Monday, May 4, 2020

Lance Victor RIP

Lance Victor was born Lee Arden Marlatt January 1, 1935 in Newcomerstown, Ohio to Arden and Ellen Marlatt.  Lance passed away April 28, 2020 in Rogue River, Oregon.

Lance's parents divorced when he was very young and along with his mother he moved to California.  They lived in various California towns before they settled down in Vallejo where Lance went to Vallejo High School and Vallejo Junior College.  Lance was not fond of his first name, Lee, because he was named after a paternal uncle that he just did not like.  He changed his first name to Lawrence and was known as Larry to his schoolmates.

While in junior college he joined the drama department and enjoyed acting in a number of plays during his first year.

Vallejo Junior College 1955 "Believe It Or Not"

Vallejo Junior College 1955 "Best Years"

Vallejo Jr, College 1955 "Mr. Roberts"

Around that time he and a buddy from school took a vacation down to Hollywood and Lance was hooked.  He wanted to finish up his classes and go back to Hollywood to see if he could make his way into the movies.

Lance appeared in about 30 different movies and television shows, mostly westerns, as a stuntman and an extra.  He, like Shorty Shea, never really made it to speaking roles and the big time but he had a great time trying to achieve his goal.

Lance met Shorty when both were working at Corriganville for the shows put on for the tourists that flocked to see some real live shoot 'em up action that was popular at the time.  He and Shorty were pals who not only worked together but played together, too.  They went drinking together, pulled pranks on each other and traded leads on upcoming film opportunities.  They were friends until the end of Shorty's life.

When Lance wasn't working on films he kept busy doing various jobs.  He was a driver for Loomis armored trucks mostly working nights to keep his options open during the day.  Another job  was with Johny Carpenter at Carpenter's Heaven on Earth Ranch.   Carpenter opened up a ranch near Griffith Park in the 40's and before long he found himself teaching blind and disabled persons how to ride horses, it became Carpenter's lasting legacy and it was a job that Lance found very satisfying.

Lance had some stories to tell, too, one is that he dated Barbara Lugosi, Bela Lugosi's daughter, for a few years.  He recalled the time when they first started dating, he went to pick her up at the home where she lived with her father, as he arrived she asked him to put his jacket in the hall closet.  When he opened the closet door, Bela was in the closet in a full Dracula costume and greeted Lance with "Gooood Evening!" in his best Dracula voice.  Lance said, "He scared the shit out of me!"

Barbara Lugosi, Lance, Crash's mom and Crash Corrigan on the Silvertown set at Corriganville

Lance had a son, his only child, born in 1960.  He and the mother apparently were not married.  When she gave birth she told Lance that the child died during or shortly after childbirth.  Naturally Lance was devastated.  What he didn't know was the his son did not die.  He found out about his son in 2007 when a friend showed Lance an obituary for the son that named him as the father.  His son had died after "a very long illness".  Again, Lance was devastated to learn this news.

Lance also had a half-sister, his father remarried and his sister was quite a bit younger than him.  They did not have a close relationship but did keep in touch over the years.

Lance was on the advisory board for the Hollywood Stuntman's Hall of Fame.

While I never personally met Lance I became acquainted with him through Edwin Colin who I helped research for the book "Charles Manson and the Killing of Shorty Shea."  Ed had written a book before the "Shorty" book about his time growing up at Corriganville where he first met Shorty.  A friend of Ed's told him of a guy he knew, who lived locally, that was a stuntman back in the same era as Shorty and he thought the guy knew Shorty.  An introduction was made and it turned out that guy was Lance.  The meeting couldn't have happened at a better time as we were just starting on the book.

Ed and Lance became fast friends, visiting often.  Lance was very generous with his stories about Shorty and made our book that much more interesting.  Without that introduction we probably would never known how to contact Lance because his true name has never been known.

Here are a few pictures of Lance in action on various film sets.  One of his later en devours was appearing on a couple of episodes of Star Trek!

If Lance had any regrets it would be that he never realized he lived a scant 15 minute drive from Ruby Pearl for about 10 years until her death in 2010.  While Lance never officially worked at Spahn Ranch he spent time there visiting with Ruby, George Spahn, Shorty and other ranch hands.

Lance leaves his long time companion Lynn as well as many friends and admirers.  He was a friend to all.  He was 85 years old, sharp in mind but his body just gave out, he had been ill for a few months before his passing.

Lance and Lynn