Prematurely white-haired character star who began as a supporting player of generally vicious demeanor, then metamorphosed into a star of both action and drama projects, Lee Marvin was born in New York City, the son of Courtenay Washington Davidge , a fashion writer, and Lamont Waltman Marvin, an advertising executive. The young Marvin was thrown out of dozens of schools for incorrigibility. His parents took him to Florida, where he attended St. Leo's Preparatory School near Dade City. Dismissed there as well, he enlisted in the U. In the battle of Saipan in June , he was wounded in the buttocks by Japanese fire which severed his sciatic nerve. He received a medical discharge and got menial work as a plumber's apprentice in Woodstock, NY.
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Much like Humphrey Bogart before him, Lee Marvin rose through the ranks of movie stardom as a character actor, delivering expertly nasty and villainous turns in a series of B-movies before finally graduating to more heroic performances. Regardless of which side of the law he traveled, however, he projected a tough-as-nails intensity and a two-fisted integrity which elevated even the slightest material. He spent a year in recovery before returning to the U. After filling in for an ailing summer-stock actor, his growing interest in performing inspired him to study at the New York-based American Theater Wing. Upon making his debut in summer stock, Marvin began working steadily in television and off-Broadway. The following year, Hathaway again hired him for The Diplomatic Courier, and was so impressed that he convinced a top agent to recruit him. Soon Marvin began appearing regularly onscreen, with credits including a lead role in Stanley Kramer's war drama Eight Iron Men. A riveting turn as a vicious criminal in Fritz Lang's film noir classic The Big Heat brought Marvin considerable notice and subsequent performances opposite Marlon Brando in the perennial The Wild One and in John Sturges' Bad Day at Black Rock cemented his reputation as a leading screen villain.
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On his return, he became a movie actor and starred in a number of motion pictures until his death in Arizona on August 29, Marvin then tells a story of heroism in battle about the bravest man he ever knew who was also awarded the Navy Cross Bob Keeshan who later became best known as Captain Kangaroo. Lee Marvin did enlist in the U. Marines, saw action as Private First Class in the Pacific during World War II, and was wounded in the buttocks by fire which severed his sciatic nerve. However, this injury occurred during the battle for Saipan in June , not the battle for Iwo Jima, which took place several months later, in February
Photo added by William Bjornstad. He is best remembered for his tough-guy roles in such movies as "The Dirty Dozen" , "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance" , "Cat Ballou" , "Sergeant Riker" and dozens of western and military movies, sometimes as the hero and often as a villain. Lee, who was his first cousin, four times removed. Incorrigible as a youth, he was thrown out of numerous schools, until he enlisted in the Marine Corps at the beginning of World War II. He was wounded in June during the Battle of Saipan, and spent the remainder of the war convalescing in New York. Released from the military at the end of the war, he obtained work as a plumber's apprentice, and while repairing a toilet in a theater, was asked to stand-in for a sick actor during a rehearsal. Bitten by a love of acting, he returned to New York City, where he studied acting and began to play small roles in off-Broadway productions. After a long run of small television roles, he moved to Hollywood, where he began playing villains and cops, mostly as an extra. Given a leading role in "Eight Iron Men" , he became noticed as an actor, and better roles came his way.