MARVIN: The Story of Lee Marvin by Donald Zec

MARVIN: The Story of Lee Marvin

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KIRKUS REVIEW

From England (where, strangely, fondness for Hollywood trivia is rampant): a jivey, archly written biography of semi-star Lee Marvin (Cat Ballou, The Dirty Dozen, TV's M-Squad)--whose chief appeal to author Zec seems to be his boozing, brawling, and other offscreen escapades. So, though some of Marvin's film work is recounted in numbing detail (long, rambling quotation-chunks from chums and colleagues), the real concentration is on the ""ZAP and KAVOOM and the crotch-oriented black humor,"" all, says Zec, ""to camouflage that he does care, is emotionally stirred."" And this amateur psychoanalysis also touches on: Marvin's parents--supposedly the stuff of an ""O'Neil' (sic) drama; on his volunteering for the Marines as a teen dropout, with subsequent WW II heroism in the Pacific (macho proving-something, etc.); on his first marriage (testimony from classy wife #1), affairs, and apparent change of lifestyle (quiet, simple, on-the-wagon. . . but not for long) with wife #2--the old sweetheart for whom he dumped famed quasi-wife Michelle Triola. As for the ""palimony"" case itself, Zec's version here is skimpy: readers interested in the living-together issue will surely want to wait instead for the forthcoming (January) account by Michelle's lawyer Marvin Mitchelson. And the rest is mostly just bad-boy anecdotes, along with smidgins of more general movie interest in the Cat Ballou genesis, in the teamings with Vivien Leigh (""the chemistry between them spat like a witch's brew"") and Jeanne Moreau--but all of it delivered in cutesy, smart-alecky, punny prose (""Man does not live by dread alone""). So: minor subject, annoying treatment--for the dwindling minilegion of devout Lee Marvin fans only.

Pub Date: Dec. 26th, 1980
Publisher: St. Martin's