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Birthday: April 3, 1924
Place: Omaha, Nebraska, USA
Height: 5' 1"
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Marlon Brando is widely considered the greatest movie actor of all time, rivaled only by the more theatrically oriented Laurence Olivier in terms of esteem. Unlike Olivier, who preferred the stage to the screen, Brando concentrated his talents on movies after bidding the Broadway stage adieu in 1949, a decision for which he was severely criticized when his star began to dim in the 1960s and he was excoriated for squandering his talents. No actor ever exerted such a profound influence on succeeding generations of actors as did Brando. More than 50 years after he first scorched the screen as Stanley Kowalski in the movie version of Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) and a quarter-century after his last great performance as Col. Kurtz in Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now (1979), all American actors are still being measured by the yardstick that was Brando. It was if the shadow of John Barrymore, the great American actor closest to Brando in terms of talent and stardom, dominated the acting field up until the 1970s. He did not, nor did any other actor so dominate the public's consciousness of what WAS an actor before or since Brando's 1951 on-screen portrayal of Stanley made him a cultural icon. Brando eclipsed the reputation of other great actors circa 1950, such as Paul Muni and Fredric March. Only the luster of Spencer Tracy's reputation hasn't dimmed when seen in the starlight thrown off by Brando. However, neither Tracy nor Olivier created an entire school of acting just by the force of his personality. Brando did.Born Marlon Brando Jr. on April 3, 1924, in Omaha, Nebraska, to Marlon Brando, Sr., a calcium carbonate salesman and his artistically inclined wife, the former Dorothy Pennebaker, "Bud" Brando was one of three children. His oldest sister Jocelyn Brando was also an actress, taking after their mother, who engaged in amateur theatricals and mentored a then-unknown Henry Fonda, another Nebraska native, in her role as director of the Omaha Community Playhouse. Frannie, Brando's other sibling, was a visual artist. Both Brando sisters contrived to leave the Midwest for New York City, Jocelyn to study acting and Frannie to study art. Marlon managed to escape the vocational doldrums forecast for him by his cold, distant father and his disapproving schoolteachers by striking out for The Big Apple in 1943, following Jocelyn into the acting profession. Acting was the only thing he was good at, for which he received praise, so he was determined to make it his career--a high-school dropout, he had nothing else to fall back on, having been rejected by the military due to a knee injury he incurred playing football at Shattuck Military Academy, Brando Sr.'s alma mater. The school booted Marlon out as incorrigible before graduation.Acting was a skill he honed as a child, the lonely son of alcoholic parents. With his father away on the road, and his mother frequently intoxicated to the point of stupefaction, the young Bud would play-act for her to draw her out of her stupor and to attract her attention and love. His mother was exceedingly neglectful, but he loved her, particularly for instilling in him a love of nature, a feeling which informed his character Paul in Ultimo tango a Parigi (1972) when he is recalling his childhood for his young lover Jeanne. "I don't have many good memories," Paul confesses, and neither did Brando of his childhood. Sometimes he had to go down to the town jail to pick up his mother after she had spent the night in the drunk tank and bring her home, events that traumatized the young boy but may have been the grain that irritated the oyster of his talent, producing the pearls of his performances. Anthony Quinn, his Oscar-winning co-star in Viva Zapata! (1952) told Brando's first wife Anna Kashfi, "I admire Marlon's talent, but I don't envy the pain that created it."Brando enrolled in Erwin Piscator's Dramatic Workshop at New York's New School, and was mentored by Stella Adler, a member of a famous Yiddish Theatre acting family. Adler helped introduce to the New York stage the "emotional memory" technique of Russian theatrical actor, director and impresario Constantin Stanislavsky, whose motto was "Think of your own experiences and use them truthfully." The results of this meeting between an actor and the teacher preparing him for a life in the theater would mark a watershed in American acting and culture.Brando made his debut on the boards of Broadway on October 19, 1944, in "I Remember Mama," a great success. As a young Broadway actor, Brando was invited by talent scouts from several different studios to screen-test for them, but he turned them down because he would not let himself be bound by the then-standard seven-year contract. Brando would make his film debut quite some time later in Fred Zinnemann's The Men (1950) for producer Stanley Kramer. Playing a paraplegic soldier, Brando brought new levels of realism to the screen, expanding on the verisimilitude brought to movies by Group Theatre alumni John Garfield, the predecessor closest to him in the raw power he projected on-screen. Ironically, it was Garfield whom producer Irene Mayer Selznick had chosen to play the lead in a new Tennessee Williams play she was about to produce, but negotiations broke down when Garfield demanded an ownership stake in "A Streetcar Named Desire." Burt Lancaster was next approached, but couldn't get out of a prior film commitment. Then director Elia Kazan suggested Brando, whom he had directed to great effect in Maxwell Anderson's play "Truckline Café," in which Brando co-starred with Karl Malden, who was to remain a close friend for the next 60 years.During the production of "Truckline Cafe," Kazan had found that Brando's presence was so magnetic, he had to re-block the play to keep Marlon near other major characters' stage business, as the audience could not take its eyes off of him. For the scene where Brando's character re-enters the stage after killing his wife, Kazan placed him upstage-center, partially obscured by scenery, but where the audience could still see him as Malden and others played out their scene within the café set. When he eventually entered the scene, crying, the effect was electric. A young Pauline Kael, arriving late to the play, had to avert her eyes when Brando made this entrance as she believed the young actor on stage was having a real-life conniption. She did not look back until her escort commented that the young man was a great actor.The problem with casting Brando as Stanley was that he was much younger than the character as written by Williams. However, after a meeting between Brando and Williams, the playwright eagerly agreed that Brando would make an ideal Stanley. Williams believed that by casting a younger actor, the Neanderthalish Kowalski would evolve from being a vicious older man to someone whose unintentional cruelty can be attributed to his youthful ignorance. Brando ultimately was dissatisfied with his performance, though, saying he never was able to bring out the humor of the character, which was ironic as his characterization often drew laughs from the audience at the expense of Jessica Tandy's Blanche Dubois. During the out-of-town tryouts, Kazan realized that Brando's magnetism was attracting attention and audience sympathy away from Blanche to Stanley, which was not what the playwright intended. The audience's sympathy should be solely with Blanche, but many spectators were identifying with Stanley. Kazan queried Williams on the matter, broaching the idea of a slight rewrite to tip the scales back to more of a balance between Stanley and Blanche, but Williams demurred, smitten as he was by Brando, just like the preview audiences.For his part, Brando believed that the audience sided with his Stanley because Tandy was too shrill. He thought Vivien Leigh, who played the part in the movie, was ideal, as she was not only a great beauty but she WAS Blanche Dubois, troubled as she was in her real life by mental illness and nymphomania. Brando's appearance as Stanley on stage and on screen revolutionized American acting by introducing "The Method" into American consciousness and culture. Method acting, rooted in Adler's study at the Moscow Art Theatre of Stanislavsky's theories that she subsequently introduced to the Group Theatre, was a more naturalistic style of performing, as it engendered a close identification of the actor with the character's emotions. Adler took first place among Brando's acting teachers, and socially she helped turn him from an unsophisticated Midwestern farm boy into a knowledgeable and cosmopolitan artist who one day would socialize with presidents.Brando didn't like the term "The Method," which quickly became the prominent paradigm taught by such acting gurus as Lee Strasberg at the Actors Studio. Brando denounced Strasberg in his autobiography "Songs My Mother Taught Me" (1994), saying that he was a talentless exploiter who claimed he had been Brando's mentor. The Actors Studio had been founded by Strasberg along with Kazan and Stella Adler's husband, Harold Clurman, all Group Theatre alumni, all political progressives deeply committed to the didactic function of the stage. Brando credits his knowledge of the craft to Adler and Kazan, while Kazan in his autobiography "A Life" claimed that Brando's genius thrived due to the thorough training Adler had given him. Adler's method emphasized that authenticity in acting is achieved by drawing on inner reality to expose deep emotional experienceInterestingly, Kazan believed that Brando had ruined two generations of actors, his contemporaries and those who came after him, all wanting to emulate the great Brando by