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Michelle Triola Marvin dies of lung cancer at 75

October 30, 2009 |  1:36 pm


Michelle Triola Marvin, 75, whose lawsuit against her actor companion Lee Marvin resulted in the introduction  of the term "palimony," died today in Malibu, where she shared a home with actor Dick Van Dyke. She had been diagnosed with lung cancer last year.

Michelle Triola Marvin and Lee Marvin were not married, but when she and the Oscar-winning star of "Cat Ballou" split up, she felt she deserved $1.8 million, half what he made during the six years they were together. Celebrity divorce lawyer Marvin Mitchelson represented her, arguing that unmarried couples base their relationships on contracts that may be unwritten but remain as legitimate and binding as those with a marriage certificate.

She ultimately received no money from Marvin, but she did help "palimony" become part of the Hollywood lexicon.

More later at

-- Claire Noland

Photo: Michelle Triola Marvin and her lawyer, Marvin Mitchelson, in 1979. As the text attached to the photo says, a  judge ordered Lee Marvin to pay her $104,000; that award, however, was later overturned on appeal, and she did not receive any money from the actor. Credit: Associated Press