Betty Marvin
Betty Marvin

Born in a small river town in Washington State, Betty Marvin’s life and work have taken her all over the world in a number of guises; from Hollywood locations with her husband Lee Marvin to raising four children as a single mother while going back to school to forge a new career; from working in the Parisian fashion scene to creating artwork based on her experience of sudden homelessness, including traveling the world alone for one year to document the homeless in other cultures.

Betty holds a BA in Music from UCLA, a BFA in Painting and an MFA in Intermedia from the Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles, where she studied with Matsumi Kanemitsu and Keith Finch, among others.

She now lives in Santa Barbara, California, and spends time during the winter on the coast of Baja, Mexico, in the solar powered "sand castles" she designed and built, pictured on the Creative Works page.

At eighty-one, when she is not busy designing environmental structures, making conceptual art, painting, and writing, Betty can be found cooking for friends and spending time with her grown children.

“Dinner and a Movie” Chef and author Claud Mann profiles Betty’s infamous dinner parties: *

My friend Betty Marvin towers over most men (in more ways than one), has lived off and on in various exotic locales and has had a collection of diverse careers including chef, restaurateur, opera singer, and is a well respected fine artist and published author. In the '50s, while married to actor Lee Marvin, she brought the first haute couture studio to Rodeo Drive. No sissy, Betty could out-shoot and out-fish most of Lee's gang, even hauling in the winning marlin one year at Cabo.
I like to think of her as my personal Auntie Mame.

Julia child with Betty Marvin Betty's Santa Barbara dinner parties are a local legend, and she and Julia Child were close friends, cooking and dining together often. Over the years, I was fortunate to meet Julia, both times at Betty Marvin's house. Even as Julia's health began to wane, her presence remained commanding and her humor unbroken. Two weeks after Julia Child's death at 91, Betty invited us to a celebration meal in memory of her dear friend. We ate roasted salmon and drank champagne in the garden while Betty told us more stories about this remarkable woman …


Lee Marvin Betty and Lee Marvin and Family Betty Marvin at her Studio Tab, Betty Marvin, and Alan Betty Marvin, author of Tales of a Hollywood Housewife