employing The Method. Kazan felt that Brando was never a Method actor, that he had been highly trained by Adler and did not rely on gut instincts for his performances, as was commonly believed. Many a young actor, mistaken about the true roots of Brando's genius, thought that all it took was to find a character's motivation, empathize with the character through sense and memory association, and regurgitate it all on stage to become the character. That's not how the superbly trained Brando did it; he could, for example, play accents, whereas your average American Method actor could not. There was a method to Brando's art, Kazan felt, but it was not The Method.After "Streetcar," for which he received the first of his eight Academy Award nominations, Brando appeared in a string of Academy Award-nominated performances--in Viva Zapata! (1952), Julius Caesar (1953) and the summit of his early career, Kazan's On the Waterfront (1954). For his "Waterfront" portrayal of meat-headed longshoreman Terry Malloy, the washed-up pug who "coulda been a contender," Brando won his first Oscar. Along with his iconic performance as the rebel-without-a-cause Johnny in The Wild One (1953) ("What are you rebelling against?" Johnny is asked. "What have ya got?" is his reply), the first wave of his career was, according to Jon Voight, unprecedented in its audacious presentation of such a wide range of great acting. Director John Huston said his performance of Marc Antony was like seeing the door of a furnace opened in a dark room, and co-star John Gielgud, the premier Shakespearean actor of the 20th century, invited Brando to join his repertory company.It was this period of 1951-54 that revolutionized American acting, spawning such imitators as James Dean--who modeled his acting and even his lifestyle on his hero Brando--the young Paul Newman and Steve McQueen. After Brando, every up-and-coming star with true acting talent and a brooding, alienated quality would be hailed as the "New Brando," such as Warren Beatty in Kazan's Splendor in the Grass (1961). "We are all Brando's children," Jack Nicholson pointed out in 1972. "He gave us our freedom." He was truly "The Godfather" of American acting--and he was just 30 years old.In the second period of his career, 1955-62, Brando managed to uniquely establish himself as a great actor who also was a Top 10 movie star, although that star began to dim after the box-office high point of his early career, Sayonara (1957) (for which he received his fifth Best Actor Oscar nomination). Brando tried his hand at directing a film, the well-reviewed One-Eyed Jacks (1961) that he made for his own production company, Pennebaker Productions (after his mother's maiden name). Stanley Kubrick had been hired to direct the film, but after months of script rewrites in which Brando participated, Kubrick and Brando had a falling out and Kubrick was sacked. According to his widow Christiane Kubrick, Stanley believed that Brando had wanted to direct the film himself all along.Tales proliferated about the profligacy of Brando the director, burning up a million and a half feet of expensive VistaVision film at 50 cents a foot, fully ten times the normal amount of raw stock expended during production of an equivalent motion picture. Brando took so long editing the film that he was never able to present the studio with a cut. Paramount took it away from him and tacked on a re-shot ending that Brando was dissatisfied with, as it made the Oedipal figure of Dad Longworth into a villain. In any normal film Dad would have been the heavy, but Brando believed that no one was innately evil, that it was a matter of an individual responding to, and being molded by, one's environment. It was not a black-and-white world, Brando felt, but a gray world in which once-decent people could do horrible things. This attitude explains his sympathetic portrayal of Nazi officer Christian Diestl in the film he made before shooting One-Eyed Jacks (1961), Edward Dmytryk's filming of Irwin Shaw's novel The Young Lions (1958) (1958). Shaw denounced Brando's performance, but audiences obviously disagreed, as the film was a major hit. It would be the last hit movie Brando would have for more than a decade."One Eyed Jacks" generated respectable numbers at the box office, but the production costs were exorbitant--a then-staggering million--which made it run a deficit. A film essentially is "made" in the editing room, and Brando found cutting to be a terribly boring process, which was why the studio eventually took the film away from him. Despite his proved talent in handling actors and a large production, Brando never again directed another film, though he would claim that all actors essentially direct themselves during the shooting of a picture.Between the production and release of "Jacks," Brando appeared in Sidney Lumet's film version of Tennessee Williams' play "Orpheus Descending", which teamed him with fellow Oscar winners Anna Magnani and Joanne Woodward. Following in Elizabeth Taylor's trailblazing footsteps, Brando became the second performer to receive a -million salary for a motion picture, so high were the expectations for this re-teaming of Kowalski and his creator (in 1961 critic Hollis Alpert had published a book "Brando and the Shadow of Stanley Kowalski). Critics and audiences waiting for another incendiary display from Brando in a Williams work were disappointed when the renamed The Fugitive Kind (1959) finally released. Though Tennessee was hot, with movie versions of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958) and Suddenly, Last Summer (1959) burning up the box office and receiving kudos from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, "The Fugitive Kind" was a failure. This was followed by the so-so box-office reception of "One Eyed Jacks" in 1961 and then by a failure of a more monumental kind: Mutiny on the Bounty (1962), a remake of the famed 1935 film.Brando signed on to "Bounty" after turning down the lead in the David Lean classic Lawrence of Arabia (1962) because he didn't want to spend a year in the desert riding around on a camel. He received another -million salary, plus 0,000 in overages as the shoot went overtime and over budget. During principal photography, highly respected director Carol Reed (an eventual Academy Award winner) was fired, and his replacement, two-time Oscar winner Lewis Milestone, was shunted aside by Brando as Marlon basically took over the direction of the film himself. The long shoot became so notorious that President John F. Kennedy asked director Billy Wilder at a cocktail party not "when" but "if" the "Bounty" shoot would ever be over. The MGM remake of one of its classic Golden Age films garnered a Best Picture Oscar nomination and was one of the top grossing films of 1962, yet failed to go into the black due to its Brobdingnagian budget estimated at million, which is equivalent to 0 million when adjusted for inflation.Brando and Taylor, whose Cleopatra (1963) nearly bankrupted 20th Century-Fox due to its huge cost overruns (its final budget was more than twice that of Brando's "Bounty"), were pilloried by the show business press for being the epitome of the pampered, self-indulgent stars who were ruining the industry. Seeking scapegoats, the Hollywood press conveniently ignored the financial pressures on the studios. The studios had been hurt by television and by the antitrust-mandated divestiture of their movie theater chains, causing a large outflow of production to Italy and other countries in the 1950s and 1960s in order to lower costs. The studio bosses, seeking to replicate such blockbuster hits as the remakes of The Ten Commandments (1956) and Ben-Hur (1959), were the real culprits behind the losses generated by large-budgeted films that found it impossible to recoup their costs despite long lines at the box office.While Taylor, receiving the unwanted gift of reams of publicity from her adulterous romance with "Cleopatra" co-star Richard Burton, remained hot until the tanking of her own Tennessee Williams-renamed debacle Boom (1968), Brando from 1963 until the end of the decade appeared in one box-office failure after another as he worked out a contract he had signed with Universal Pictures. The industry had grown tired of Brando and his idiosyncrasies, though he continued to be offered prestige projects up through 1968.Some of the films Brando made in the 1960s were noble failures, such as The Ugly American (1963), The Chase (1966) and Reflections in a Golden Eye (1967). For every "Reflections," though, there seemed to be two or three outright debacles, such as Bedtime Story (1964), A Countess from Hong Kong (1967) and The Night of the Following Day (1968). By the time Brando began making the anti-colonialist picture Queimada (1969) in Colombia with Gillo Pontecorvo in the director's chair, he was box-office poison, despite having worked in the previous five years with such top directors as Arthur Penn, John Huston and the legendary Charles Chaplin, and with such top-drawer co-stars as David Niven, Yul Brynner, Sophia Loren and Taylor.The rap on Brando in the 1960s was that a great talent had ruined his potential to be America's answer to Olivier, as his friend William Redfield limned the dilemma in his book "Letters from an Actor" (1967), a memoir about Redfield's appearance in Burton's 1964 theatrical production of "Hamlet." By failing to go back on stage and recharge his artistic batteries, something British actors such as Burton were not afraid to do, Brando had stifled his great talent, by refusing to tackle the classical repertoire and contemporary drama. Actors and critics had yearned for an American response to the high-acting style of the Brits, and while Method actors such as Rod Steiger tried to create an American style, they were hampered in their quest, as their king was lost in a wasteland