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Great account of a great star
on 6 May 2014
Lee Marvin was fine actor, much more versatile than other tough-guys of his era like Charles Bronson or Clint Eastwood. I guess that's why he even defeated Richard Burton and Laurence Olivier to win an Oscar in 1966. Yet he was a complex character, one probably scarred for life by the war, experiences that may have contributed to his heavy drinking and tempestuous lifestyle.
Epstein gives us a rounded, finely drawn picture of a man who was probably more sensitive than he cared to admit. If there was sadness in Marvin's career it was that he never got the roles he deserved towards the end of his life, reduced as he was to appearing in junk like the sequel to the Dirty Dozen.
In the end he looked older than his years, burnt out by a lifetime of self-abuse. Perhaps, as Epstein tacitly admits, this was no surprise to the man himself. His premature death left us with a sense of what might have been. Epstein even acknowledges this by exploring what roles might have suited Marvin had he lived.
Overall a compelling read and highly recommended.