Fuller's comeback picture "The Big Red One"
1979:
Was successful defendant in landmark "palimony" suit brought against him by onetime live-in girlfriend, Michelle Triola Marvin
1983:
Portrayed devious fur dealer in "Gorky Park"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Lakewood High School: Lakewood , Florida -
St Leo's Prep School: Dade County , Florida -
American Theatre Wing: New York , New York -

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Betty Edling. Divorced.
companion:
Michelle Triola. Actor, dancer. Born c. 1933; together 1964-70; legally changed last name, sued Marvin for $3,800,000 in palimony, was awarded $104,000.
wife:
Pamela Feeley. Married 1970 until his death; was a friend from childhood; wrote a memoir that was published in 1997.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Lamont W Marvin. Advertising executive. Head of New York and New England Apple Institute.
mother:
Courtenay Marvin. Magazine fashion and beauty editor.

Bibliography close complete biography

"Lee: A Romance" Faber and Faber
"Lee Marvin: His Films and Career" McFarland

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