of Hollywood movies that were beneath his talent. Many of his early supporters now turned on him, claiming he was a crass sellout.Despite evidence in such films as "The Chase," The Appaloosa (1966) and Reflections in a Golden Eye (1967) that Brando was in fact doing some of the best acting of his life, critics, perhaps with an eye on the box office, slammed him for failing to live up to, and nurture, his great gift. Brando's political activism, starting in the early 1960s with his championing of Native Americans' rights, followed by his participation in the Southern Christian Leadership Conference's March on Washington in 1963, and followed by his appearance at a Black Panther rally in 1968, did not win him many admirers in the establishment. In fact, there was a de facto embargo on Brando films in the recently segregated (officially, at least) southeastern US in the 1960s. Southern exhibitors simply would not book his films, and producers took notice. After 1968, Brando would not work for three years.Pauline Kael wrote of Brando that he was Fortune's fool. She drew a parallel with the latter career of John Barrymore, a similarly gifted thespian with talents as prodigious, who seemingly threw them away. Brando, like the late-career Barrymore, had become a great ham, evidenced by his turn as the faux Indian guru in the egregious Candy (1968), seemingly because the material was so beneath his talent. Most observers of Brando in the 1960s believed that he needed to be reunited with his old mentor Kazan, a relationship that had soured due to Kazan's friendly testimony naming names before the notorious House Un-American Activities Committee. Perhaps Brando believed this, too, as he originally accepted an offer to appear as the star of Kazan's film adaptation of his own novel, The Arrangement (1969). However, after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Brando backed out of the film, telling Kazan that he could not appear in a Hollywood film after this tragedy. Also reportedly turning down a role opposite box-office king Paul Newman in a surefire script, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969), Brando decided to make Queimada (1969) with Pontecorvo. The film, a searing indictment of racism and colonialism, flopped at the box office but won the esteem of progressive critics and cultural arbiters such as Howard Zinn.Kazan, after a life in film and the theater, said that, aside from Orson Welles, whose greatness lay in filmmaking, he only met one actor who was a genius: Brando. Richard Burton, an intellectual with a keen eye for observation if not for his own film projects, said that he found Brando to be very bright, unlike the public perception of him as a Terry Malloy-type character that he himself inadvertently promoted through his boorish behavior. Brando's problem, Burton felt, was that he was unique, and that he had gotten too much fame too soon at too early an age. Cut off from being nurtured by normal contact with society, fame had distorted Brando's personality and his ability to cope with the world, as he had not had time to grow up outside the limelight.Truman Capote, who eviscerated Brando in print in the mid-'50s and had as much to do with the public perception of the dyslexic Brando as a dumbbell, always said that the best actors were ignorant, and that an intelligent person could not be a good actor. However, Brando was highly intelligent, and possessed of a rare genius in a then-deprecated art, acting. The problem that an intelligent performer has in movies is that it is the director, and not the actor, who has the power in his chosen field. Greatness in the other arts is defined by how much control the artist is able to exert over his chosen medium, but in movie acting, the medium is controlled by a person outside the individual artist. It is an axiom of the cinema that a performance, as is a film, is "created" in the cutting room, thus further removing the actor from control over his art. Brando had tried his hand at directing, in controlling the whole artistic enterprise, but he could not abide the cutting room, where a film and the film's performances are made. This lack of control over his art was the root of Brando's discontent with acting, with movies, and, eventually, with the whole wide world that invested so much cachet in movie actors, as long as "they" were at the top of the box-office charts. Hollywood was a matter of "they" and not the work, and Brando became disgusted.Charlton Heston, who participated in 'Martin Luther King' (qv_'s 1963 March on Washington with Brando, believes that Marlon was the great actor of his generation. However, noting a story that Brando had once refused a role in the early 1960s with the excuse "How can I act when people are starving in India?", Heston believes that it was this attitude, the inability to separate one's idealism from one's work, that prevented Brando from reaching his potential. As Rod Steiger once said, Brando had it all, great stardom and a great talent. He could have taken his audience on a trip to the stars, but he simply would not. Steiger, one of Brando's children even though a contemporary, could not understand it. When James Mason' was asked in 1971 who was the best American actor, he had replied that since Brando had let his career go belly-up, it had to be George C. Scott, by default.Paramount thought that only Olivier would suffice, but Lord Olivier was ill. The young director believed there was only one actor who could play godfather to the group of Young Turk actors he had assembled for his film, The Godfather of method acting himself--Marlon Brando. Francis Ford Coppola won the fight for Brando, Brando won - and refused - his second Oscar, and Paramount won a pot of gold by producing the then top-grossing film of all-time, The Godfather (1972), a gangster movie most critics now judge one of the greatest American films of all time. Brando followed his iconic portrayal of Don Corleone with his Oscar-nominated turn in the high-grossing and highly scandalous Ultimo tango a Parigi (1972), the first film dealing explicitly with sexuality in which an actor of Brando's stature had participated. He was now again a Top-Ten box office star and once again heralded as the greatest actor of his generation, an unprecedented comeback that put him on the cover of "Time" magazine and would make him the highest-paid actor in the history of motion pictures by the end of the decade. Little did the world know that Brando, who had struggled through many projects in good faith during the 1960s, delivering some of his best acting, only to be excoriated and ignored as the films did not do well at the box office, essentially was through with the movies.After reaching the summit of his career, a rarefied atmosphere never reached before or since by any actor, Brando essentially walked away. He would give no more of himself after giving everything as he had done in "Last Tango," a performance that embarrassed him, according to his autobiography. Brando had come as close to any actor to being the "auteur," or author, of a film, as the English-language scenes of "Tango" were created by encouraging Brando to improvise. The improvisations were written down and turned into a shooting script, and the scripted improvisations were shot the next day. Pauline Kael, the Brando of movie critics in that she was the most influential arbiter of cinematic quality of her generation and spawned a whole legion of Kael wanna-be's, said Brando's performance in "Tango" had revolutionized the art of film. Brando, who had to act to gain his mother's attention; Brando, who believed acting at best was nothing special as everyone in the world engaged in it every day of their lives to get what they wanted from other people; Brando, who believed acting at its worst was a childish charade and that movie stardom was a whorish fraud, would have agreed with Sam Peckinpah's summation of Kael: "Pauline's a brilliant critic but sometimes she's just cracking walnuts with her ass." Probably in a simulacrum of those words, too.After another three-year hiatus, Brando took on just one more major role for the next 20 years, as the bounty hunter after Jack Nicholson in Arthur Penn's The Missouri Breaks (1976), a western that succeeded neither with the critics or at the box office. From then on, Brando concentrated on extracting the maximum amount of capital for the least amount of work from producers, as when he got the Salkind brothers to pony up a then-record .7 million against 10% of the gross for 13 days work on Superman (1978). Factoring in inflation, the straight salary for "Superman" equals or exceeds the new record of million a day Harrison Ford set with K-19: The Widowmaker (2002). Before cashing his first paycheck for "Superman," Brando had picked up million for his extended cameo in Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now (1979) in a role, that of Col. Kurtz, that he authored on-camera through improvisation while Coppola shot take after take. It was Brando's last bravura performance, though he did receive an eighth and final Oscar nomination for A Dry White Season (1989) after coming out of a near-decade-long retirement. Contrary to those who claimed he now only was in it for the money, Brando donated his entire seven-figure salary to an anti-apartheid charity.Brando had first attracted media attention at the age of 24, when "Life" magazine ran a photo of himself and his sister Jocelyn, who were both then appearing on Broadway. The curiosity continued, and snowballed. Playing the paraplegic soldier of The Men (1950), Brando had gone to live at a Veterans Administration hospital with actual disabled veterans, and confined himself to a wheelchair for weeks. It was an acting method, research, that no one in Hollywood had ever heard of before, and that willingness to experience life.
