Lee Marvin

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Lee Marvin (February 19, 1924 – August 29, 1987) was an American film actor.[1] Known for his gravelly voice, white hair and 6' 2" stature, Marvin at first did supporting roles, mostly villains, soldiers and other hardboiled characters, but after winning an Academy Award for Best Actor for his dual roles in Cat Ballou (1965), he landed more heroic and sympathetic leading roles.

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Early life

Marvin was born in New York City, the son of Lamont Waltman Marvin, an advertising executive and the head of the New York and New England Apple Institute and his wife Courtenay Washington Davidge, a fashion writer and beauty consultant.[2] He was named in honor of Confederate General Robert E. Lee, who was his first cousin, four times removed.[3] His father was a direct descendant of Matthew Marvin, Sr., who emigrated from Great Bentley, Essex, England in 1635 and helped found Hartford, Connecticut.[2]

Marvin studied violin when he was young.[4] As a teenager, Marvin "spent weekends and spare time hunting deer, puma, wild turkey and bobwhite in the wilds of the then-uncharted Everglades."[5] He attended St. Leo Preparatory College in St. Leo, Florida after being expelled from several schools for bad behavior.[6]

Marvin left school to join the United States Marine Corps, serving as a Scout Sniper in the 4th Marine Division.[7] He was wounded in action during the WWII Battle of Saipan, during which most of his platoon were killed. Marvin's wound (in the buttocks) was from machine gun fire, which severed his sciatic nerve.[8] He was awarded the Purple Heart and was given a medical discharge with the rank of Private First Class.[9] Contrary to rumors, Marvin did not serve with Bob Keeshan during World War II.[9]

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