Lee Marvin (February 19, 1924 – August 29, 1987) was an American film and television actor . Known for his distinctive voice and prematurely white hair, Marvin initially appeared in supporting roles, mostly villains, soldiers, and other hardboiled characters. A prominent television role was that of Detective Lieutenant Frank Ballinger in the NBC crime series M Squad (1957–1960).
One of Marvin’s most notable film projects was Cat Ballou (1965), a comedy Western in which he played dual roles. For portraying both gunfighter Kid Shelleen and criminal Tim Strawn, he won the Academy Award for Best Actor , along with a BAFTA Award, a Golden Globe Award, an NBR Award and the Silver Bear for Best Actor .
Marvin was born in New York City. He was the son of Lamont Waltman Marvin, an advertising executive and the head of the New York and New England Apple Institute. His mother was Courtenay Washington (née Davidge), a fashion writer and beauty consultant.
As with his elder brother, Robert, he was named in honor of Confederate General Robert E. Lee, who was his first cousin, four times removed. His father was a direct descendant of Matthew Marvin Sr., who emigrated from Great Bentley, Essex, England, in 1635, and helped found Hartford, Connecticut.
A father of four, Marvin was married twice. His first marriage to Betty Ebeling began in February 1951 and ended in divorce on January 5, 1967; during this time, his hobbies included sport fishing off the Baja California coast and duck hunting along the Mexican border near Mexicali. Ebeling and he had a son, Christopher (1952–2013), and three daughters: Courtenay (b. 1954), Cynthia (b. 1956), and Claudia (1958–2012).
In December 1986, Marvin was hospitalized for more than two weeks because of a condition related to coccidioidomycosis. He went into respiratory distress and was administered steroids to help his breathing. He had major intestinal ruptures as a result, and underwent a colostomy. Marvin died of a heart attack on August 29, 1987. He is interred at Arlington National Cemetery.