Michelle Triola Biography

Michelle Triola

Birthday: November 13, 1932 (Scorpio)

Born In: Los Angeles, California, United States

Michelle Triola was an American actor, singer, and dancer, who became a media sensation as the plaintiff in the famous lawsuit 'Marvin v. Marvin.' Born in Los Angeles, she started her artistic pursuit as a singer in nightclubs and eventually performed in ‘Broadway’ productions. She met Lee Marvin in 1964, as she served as a stand-in in the movie 'Ship of Fools.' The two began to date and stayed together in Marvin's Malibu home until he evicted her from it in 1970. Over time, their relationship grew worse, eventually leading to a historical lawsuit, which gave the word “palimony” to the English language. The media followed the case closely, and it changed the course of family laws. As a result, a lot of unmarried people took their former cohabiting partners to court.
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Quick Facts

Also Known As: Michelle Triola Marvin

Died At Age: 76


Spouse/Ex-: Skip Ward (m. 1961–1962)

siblings: Diane Triola Johnson

Partner: Dick Van Dyke (1976–2009; her death), Lee Marvin (1965–1970)

Born Country: United States

Actresses American Women

Died on: October 30, 2009

place of death: Malibu, California, United States

Cause of Death: Lung Cancer

U.S. State: California

City: Los Angeles

More Facts

education: University Of California, Los Angeles

Childhood & Early Life
Triola was born Michelle Marie Triola, on November 13, 1932, in Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
She graduated from 'University of California, Los Angeles,’ with a major in theater arts.
Diane Triola Johnson of Van Nuys was her sister.
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Artistic Career
She started her career as a singer in a nightclub and became famous when she was performing at a Sunset Strip club owned by Jerry Lewis in the 1950s.
She performed as a dancer in the 1958 ‘Broadway’ production of 'Flower Drum Song.'
In the 1965 American drama movie 'Ship of Fools,' she appeared as an “extra” and was not credited for her part.
In the 1968 American erotic romantic drama 'The Lustful Turk,' she was cast as ‘Nico,’ a slave dancer. The story of the film was adapted from a book of the same name.
After her ugly separation from Marvin, she tried to revive her acting and singing career. Unfortunately, it never took off.
Later, as the lawsuit gained momentum, she took up a job at a public relations organization.
She played the role of a singing lady in a 2001 episode of the medical crime-drama series 'Diagnosis Murder,' titled 'On the Beach.'
Family, Personal Life, & Death
Triola tied the knot with American actor and producer Skip Ward, also known as “Rufus King Ward IV,” on November 26, 1961. In June 1962, less than a year after their marriage, they legally separated.
In 1964, she became acquainted with Marvin while working with him in the movie 'Ship of Fools.' They soon began dating each other. Marvin then broke up with his wife and moved to Triola's apartment in Hollywood. The duo started a live-in relationship.
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After Marvin found a house for them in Malibu, California, they moved into it in January 1965.
In May 1970, she legally adopted the surname “Marvin.” However, in June that year, Marvin threw her out of his home. The separation turned into a bitter feud between them.
She claimed that she had had a verbal contract with Marvin and had agreed to discontinue her career and dedicate her time to him as a partner, homemaker, cook, and housekeeper, handling all household chores. She maintained that her oral agreement with him was as legal as a marriage certificate.
She became pregnant thrice. The first ended in a miscarriage. The other two were aborted. As a consequence of the second abortion, she could never become pregnant again. She remained childless throughout her life.
In 1976, she began cohabiting with Dick Van Dyke. They remained together until her death in 2009.
It is reported that she was the step-grandmother of actor Garret Gerlich.
In 2008, she was diagnosed with lung cancer. As part of the treatment, she underwent a surgical procedure in April 2008. However, she succumbed to cancer on October 30, 2009, at the age of 76. She breathed her last at her residence in Malibu, California, which she shared with Van Dyke.
Marvin vs. Marvin
Ater Marvin threw Triola out of his house in June 1970, their relationship turned bitter. However, he continued to support her with a monthly allowance of $833.
In October 1970, Marvin married his childhood sweetheart Pamela Feeley. A year later, in November 1971, he discontinued his support to Triola.
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With celebrity divorce lawyer Marvin Mitchelson representing her, she filed a case against Marvin in February 1972. However, the trial court did not deem it fit according to the prevailing laws on family, marriage, and divorce.
Nevertheless, she and Mitchelson pursued the case and appealed to the 'Supreme Court of California.' The court decided in favor of the duo and allowed the suit to go on trial. The court cited that the plea stated a cause of action and that the lower court had committed an error by failing to grant judgment to their appeals. This decision of the court reformed family laws, as it allowed unmarried persons to claim “palimony” from their respective partners.
The trial gained a lot of media attention, and it was one of the defining moments of the sexual revolution in the U.S.A. between the 1960s and 1980s. Live-in relationships were on a rapid rise during this period.
She sued Marvin for $1.8 million. She arrived at this figure based on a calculation that Marvin had earned $3.6 million during their 6-year period of cohabitation. As his partner, she firmly believed that she deserved to demand half the amount of what he had earned during the time of their live-in relationship.
Her justification for this sum was that her relationship with Marvin was equivalent to that of a legally married husband and wife. She further stated that Marvin had promised that he would take care of her financial needs, and based on that, she had sacrificed her aspirations to become an actor and singer and had chosen to be his companion, cook, homemaker, and housekeeper and had also agreed to run all the errands of the house.
Strong arguments were made by both sides. She said that he had proposed to marry her twice. However, Marvin countered the argument and said that he never loved her and that she had threatened to kill herself.
She revealed that she had been pregnant with his child thrice. The first time, she miscarried. The second time, the pregnancy was terminated and Marvin bore the expenses. The third time, it was again aborted.
However, after the 11-week trial in 1979, the court ruled against her demand. Nevetheless, Marvin was instructed to pay her $104,000.
This allowance was overturned by a ‘California Appeals Court’ in 1981.
On January 30, 1980, Triola appeared as a guest in an episode of the late-night talk show 'Tomorrow Coast to Coast.'
One of her most famous quotes after the 1979 trial was "If a man wants to leave his toothbrush at my house, he better bloody well marry me.

See the events in life of Michelle Triola in Chronological Order

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