- Ranked #13 in Empire (UK) magazine's "The Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time" list. [October 1997]
- Nine children: Christian Devi (b. 1958) (aka Gary Brown), Miko (b. 1960), Rebecca, Simon Tehotu, Stefano (b. 1967) (aka Stephen Blackehart), Cheyenne (1970-1995), Warren Angelo Brando (b. 1985), Ninna Priscilla (b. 1989), and two others (b. 1992, 1994).
- He balked at the prospect of Burt Reynolds in the role of Santino Corleone in The Godfather (1972).
- Eldest son Christian Brando was arrested for murdering his half-sister's drug dealer boyfriend Dag Drollett in 1990. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison in March 1991 and released in January 1996.
- Worked as a department store elevator operator before he became famous. He quit after four days due to his embarrassment in having to call out the lingerie floor.
- Was roommates with Wally Cox during his theatrical training in New York City. The two remained lifelong friends, and Brando took Cox's sudden death from a heart attack at the age of 48 extremely hard.
- Chosen by Empire magazine as one of the "100 Sexiest Stars" in film history (#14). 
- Two years before Brando declined his Oscar for Best Actor in The Godfather (1972), he'd applied to the Academy to replace the one he'd won for On the Waterfront (1954), which had been stolen.
- Youngest of three children.
- Owned a private island off the Pacific coast, the Polynesian atoll known as Tetiaroa, from 1966 until his death in 2004.
- In 1995, as a guest on "Larry King Live" (1985), kissed Larry King on the mouth.
- Native of Omaha, Nebraska. His mother once gave stage lessons to Henry Fonda, another Nebraska native.
- Lived on infamous "Bad Boy Drive" (Muholland Drive in Beverly Hills, California), which received its nickname because its residents were famous "bad boy" actors Jack Nicholson, Warren Beatty and Brando.
- The name Brando came from the Dutch name, Brandeis.
- Son of Marlon Brando Sr.
- His son Miko Brando was once a bodyguard for Michael Jackson. Jackson and Brando remained good friends thereafter.
- Born to alcoholic parents, Brando was left alone much of the time as a child.
- While filming The Score (2001), he refused to be on the set at the same time as director Frank Oz.
- Brother of actress Jocelyn Brando, who appeared with him in The Ugly American (1963) and The Chase (1966).
- Daughter Cheyenne committed suicide in 1995, aged 25.
- Refused to take a religious oath at his son's murder trial, citing reasons that he is an atheist.
- On the set of The Score (2001), he referred to former Muppets director Frank Oz as "Miss Piggy".
- In April, 2002, a woman filed a 0 million palimony lawsuit in California against Brando, claiming he fathered her three children during a 14-year romantic relationship. Maria Cristina Ruiz, 43, filed the breach of contract suit, demanding damages and living expenses. The lawsuit was settled in April 2003.
- Ranked #12 in Entertainment Weekly's "Top 100 Entertainers" of all time (2000).
- Received more money for his short appearance as Jor-El in Superman (1978) than Christopher Reeve did in the title role. Brando later sued for a percentage of the film's profits.
- Used cue cards in many of his movies because he refused to memorize his lines. His lines were written on the diaper of baby Kal-El in Superman (1978).
- One of the innovators of the Method acting technique in American film.
- Was mentioned in Dolce vita, La (1960) in a discussion about salary paid to film stars.
- Adopted child: Petra Barrett Brando, whose biological father is author James Clavell.
- Said that the only reason he continued to make movies was in order to raise the money to produce what he said would be the "definitive" film about Native Americans. The film was never made.
- Expelled from high school for riding a motorcycle through the halls.
- His signature was considered so valuable to collectors, that many personal checks he wrote were never cashed because his signature was usually worth more than the amount on the check.
- Studied at the Dramatic Workshop at the New School for Social Research in New York City.
- Dated Broadway actress Elaine Stritch.
- Mentioned in Neil Young's song "Pocahontas," in David Bowie's song "China Girl," and in Bruce Springsteen's song "It's Hard To Be A Saint In The City."
- Appeared on the front sleeve of The Beatles' classic album "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" as Johnny in The Wild One (1953).
- Brando's first wife was Anna Kashfi, who bore him a son whom they named Christian. His second wife was Movita Castenada, who played the Tahitian love interest of Lt. Fletcher Christian in Mutiny on the Bounty (1935). His third wife was Tarita Teriipia, who played the Tahitian love interest of Lt. Fletcher Christian in Mutiny on the Bounty (1962).
- His father was of Dutch-French descent and his mother was of Irish-English descent.
- Helped out a lot of minorities in America, including African Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanic Americans and Native American Indians.
- He reputedly suggested that his cameo role as Jor-El in Superman (1978) be done by him in voiceover only, with the character's image onscreen being a glowing, levitating green bagel. Unsure if Brando was joking or not, the film's producers formally rejected the suggestion.
- Russell Crowe wrote and sang a song about him called "I Wanna Be Marlon Brando."
- He was offered a chance to reprise his role as Vito Corleone in The Godfather: Part II (1974) and Jor El in Superman II (1980), but he turned them both down due to his own credo that once he finished a role, he put it away and moved on. He turned down both films despite being offered three times more money than any of his co-stars.
- His last role was a voice performance in an animated comedy, Big Bug Man (2006), about a candy-factory owner (voiced by Brendan Fraser) who gets superpowers after bugs bites him. The film is set for release in 2006, and Brando provides the voice of Mrs. Sour, the owner of the candy factory.
- Mentioned in Madonna's song "Vogue."
- Film critic Roger Ebert praised Brando as "the Greatest Actor in the World."
- Empire Magazine profiled him as part of their "Greatest Living Actors" series. The issue containing this feature was published a week before he died.
- He was voted the 7th "Greatest Movie Star" of all time by Entertainment Weekly.
- Biographer Peter Manso said that at the time of production of flops such as The Appaloosa (1966), Brando had turned down the leading role of a Hamlet production in England, with Laurence Olivier.
- Mentioned in Slipknot's song "Eyeless."
- During an acting class, when the students were told to act out "a chicken hearing an air-raid siren," most of the students clucked and flapped their arms in a panic, while Brando stood stock-still, staring up at the ceiling. When asked to explain himself, Brando replied, "I'm a chicken - I don't know what an air-raid siren is."
- Received top billing in nearly every film he appeared in, even if not cast in the lead role.
- Was born on the same day as Doris Day.
- Was offered million for four days work to appear as a priest in Scary Movie 2 (2001) but had to withdraw when he was hospitalized with pneumonia in April 2001. Consequently the role was played by James Woods.
