Born February 19, 1924, in New York City, Lee Marvin quit high school to enter the Marine Corps and while serving in the South Pacific was wounded in the Battle of Saipan. That sounds pretty heroic until you realise he was wounded in the buttocks. He spent a year in recovery before returning to the U.S. where he began working as a plumber’s apprentice in New York. The Marine’s loss was plumbing’s gain. He got his break when filling in for a sick actor and that inspired him to study at the New York-based American Theater Wing. He made his Broadway debut in a 1951 production of Billy Budd and also made his first film appearance in You’re in the Navy Now. Soon Marvin began appearing regularly onscreen, including a lead role in Stanley Kramer’s 1952 war drama Eight Iron Men. He then went on to a string of major roles including The Big Heat, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance and The Dirty Dozen. He won the best actor Oscar for his dual role in Cat Ballou. Lee Marvin died of a heart attack in 1987 and was buried in Arlington cemetery next to fellow services’ veteran Joe Louis.