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Lee Marvin was born in New York City in 1924. He was part of an illustrious family that had arrived in the U.S. in the 1600s, but Lee was a black sheep who was kicked out of several schools. He joined the Marines in World War II, and he was wounded in action (he was shot in his buttock, which severed his sciatic nerve) and was discharged. He discovered acting and first went to New York where he got some Broadway and TV roles, and then moved to Hollywood in 1950, and most of his first roles there were in war films or westerns. He got the a leading role in Eight Iron Men in 1952, but his biggest break came in 1953, when he played one of the movies' most memorable villains in Fritz Lang's The Big Heat, opposite Gloria Grahame and Glenn Ford. But this did not make him a lead actor, and he took whatever he was offered, including some lesser roles in major productions, like in The Wild One and The Caine Mutiny, playing characters called Chino and Meatball. Likely discouraged by the parts he was getting, he started doing more and more TV, and in 1957, he got the lead in M Squad, and he was finally able to get more important roles. In 1961, he appeared in The Comancheros with John Wayne and the following year he again played a super-memorable villain, as Liberty Valance opposite Wayne and Jimmy Stewart in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. He continued to do much TV, and I saw him in three of those performances as a pre-teen, and he had a great effect on me even then! One was on Bonanza where he appeared in an episode as a prospector who has a life or death challenge with Pernell Roberts, one was in "The DuPont Show of the Week", in an episode based on the H.G. Wells story "The Valley of the Blind", and the last was on "The Twilight Zone" in the episode entitled "Steel", which still gives me the chills when I view it now! He played a villain once again in Don Siegel's ultra violent TV movie, The Killers, and the movie was deemed too violent for TV and was given a theatrical release instead. The following year he played a double role in Cat Ballou, and he surprisingly received the Oscar for Best Actor. The following year he co-starred in The Professionals, the fine Richard Brooks movie. The following year he starred in The Dirty Dozen and in Point Blank, two great movies, in the very same year! He was finally a superstar, but ironically that caused his career to take a major downturn in quality. He took the roles that paid him the most (likely because he had 6 kids from two marriages, plus a live-in lover!), and he turned down some great roles, including as Ed in Deliverance and as Quint in Jaws. He also could have played the lead in The Wild Bunch, but made the major dud, Paint Your Wagon, instead! Marvin also made headlines when his live-in lover Michelle Triola sued him for "palimony", the first case of its kind. While his later career did not live up to his first 17 years, Marvin was a wonderful actor who had a huge number of memorable roles in both TV and the movies (often as the BADDEST villains!), and I highly recommend seeing all of the movies and TV roles mentioned here! He passed away in 1987 at the age of 63 after complications after being treated for Valley fever, a fungal infection.
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