Fathers Day: conjures up images of sweet, sometimes corny Hallmark cards, dads smiling in spite of the chessy gifts and backyard barbecues for him in which he’s celebrated but still working anyway.
Writing and researching Lee Marvin Point Blank I was fortunate to come across some images that may not be typical Lee Marvin but are certainly perfect for Father’s Day. Take the image below, for example. Late 1950s or early 60s in which Lee appears to be fixing a toy for his son Christopher while his pinofore-wearing daughter, Cynthia holds on to him in sweet admiration. Now I ask you, is this Father’s Day, or what?
A classic Father’s Day image with son Christopher, daughter Cynthia, and Lee himself, fixing a toy for his son.
And so, from Lee Marvin and his father Monte (below), I bid one and all, a happy Father’s Day!
For Father’s Day: Lee Marvin and his father Monte in the family’s Woodstock home, approximately 1965.
In researching Lee Marvin: Point Blank, some of the most intriguing stories about the man were related to me by individuals not necessarily know by the general public. Case in point: Ralph O’Hara. O’Hara was a legend around the bars of Malibu and Santa Monica and as such, he just had to have some good Lee Marvin stories to uncover. Anyone who’s read Lee Marvin: Point Blank knows how true that is. He was also willing to relate his poignant perspective to the end of Lee’s life (pp. 243-244). I can also say that after Christopher Marvin read my book he told me that the next time I see or hear from Ralph that Chirstopher has the $20 he owes him for lending him gas money from Tucson back to Calif after after his father’s funeral in 1987. Unfortunately, I long lost contact with Ralph, who apparently moved down South after he retired from bartending.
Wallawa Whitman National Forest Baker Oregon on set of Paint Your Wagon, July 1968. Ralph J. O’Hara, Julie Ayers, Lee Marvin
During the time I was in contact with Ralph O’Hara I constantly badgered him for a picture, especially for one with him and Lee. I haranged him for several months but he kept insisting his lawyer would not allow it. Go figure that one out. One day, in the mail, I received the image above. Too ragged to be used for the book, I present the photo here for your perusal. Ralph, if you’re out there and can see this, I thank you once again!
Ralph’s own caption: “Wallawa Whitman National Forest Baker Oregon on set of Paint Your Wagon, July 1968. Ralph J. O’Hara, Julie Ayers, Lee Marvin.”
Only son and eldest child, Christopher Marvin: He had an effect with a lot of things, like the way he held a glass. He always had that and you see all those people doing that stuff now. He had that kind of trademark in the movies… But he was a real tender gentleman, too. He and I had some real delicate time as well; soul-searching stuff, working together with my father, which I really admire. I appreciated it. I don’t think very many people really have that.
L.A. Times film critic Charles Champlin: Marvin was an interesting man. In some ways, a tragic figure. You always had the feeling about Lee Marvin that there was more work that should have been done…Cat Ballou of course was just a classic piece of film acting and film making, really…. I also have one of those memories of Lee Marvin explaining in Stanley Kramer’s Ship of Fools how he never made it in baseball because he couldn’t hit a curve. That’s my memory…
Cult film director (Two-Lane Blacktop ) Monte Hellman & uncredited director of Avalanche Express (Point Blank, pp. 213-214): He was a very conscientious actor. He was fun to work with. I think of him as a movie star and he had tremendous ease with what he did. He was just really easy and fun to work with. I admired him a lot. I really loved watching him.
Cult director Sam Fuller: He was a no-bullshit guy. Behind his rough-tough guy appearance was a soul as sensitive as the one of a poet. I really regret not having done more films with him. A real pro. Never got in your way. Enhanced every shot with his incredible physique and talent. We never had one mean word or bad feeling between us…. I feel privileged to have worked with him and to have known him.
Director Michael Apted (Coal Miner’s Daughter), The Chronicles of Narnia) and Gorky Park: He was a real joy. He’s one of my best memories of working with actors in my whole career. Anything I think I could add to increasing his esteem in the world of film acting, I would love to do because I think he was a terrific actor…This generation, probably never heard of him. It’s frightening. I loved Point Blank. I always liked watching him. I thought that was a terrific piece of work…. I always liked him from the very beginning.