For years I had been searching for a subject interesting to me that I could knowledgeably write about to break into the publishing world. I tried a book about baseball movies, but by the time I was into it, several others had appeared. So I looked at personalities, and was surprised that only one biography had ever been written about Lee Marvin, and this back in 1980 (by Donald Zec).
Several factors appealed to me about Lee Marvin. First, and perhaps most importantly, he was a good actor. I didn’t want to spend months writing about someone whose work was mediocre or even substandard. Now, Lee’s films are not always the best, but he’s usually very good in them. Second, he appeared in quite a few classic films, titles that would be known by the public. That would help sales. Third, he was an interesting guy, a fact that I tried to get across despite the fact that this would not be a biography. Fourth, he had won an Oscar. That accomplishment, in my mind, made him someone no one would criticize me for writing about. Finally, I was already familiar with much of Lee’s work before I began the book. That gave me a head start, or so I thought.
After a largely disastrous preparation project through the Writer’s Digest School in the mid-1990s (I may write more about that later), I finally felt confident enough to approach a publisher. McFarland and Company agreed to take me on and in 1999 I delivered to them a manuscript, which was published the following year. Since Lee Marvin: His Films and Career was published, both of Lee’s wives have written memoirs, so there is more detail on him now than ever before. I am happy to have a small part in keeping the memory of Lee Marvin alive.
By the way, the book is in the process of being translated into German at this time; I’ll put up a post and link when the German version becomes available. My first foreign language edition!