The Lee Marvin trial has gone into secret session, with the judge forbidding attorneys to talk about a "mystery witness" testifying behind closed doors.
The witness, a young, blond man, declined to reveal his age or identity when he emerged after four hours of testimony in the chambers of Superior Court Judge Arthur Marshall late Thursday.
Earlier in the day dancer Gene Kelly was among the first witnesses called by the actor's defense team to contradict testimony given by Marvin's former live-in lover, Michelle Triola Marvin.
Michelle Marvin said on the witness stand she passed up a chance to appear in a show because Marvin wanted her to stay in Los Angeles with him. A key point in her lawsuit is that she gave up her career to become companion and homemaker to the actor.
Kelly said he did not advise Michelle Marvin to try out for a part in "Flower Drum Song," in 1964, as she testified earlier. He left his position as the play's director six years earlier, he said.
"I don't know why she would be asking me about it because I had nothing to do with it."
He added that she "never auditioned for me for a role." He did not know of her career and would not have counseled her to go east to try out for the play, he said.
"Miss Triola is very confused about the date,' he said. "I had nothing to do with 'Flower Drum Song' then. I didn't know where it was playing or who was doing it then."
Kelly also denied he worked with Michelle Marvin in the film "Marjorie Morningstar."
Noel Stein, a former executive of Playboy Clubs International, said he told the court that Michelle Marvin never sang at the San Francisco Playboy Club. She had testified that she appeared there in 1964. He said the club did not open until 1965.
The judge, asked by reporters about his sudden decision to close the trial, said "It's a proceeding to determine whether certain evidence which is being offered in evidence should be considered in the case."
If it is ruled relevant, he said, the testimony will be made public.
Marshall was asked if the testimony concerns private matters.
"Yes," he said. "That's correct. That's a good term."
On Wednesday, the two women in Lee Marvin's life -- his wife and his former lover -- confronted each other in a dramatic courtroom scene with Pamela Marvin calling Michelle Triola Marvin a kept woman.
"She (Michelle Marvin) said to me, 'You may be married to Mr. Marvin, but don't forget he's still keeping me'," Mrs. Marvin testified as Michelle Marvin gazed directly at her.
Pamela Marvin, 48, clad in a gray suit and clutching a handkerchief, sat within four feet of Michelle Marvin, 46, who was seated at the counsel table in front of her.
The two women's eyes met as the attorney asked the wife if her husband was supporting another woman when they got married.
"I believe so, yes," Pamela Marvin said. "He told me... I also knew because Michelle told me many times on the telephone."
"The phraseology, the terminology disturbed me," she testified. "But not that he was giving her the money."
Marvin has said he broke up with the former showgirl in May 1970, five months before his marriage. He began sending her monthly support payments of $1,050, which were to continue for five years.
But the actor cut off the allowance in November 1971, an action Michelle Marvin's lawyer said was instigated by Marvin's wife.
But Mrs. Marvin said they barely discussed it.
The day before, Rope Nelson, owner of a small flect of Hawaiiam fishing boats, was called as a "surprise" witness in the multi-million-dollar breach of contract suit.
Nelson acknowledged there had been a lawsuit between him and Marvin over the ownership of a boat and that Marvin had won and that he still owed the actor $8,000.
Nelson said the lawsuit had no bearing on the veracity of his testimony at the trial.
"Him and I were buddies, pals," Nelson said. "We fished together. We were like brothers. And look at us today.
"He loved her, he said of Michelle Marvin. "And look at her today.
"I was his buddy and he was mine, and through his stubbornness, stupidity and lies, here we are," Nelson continued.
"She used to be like my sister. Now, he's doing it to her.
"You have to grow up, Lee," he said, staring at the actor."Stand up and be counted for. You're not the Lee Marvin I knew."
Marvin, seated at the counsel table, sipped from a glass of water and glared at the witness.
Lee Marvin is going from red-hot to red-hotter as a box-office attraction due to his trial with Michelle Marvin, according to columnist Liz Smith. She reported he has now had offers of $1.5 million and $1.4 million for two different pictures, one of them for a guarantee and percentage that would probably earn even more millions.