- In his book "The Way It's Never Been Done Before: My Friendship with Marlon Brando," George Englund relates how Brando told him a couple of years before his death that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences offered him a Lifetime Achievement Oscar on the condition that he attend the ceremony to personally accept the award. Brando refused, believing that the offer shouldn't be conditional, and that the condition that he appear on the televised ceremony showed that the Academy was not primarily focused on honoring artistic excellence.
- His original family name was Brandeau (French origin).
- He was reportedly interested in making a film of Rolf Hochhuth's controversial play "The Deputy," an indictment of the alleged silence of Pope Pius XII (God's "Deputy" on Earth) over the Nazi persecution of the Jews during World War II. The film was never made.
- He attended a staging of Eugene O'Neill's autobiographical "Long Day's Journey Into Night" with an eye towards starring in a proposed film of the play. The play deals with the drug addiction of Mary Tyrone, modeled after O'Neil's own mother, which, along with her husband's miserliness and her oldest son's alcoholism, has blighted her youngest son's life. When asked his opinion of the play, Brando, whose mother was an alcoholic and had died relatively young in 1954, replied, "Lousy." Jason Robards, who originated the role of older son James Tyrone, Jr. in the original Broadway production in 1956, subsequently appeared in Sidney Lumet's 1962 movie.
- He was reportedly once interested in playing Pablo Picasso on film and was trying to reduce weight on a banana diet. The film was never made.
- In his autobiography, he said that he was physically attracted to Vivien Leigh during the making of A Streetcar Named Desire (1951). He could not bring himself to seduce her, however, as he found her husband, Laurence Olivier, to be such a "nice guy."
- According to friend George Englund in his book "The Way It's Never Been Done Before: My Friendship with Marlon Brando," he testified at the manslaughter trial of his son Christian Brando that his mother and father and one of his two sisters had been alcoholics.
- Paramount studio chief wanted him to appear as Jay Gatsby in The Great Gatsby (1974), but Brando wanted million, an unheard of salary at the time.
- Director Francis Ford Coppola wanted Brando to appear as Preston Tucker Jr. in his biopic of the maverick automotive executive he planned to make after he completed The Godfather: Part II (1974). Brando was not interested but did appear in Apocalypse Now (1979), the film Coppola actually did make after finishing The Godfather (1972) sequel. When Coppola finally got around to making the film Tucker: The Man and His Dream (1988), he cast Jeff Bridges in the role.
- According to co-producer Fred Roos, Brando was scheduled to make a cameo appearance in The Godfather: Part II (1974), specifically in the flashback at the end of the film in which Vito Corleone comes back to his home and is greeted with a surprise birthday party. In fact, he was expected the day of shooting but did not show up due to a salary dispute. According to Francis Ford Coppola, he hadn't been paid for The Godfather (1972) and thus would not appear in the sequel.
- Was a fan of Afro-Caribbean music, and changed from being a strick drummer to the congas after becoming enthralled by the music in New York City in the 1940s.
- Took possession of friend Wally Cox's ashes from his widow in order to scatter them at sea but actually kept them hidden in a closet at his house. In his autobiography, Brando said he frequently talked to Cox. The Los Angeles Times on September 22, 2004 quoted Brando's son, Miko, to the effect that both his father's and Cox's ashes were scattered at the same time in Death Valley, California in a ceremony following Brando's death.
- Asked The Godfather (1972) co-star James Caan what he would want if his wishes came true. When Caan answered that he'd like to be in love, Brando answered, "Me too. But don't tell my wife."
- Was scheduled to appear in the David Lean-directed "Nostromo" in 1991, but when Lean died, the production came to a halt. Thus, the world missed the last of three chances to see one of the world's greatest actors work with one of the world's greatest directors. Producer Sam Spiegel, who had won an Oscar for On the Waterfront (1954), offered Brando the title role in Lean's Lawrence of Arabia (1962), but he turned it down, saying he didn't want to ride camels in the desert for two years. Brando was Lean's first choice for the male lead in Ryan's Daughter (1970), but Brando, who at that time was considered box office poison by movie studios, never was offered the role.
- Brando tried to join the Army during World War II but was rejected due to a knee injury he had sustained while playing football at Shattuck Military Academy. After he made The Men (1950), the Korean War broke out, and he was ordered by the draft board to report for a physical prior to induction. As his knee was better due to an operation, he initially was reclassified from 4-F to 1-A, but the military again rejected him, this time for mental problems, as he was under psychoanalysis.
- The story about his mother his character Paul tells Jeanne in Ultimo tango a Parigi (1972), about how she taught him to appreciate nature, which he illustrates with his reminiscence of his dog Dutchy hunting rabbits in a mustard field, is real, based on his own recollections of his past.
- His best friend was Wally Cox, whom he had known as a child and then met again when both were aspiring actors in New York during the 1940s. According to Brando's autobiography, there wasn't a day that went by when he didn't think of Wally. So close did he feel to Cox, he even kept the pajamas he died in.
- Studied modern dance with Katherine Dunham in New York in the early 1940s and briefly considered becoming a dancer.
- Considered Montgomery Clift a friend and a "very good actor." They were not rivals, as the public perceived them to be during the 1950s. After Clift died of a heart attack in 1966, Brando took over his role in Reflections in a Golden Eye (1967).
- Just after the end of World War II, met the then-unknown James Baldwin and Norman Mailer at a cafeteria in New York. He became friends with Baldwin, a friendship that lasted until Baldwin's death.
- Shortly before his death in 2004, he gave EA Games permission to use his voice for its video game The Godfather: The Game (2006) (VG).
- After a decade of being considered "box-office poison" after the large losses generated by the big-budget remake of Mutiny on the Bounty (1962), the twin successes of The Godfather (1972) and Ultimo tango a Parigi (1972) made Brando a superstar again. He was named the #6 and #10 top money-making star in 1972 and 1973, respectively, by the Motion Picture Herald. The top 10 box-office list was based on an annual poll of movie exhibitors in the US as to the drawing power of stars, conducted by Quigley Publications. Brando used his unique combination of box-office power and his reputation as the greatest actor in the world to command huge salaries throughout the decade, culminating in the record .7 million for 12 days work paid him for Superman (1978) by Alexander Salkind and Ilya Salkind. Factored for inflation, his adjusted salary of .25 million in 2002 terms equals almost million a day, a record until Harrison Ford breached the million a day threshold for K-19: The Widowmaker (2002).
