Actor Lee Marvin was born on February 19, 1924, in New York City. He eventually earned lead roles when his aggressive nature was perceived by such directors as Edward Dmytryk, Fritz Lang, and John Boorman. Marvin appeared in about 70 films between 1951 and 1986. He first branched out into sympathetic film roles in the early 1960s, partly thanks to his role in TV's M Squad. He died on August 29, 1987, in Tucson, Arizona.
Born in in New York City on February 19, 1924, Lee Marvin dropped out of high school to enlist in the Marines and spent World War II storming beaches in the Pacific, then nearly lost his life on Saipan, where he earned a Purple Heart. After he returned in 1945, his family moved to Woodstock, New York, where Marvin found a job with the local plumber. While doing repairs at the Maverick Playhouse, he was recruited to step into a role that perfectly fit his personality-tall, wild, and often drunk. The role gave Marvin a way to express his boundless energy and his quirky sense of humor.
Like most actors, Marvin played some uncredited bit parts and character roles in his first films. He eventually earned lead roles when his aggressive nature was perceived by such directors as Edward Dmytryk, Fritz Lang, and John Boorman. Marvin appeared in about 70 films between 1951 and 1986. He likely stands out among the roughneck actors due to an innate predilection toward violence, which makes any malevolent Marvin character ring true.
He first branched out into sympathetic film roles in the early 1960s, partly thanks to the success of TV's "M Squad," in which he played a hard-bitten but honest detective.
One of Marvin's best performances can be seen in John Boorman's 1968 Hell in the Pacific with Toshir Mifune. The two great wills rage against each other on an otherwise deserted Pacific island. Other memorable roles include John Ford's Donovan's Reef in 1963, The Man who Shot Liberty Valance in 1962, and The Dirty Dozen 1967. In 1965, he earned an Oscar for his performance in Cat Ballou, a Western spoofwhere he played two similar-looking characters.
In 1970, with two failed marriages under his belt, Marvin returned to Woodstock to spend time with his ailing father. There he became reacquainted with his early love, Pamela Feeley, and they soon married. Tired of life in Hollywood, the couple eventually moved to Tucson. Nevertheless, Marvin returned to acting in 1980 with roles in The Big Red One, Death Hunt, and The Delta Force.
By 1986, Marvin's health was rapidly declining. He died in 1987 at age 63, in Tucson, Arizona.
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