"I bet you're a big Lee Marvin fan!" taunts one reservoir dog to another in Quentin Tarantino's 1992 movie, thereby bestowing an aura of cool on the famous white-haired, rock-jawed, gravel-voiced actor, who had died five years earlier. Not that he needed it. Lee Marvin was one of the great cinema badasses, and barely needed to lift a finger to exude cool, or at least become the one in the room that everyone looks at, or looks out for. It didn't even matter about his prematurely white hair; he never looked like he was ready for a rocking chair.
Actors today spend a great deal of time thinking about their images before they take on good guy or bad guy roles. Or, if they somehow transition from one to the other, it can feel like a sellout. Marvin played bad guys for a number of years before his star rose and he began to get hero roles, but he brought the same kind of swagger to both types, and the transition felt right. He was a tough guy, but he was a tough guy that could handle a wide range of roles. He was not just an action star for his fans; the critics loved him too. He could handle drama, action, comedy and even (arguably) a musical. He could handle 'The Iceman Cometh' as well as he could handle 'The Dirty Dozen.'