- Even before he let himself get obese and balloon up to over 350 lbs., his eating habits were legendary. The Men (1950) co-star Richard Erdman claimed Brando's diet circa 1950 consisted "mainly of junk food, usually take-out Chinese or peanut butter, which he consumed by the jarful." By the mid-1950s he was renowned for eating boxes of Mallomars and cinnamon buns, washing them down with a quart of milk. Close friend Carlo Fiore wrote that during the '50s and early '60s, Brando went on crash diets before his films commenced shooting, but when he lost his willpower, he would eat huge breakfasts consisting of corn flakes, sausages, eggs, bananas and cream, and a huge stack of pancakes drenched in syrup. Fiore was detailed by producers to drag him out of coffee shops. Karl Malden claimed that, during the shooting of One-Eyed Jacks (1961), he would have "two steaks, potatoes, two apple pies a la mode and a quart of milk" for dinner, necessitating constant altering of his costumes. During a birthday party for Brando--the film's director as well as star--the crew gave him a belt with a card reading, "Hope it fits." A sign was placed below the birthday cake saying: "Don't feed the director." He reportedly ate at least four pieces of cake that day. His second wife Movita, who had a lock put on their refrigerator to stop pilfering by what she thought was the household staff, awoke one morning to find the lock broken and teeth marks on a round of cheese. The maid told her that Brando nightly raided the fridge. Movita also related how he often drove down to hot dog stands late at night, wolfing down as many as six at a time. Mutiny on the Bounty (1962) costumer James Taylor claimed that Brando split the seat on 52 pairs of pants during the shooting of the film, necessitating that stretch fabric be sewn into Marlon's replacement duds. He split those, too. Ice cream was the culprit: Brando would purloin a five-gallon tub of the fattening dessert, row himself out into the lagoon and indulge. On the set of The Appaloosa (1966), Brando's double often had to be used for shooting after lunch, and filming could only proceed in long shots, as Brando could no longer fit into his costumes. Dick Loving, who was married to Brando's sister Frannie, said that Marlon used to eat "two chickens at a sitting, and [go] through bags of Pepperidge Farm cookies." It was reported during the filming of The Missouri Breaks (1976) that the environmentally sensitive Brando fished a frog out of a pond, took a huge bite out of the hapless amphibian, and threw it back into the drink. Living on his island of Tetioroa, Brando created what he called "real-life Mounds Bars" by cracking open a coconut, melting some chocolate in the sun, then stirring it into the coconut for a tasty treat. By the 1980s, there were reports that one of Brando's girlfriends had left him because he failed to keep his promise of losing weight. Marlon seemed to be dieting, but to her astonishment, he never lost weight. She found out that his buddies had been throwing bags of Burger King Whoppers over the gates of his Mulholland Dr. estate late at night to relieve the hunger pangs of their famished friend. In the late '80s Brando was spotted regularly buying ice cream from a Beverly Hills ice cream shop--five gallons at a time. He supposedly confessed that he was eating it all himself. Finally, a reported Brando snack was a pound of cooked bacon shoved into an entire loaf of bread. When Brando became ill, he seriously cut back and lost 70 pounds on a bland diet, but never lost his love of food and especially ice cream.
- Won his seventh, and last, Best Actor Oscar nomination in 1974, for Ultimo tango a Parigi (1972), after he had generated much ill-will in Hollywood by refusing his Oscar for The Godfather (1972). Academy President Walter Mirisch said of the nomination, "I think it speaks well for the Academy. It proves that voting members are interested only in performances, not in sidelights." Interestingly, the only other actor to refuse an Academy Award, George C. Scott, also was nominated as Best Actor the year following his snubbing of the Academy. So far, Brando, Scott and screenwriter Dudley Nichols, who refused to accept his 1935 Oscar for the movie The Informer (1935) due to a Writers Guild strike, are the only people out of more than 2,000 winners to turn down the Award.
- In his September 1972 Playboy Magazine interview, director Sam Peckinpah said that a problem with One-Eyed Jacks (1961) is that Brando would not play a villain. Peckinpah had worked on rewriting the script, which was based on the novel "The Authentic Death of Hendry Jones," a re-telling of the Billy the Kid legend. Billy the Kid, according to Peckinpah, was a genuine villain, whereas Brando's character "Rio" was not, thus lessening the dramatic impact of the story. He praised Brando for his acting comeback as Don Corleone in The Godfather (1972), both as the return of a great actor and as an example of Brando's newfound willingness to shuck off his old predilection and actually play a villain.
- At the 77th Academy Awards ceremony, he was the last person featured in the film honoring film industry personalities who had passed away the previous year.
- At the 27th Academy Awards, held March 30, 1955 at the RKO Pantages Theatre in Los Angeles, California, Brando chewed gum throughout the ceremony, according to columnist Sidney Skolsky. When Bette Davis came out to present the Best Actor Oscar, Brando stopped chewing. When she announced him as the winner, Brando took the gum out of his mouth and shook hands with fellow nominee Bing Crosby, who had been reckoned the favorite that night, before going on stage to accept the statuette.
- Bette Davis, who had been presented Brando with his first Best Actor Oscar at the 27th Academy Awards in 1955, told the press that she was thrilled he had won. She elaborated: "He and I had much in common. He too had made many enemies. He too is a perfectionist.
- When participating in the March on Washington, brandished a cattle prod to show the world the brutality blacks faced in the South.
- Attended the memorial service for slain Black Panther 'Bobby Hutton' (I) .
- Tithed a tenth of his income to various Black organizations such as, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
- He and director Tony Kaye paid 350,000 pounds sterling for footage of what allegedly is the "Angel of Mons," according to The Sunday Times (March 11, 2001). The Angel of Mons was an apparition that legend holds appeared in the skies during the British Expeditionary Force's first encounter with the Imperial Germany Army during WWI, which enabled a successful retreat by the BEF. The film allegedly was found in August 1999 in a junk-shop, which had a trunk belonging to a man called William Doidge, a WWI veteran. Doidge had been at Mons in August 1914 and knew about or possibly saw the apparition of angels in the sky as the British Army retreated from the overwhelming German advance. After the war he became obsessed by these apparitions. An American war veteran told him in 1952 that angels had appeared before some American troops were drowned during an exercise in 1944 at Woodchester Park in the Cotswolds. Doidge went there with a movie-camera and supposedly captured images of them. Kaye planned to make a film of the incident, starring Brando as the American vet, but the plans fell through when the two fell out over an acting video.
- The news agency Reuters, in an article about about Vanity Fair magazine's upcoming Hollywood issue, reported after his death that Brando repeatedly voiced objections to appearing in The Godfather (1972). According to Brando's friend Budd Schulberg, who won an Oscar writing the screenplay for On the Waterfront (1954), Brando repeatedly told his assistant Alice Marchak that he would not be in a film that glorified the Mafia. Schulberg said that Marchak pestered him to read the best-seller, and at one point he threw the book at her, saying, "For the last time, I won't glorify the Mafia!" However, Marchak noticed that Brando subsequently began toying with the idea of a mustache to play Don Corleone, at first drawing one on with an eyebrow pencil and asking her, "How do I look?" "Like George Raft," she replied. Marchak told Schulberg this went on for awhile, with Brando trying different mustaches, until he finally won the part after agreeing to a screen test. Among the actors he beat out for the role were Laurence Olivier, who was too sick to work on the film, and Burt Lancaster, who had offered to do a screen test for the role and was looked on favorably by Paramount brass.
- He was voted the 15th Greatest Movie Star of all time by Premiere Magazine.
- Was named #4 Actor on The 50 Greatest Screen Legends list by The American Film Institute
- Mentioned in the song "Risen Within" by MC Homicide featuring Paz.
- He constantly referred to his good friend Johnny Depp as "the most talented actor of his generation".
- His mother gave him an odd pet; a raccoon he named Russell.
- Liked to box. While performing as Stanley Kowalski in the stage version of "A Streetcar Named Desire", he would often persuade a member of the stage crew to spar with him in a room underneath the stage between his acts. During one of these impromptu boxing matches, Marlon's nose was broken so badly that it literally was split across its bridge. He managed to go on stage and finish the play, but was taken to the hospital immediately after.
- Believed that he could control stress in his life and physical pain through meditation. So sure he was of this, that he wanted to prove it. When he decided in the early nineties to be circumcised, he wanted the doctor to do the operation with no anesthesia so that he could show off this skill. The doctor refused because of medical ethics, but Brando underwent the operation anyway after receiving a painkilling shot in his back. Nevertheless, he wanted to show the doctors what he could do, and he asked them to take his blood pressure. Through meditation, he brought his blood pressure down more than 20 points.
- Elton John's song "Goodbye Marlon Brando" was inspired by the actor's retirement in 1980.
- His The Night of the Following Day (1968) co-star Richard Boone directed the final scenes of the film at the insistence of Brando as he could no longer tolerate what he considered the incompetence of director Hubert Cornfield. The film is generally considered the nadir of Brando's career.
