Lee Marvin: A Man's Man, Pacifist, Progressive, And Complicated

By | February 16, 2020

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Left: Lee Marvin guest stars on the CBS game show, PASSWORD. Image dated June 14, 1962. Right: Marvin on the cover of Gun World magazine, December 1967. Sources: CBS via Getty Images; eBay

Lee Marvin was one of Hollywood's tough guys, taking no guff in such films as The Killers (1964), The Professionals (1966), The Dirty Dozen (1967) and Point Blank (1967). Marvin walked like a man and talked like a man -- and yet, for someone who seemed so close to his characters in many ways (he served as a Marine in World War II), Marvin was more complex. Marvin was no hippie, but he held views that were clearly in line with the changing times, even while his on-screen persona was relentlessly macho.

Lee Marvin Was A Problem Child And A Fighter

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Lee Marvin started as a handsome extra (famouspeopletoday)

Lee Marvin grew up in New York City. His father was an advertising executive and his mother an editor and writer for the fashion and beauty market. Sounds like a good start for a happy if not privileged childhood -- but Marvin revealed that his father was abusive and his mother failed to provide the motherly love kids need. So Marvin acted out at school, getting kicked out of just about every prep school he attended for fighting.

He also ran away a few times, including once at the age of four. Marvin once said, ″I claim the Marine Corps taught me how to act.″ He was referring to acting in movies but perhaps, it could be applied to other aspects of his life.