Marvin Eisenman, known to friends, industry colleagues and fellow collectors as “Marvin of the Movies,” died April 24 in Woodland Hills, Calif., from complications due to heart disease. He was 83.
Eisenman had perhaps the biggest private movie collection in the world with more than 42,000 titles on videotape, DVD and laserdisc. He generously provided viewing copies from his library to film historians, documentarians and collectors all around the world, as well as to the stars and filmmakers themselves.
Commenting on Eisenman’s passing, film critic and author Leonard Maltin said: “Marvin was one of a kind. He wasn’t happy unless he could provide you with a movie you wanted (or needed) to see. There are archives, museums and studio libraries throughout this city, but Marvin provided DVDs you couldn’t find anywhere else — without asking for anything in return.”
Born in Los Angeles Eisenman spent most of his working life in the grocery industry.
When Eisenman’s first wife, Lucille, became ill in the late 1970s, and he himself went on disability leave from work, he purchased his first VCR to help pass the time. He soon realized that he could revisit the films and serials of his youth and became an avid collector. His first purchase was Bela Lugosi serial “The Whispering Shadow,” a film he remembered seeing when he was just 3.
Until the end of his life, Eisenman maintained a tireless daily routine of taping and copying rare films and television shows at all hours for family, friends, stars and fellow collectors. He made films available to researchers and filmmakers such as the late Jack Haley, producer Howard W. Koch, Richard Schickel, Maltin and Charles Higham.
Eisenman was a regular featured guest on many local Los Angeles radio talkshows. Articles about “Marvin of the Movies” and his collection appeared in the Los Angeles Times and TV Guide.
He is survived by his wife of 18 years, Elaine Glick; three children; five stepchildren; 16 grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.
Memorial services will be held at 10 a.m. April 28 at Eden Memorial Park in Mission Hills in the Large Chapel. Donations may be made to the Motion Picture & Television Fund or the Los Angeles Zoo.