- Is one of the many movie stars mentioned in Madonna's song "Vogue"
- At his death, he had an extensive library of thousands of books. Over 3,600 of his books were auctioned off in lots at a June 30, 2005 auction at Christie's New York.
- A collection of personal effects from Brando's estate fetched ,378,300 at a June 30, 2005 auction at Christie's New York. His annotated script from The Godfather (1972) was bought for a world record 2,800. "Godfather" memorabilia were the most sought-after items at the 6.5-hour auction, which attracted over 500 spectators and bidders and multiple telephone bids. Brando's annotated film script originally was figured to sell at between ,000 and ,000, but brought more than 20 times the high end of the pre-auction estimate. The previous record for a film script bought at auction was 4,500 for Clark Gable's Gone with the Wind (1939) script, which was auctioned at Christie's New York in 1996. A letter from "Godfather" writer Mario Puzo to Brando asking him to consider playing the role of Don Corleone in the movie version of his novel was bought for 2,000. A photograph of Brando and former lover Rita Moreno in The Night of the Following Day (1968), the only piece of film memorabilia he kept in his Mulholland Dr.home, was bought for ,000. A transcript of a telegram from Brando to Marilyn Monroe after her 1961 nervous breakdown was bought for ,000. His extensive library of over 3,600 books was sold in lots, some of which fetched over ,000; many of the books were annotated in Brando's own hand.
- Shortly before his death, his doctors had told him that the only way to prolong his life would be to insert tubes carrying oxygen into his lungs. He refused permission, preferring to die naturally.
- Was a licensed amateur (ham) radio operator with the call signs KE6PZH (his American license) and FO5GJ (is license for his home in French Polynesia). For both licenses, he used the name "Martin Brandeaux".
- Eleven children in all: Christian (b. 1958), Miko (b. 1960), Simon Tehotu (b. 1963), Rebecca (b. 1966), Cheyenne (1970-1995), Petra (b. 1972, adopted), Maimiti (b. 1976), Raiatua (b. 1981), Ninna Priscilla (b. 1989), Myles (b. 1992) and Timothy (b. 1994). The mother of his last three children was his maid, Christina Maria Ruiz.
- His decision to play the title role in The Island of Dr. Moreau (1996) turned out to be an offer that he definitely should have refused. He received the Worst Supporting Actor Razzie Award, beating Burt Reynolds, who was nominated for Striptease (1996), by a single vote. The vote was cast by Razzie award founder John Wilson, who always chooses to vote last.
- At the time of his death at the age of eighty, Brando had been suffering from congestive heart failure, advanced diabetes and pulmonary fibrosis (damage to the tissue inside the lungs resulting from a bout of pneumonia in 2001). Doctors had recently discovered a tumor inside his liver, but he died before they could operate to remove it.
- In a 1966 review of Brando's film The Chase (1966), film critic Rex Reed commented that "most of the time he sounds like he has a mouth full of wet toilet paper."
- Rode his own Triumph 6T Thunderbird, registration #63632, in The Wild One (1953).
- Contrary to popular belief, Brando was not an atheist. At the trial where he supposedly revealed his atheism and refused to swear upon a Bible, his actual words were, "While I do believe in God, I do not believe in the same way as others, so I would prefer not to swear on the Bible".
- Apocalypse Now (1979) was based on the novel "Heart of Darkness" by Joseph Conrad. Years after "Apocalypse Now" was released, a television film was made of Heart of Darkness (1994) (TV), which featured Ian McDiarmid in a small role. McDiarmid also appeared in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988), a remake of Bedtime Story (1964), a '60s comedy in which Brando appeared.
- Both of his Oscar-winning roles have been referenced in the Oscar-winning roles of Robert De Niro. DeNiro played the younger version of his character, Vito Corleone, in The Godfather: Part II (1974). Brando's first Oscar was for On the Waterfront (1954), where his famous lines were "I could been somebody. I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender." DeNiro imitates this monologue in Raging Bull (1980), which won him his second Oscar.
- When cast as Col. Kurtz in Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now (1979), Brando had promised to lose weight for the role. When he appeared on the set in the Philippines, he had lost none of the weight, so Coppola was forced to put Brando's character in the shadows in most shots.
- He did not like to sign autographs for collectors. Becuase of this, his own autograph became so valuable, that many checks he wrote went uncashed. His own signature on them was worth more than the value on the check itself.
- After clashing with French director Claude Autant-Lara, Brando walked off production of Rouge et le noir, Le (1954).
- In his 1976 biography "The Only Contender" by Gary Carey, Brando was quoted as saying, "Like a large number of men, I, too, have had homosexual experiences, and I am not ashamed."
- It was his idea for Jor-El to wear the "S" insignia as the family crest in Superman (1978).
- Is mentioned in Robbie Williams' song "Intensive Care"
- His performance as Terry Malloy in On the Waterfront (1954) is ranked #2 on Premiere Magazine's 100 Greatest Performances of All Time (2006).
- His performance as Paul in Ultimo tango a Parigi (1972) is ranked #27 on Premiere Magazine's 100 Greatest Performances of All Time (2006).
- Was the first male actor to break the million threshold when Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer offered him that amount to star in the remake of Mutiny on the Bounty (1962) (1962). Brando had turned down the lead role in David Lean's masterpiece Lawrence of Arabia (1962), which had been offered by producer Sam Spiegel, because he didn't like the lengthy shooting schedule. Ironically, "Bounty" itself wound up with an extensive shooting schedule due to a snail-pace schedule caused by a plethora problems due to location shooting. With overages due to the extended shoot, Brando pocketed .25 million for the picture (approximately million in 2005 dollars). Elizabeth Taylor had previously broken the million-dollar-mark for a single picture with her renegotiated contract for Cleopatra (1963). Both films went vastly over schedule and wildly over budget and wound up hemorrhaging potfuls of red ink despite relatively large grosses, though Taylor's flick outshone Brando's in the area of fiscal irresponsibility and wound up bankrupting its studio, 20th Century-Fox. Seventeen years later, after almost a decade of failure that caused him to be considered "box office poison" in the late 1960s/early 1970s (a string of flops that began with the failure of the "Bounty" remake), Brando became the highest paid actor in history with a .7-million up-front payment against a percentage of the gross for Superman (1978), a role that required his presence on the set for 12 days, plus an additional day for looping. Steve McQueen earlier had priced his services at million a picture but had gotten no takers (many in Hollywood at the time believed he had deliberately set his price that high so he could take some time off). Three million dollars was the price McQueen quoted Francis Ford Coppola for his services for Apocalypse Now (1979), but Coppola refused to meet his demands and McQueen stayed off the screen for four years. Brando later appeared in the Coppola film in what is a supporting performance for a leading man/superstar salary of at least million plus 8% of the gross over the negative cost. Brando made more money from his share of "Apocalypse Now" than from any other picture he appeared in; it financed his own retirement from the screen during the 1980s. After a decade off screen, so potent was the Brando name that he reportedly was paid over million (donated to charity) for a supporting role in the anti-apartheid drama A Dry White Season (1989). Even toward the end of his life, when most of his contemporaries other than Paul Newman were no longer stars (Tony Curtis's asking price reportedly had dropped to ,000 in the early 1990s) and could no longer command big money (Newman was the exception in that the financially secure super-star didn't ask for big money), Brando could still command a million salary for a supporting role in The Score (2001). At the dawn of the 21st Century, only the six-years-younger Sean Connery, whose stardom flared up and into life a decade after Brando's, was still a superstar among the actors born before the first Franklin Delano Roosevelt administration, commanding superstar wages ( million) for his last film, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003). Connery had set a record of his own when he demanded million for his return to Bonadage in Diamonds Are Forever (1971), half of which went to charity). With Brando's death, Connery's retirement and Newman's indifference to stardom (and his slipping into character roles), Clint Eastwood is the last of the septuagenarian and octogenarian lions. Michael Caine's career is still in high gear, but he never enjoyed the Top 10 Box Office superstar status of Brando, Newman, Connery and Eastwood.
- The Chase (1966) producer Sam Spiegel was quite fond of Brando, who won his first Best Actor Oscar in the Spiegel-produced Best Picture winner On the Waterfront (1954). When casting Brando in The Chase (1966), Spiegel was worried that motorcycle enthusiast Brando would kill himself like James Dean had, in an accident. (Brando had had lacerated his knee while biking before filming began.) Spiegel constantly queried "Chase" director Arthur Penn as to whether Brando had brought his motorbike with him to the filming. When Brando got wind of this, he had his motorcycle brought over to the set on a trailer and left on the lot to play a joke on Spiegel, who quickly arrived at the shooting to see that Brando didn't drive it. When Spiegel found out it was all a joke, the normally taciturn producer laughed heartily. Spiegel originally had acquired the property that became "The Chase" in the 1950s and wanted Brando to play the role of Jason 'Jake' Rogers and Marilyn Monroe to play his lover, Anna Reeves . By the time production began in 1965, Brando was too old to play the role of the son, and took the part of Sheriff Calder instead. Brando was paid 0,000 and his production company Pennebaker was paid a fee of 0,000. (Marlon's sister Jocelyn Brando also was cast in the small role of Mrs. Briggs.) Brando did not like the part, and complained that all he did in the picture was wander around. He began referring to himself as "The Old Lamplighter." However, many critics and cinephiles consider Sheriff Calder one of his best performances.
- According to Lawrence Grobel's "Conversations with Brando" (NY: Hyperion, 1991), Brando ultimately made million from Superman (1978). The Salkinds, producers of the movie, tried to buy out his share of the profits for million, but Brando refused and had to file a lawsuit to recover what was owed him.
- Was paid million for 10 days work on The Formula (1980) (approximately .5 million in 2005 terms). Brando told Lawrence Grobel ("Conversations with Brando") that the movie, which he only made for the money as he was broke, was ruined in the editing room, with the humor of his scenes cut out. In his autobiography, Brando -- in a caption for a picture from the film -- recounts that George C. Scott asked him during the shooting of the film whether he, Brando, would ever give the same line-reading twice. Brando replied, "I know you know a cue when you hear one." The two both played chess together during waits during the shooting. Scott said that Brando was not that good a player.
- Brando had to sue Francis Ford Coppola to get all the monies owed to him from his percentage of the profits of Apocalypse Now (1979). Brando characterized the people in the movie industry as "liars" to Lawrence Grobel (who conducted his 1979 Playboy interview): "Even Francis Coppola owed me one-and-a-half million and I have to sue him. They all do that, as they make interest on the money...so they delay paying.... It's all so ugly, I hate the idea of having to act, but there's no other way to do it."
- The producers of the film adaptation of Sir Peter Shaffer's play Equus (1977) were interested in casting either Brando or Jack Nicholson in the lead role of Dr. Martin Dysart. The part went instead to Richard Burton, who had to "screen-test" for the role by agreeing to appear in the play on Broadway. Burton did, got rave reviews and a special Tony award, and won his seventh and last Oscar nomination for the role. In his diary, Burton wrote that in the late 1950s, he was always one of the first actors producers turned to when Brando turned down a role.
- Became quite friendly with Elizabeth Taylor while shooting Reflections in a Golden Eye (1967). Brando agreed to pick up her Best Actress Award for Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966) from the New York Film Critics Circle. When Brando made his appearance at the NYFCC Award ceremony at Sardi's on January 29, 1967, he hectored the critics, querying them as to why they hadn't recognized Liz before. He then flew to Dahomey, Africa where Taylor was shooting The Comedians (1967) with husband Richard Burton to personally deliver the award. Brando later socialized with the Burtons, visiting them on their famous yacht the Kalizma, while they plied the Mediterreanean. Brando's ex-wife Anna Kashfi, in her book "Brando for Breakfast" (1979), claimed that Brando and Burton got into a fist-fight aboard the yacht, probably over Liz, but nothing of the incident appears in Burton's voluminous diaries. In his diaries, Burton found Brando to be quite intelligent but believed he suffered, like Liz did, from becoming too famous too early in his life. He recognized Brando as a great actor, but felt he would have been more suited to silent films due to the deficiency in his voice (the famous "mumble"). As a silent film star, Burton believed Brando would have been the greatest motion picture actor ever.
- His performance as Stanley Kowalski in _A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)_ is ranked #85 on Premiere Magazine's 100 Greatest Movie Characters of All Time.
- His performance as Terry Malloy in On the Waterfront (1954) is ranked #69 on Premiere Magazine's 100 Greatest Movie Characters of All Time.
- His monumental portrayal of Vito Corleone in the masterpiece _The Godfather (1972)_ is the #1 Greatest Movie Character of All Time in Premiere Magazine.
- Was unable to raise the million bail initially required of his son Christian Brando in the May 16, 1990 slaying of his sister Cheyenne's boyfriend Dag Drollett. After the holding of a two-day preliminary hearing in early August 1990, the presiding judge ruled that enough evidence had been presented to try Christian on first-degree murder charges. At this time, the judge refused to lower the million bail due to what he termed evidence of the Brando family's failure to cooperate with he court, specifically citing Cheyenne's flight from the United States to avoid helping the police investigation. However, two weeks later, the same judge reduced Christian's bail to million, which his father Marlon was able to post by putting up his Mulholland Drive house as collateral. Marlon soon accepted a cameo role in the film Christopher Columbus: The Discovery (1992) for million, according to Variety, the bible of the Hollywood trade papers.
- Brando's friend, the actor William Redfield, mentioned him prominently in the memoir he wrote about the 1964 stage production of Hamlet (1964/I) directed by John Gielgud and starring Richard Burton. In "Letters from an Actor" (1967, Viking Press), Redfield -- who played Guildenstern -- said that Brando had been considered the Great White Hope by his generation of American actors. That is, they believed that Brando's more naturalistic style, combined with his greatness as an actor, would prove a challenge to the more stylized and technical English acting paradigm epitomized by Laurence Olivier, and that Brando would supplant Olivier as the world's greatest actor. Redfield would tell Burton stories of Brando, whom the Welsh actor had not yet met. Refield sadly confessed that Brando, by not taking on roles such as Hamlet (and furthermore, by betraying his craft by abandoning the stage, thus allowing his instrument to be dulled by film work), had failed not only as an actor, but had failed to help American actors create an acting tradition that would rival the English in terms of expertise.
- He worked for union scale on the anti-apartheid film A Dry White Season (1989) with the proviso that the producers donate million (which would have been his normal fee) to charity. When Brando was interviewed by Connie Chung for her TV program "Saturday Night with Connie Chung" broadcast on October 7, 1989, he said was upset with the picture and mentioned the charitable gift the producers had made on his bequest to show his commitment to toppling apartheid in South Africa. Circa 1989, Brando could be generous as he appeared set financially for life due to his profit participation in Apocalypse Now (1979) and the million settlement he won from Superman (1978) producer Ilya Salkind. However, the defense of his son 'Christian Brando' (qc), who was arrested for murder on May 16, 1990, reportedly cost his father as much as million, so Brando was forced to go back to work after almost a decade away from the screen, but for the anti-apartheid picture and what he intended as his career swan-song, The Freshman (1990), for which he was paid million (approximately .7 million in 2005 dollars). When he died in 2004, Brando left an estate valued at more than million.
- Turned down the role of Butch Cassidy in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969).
- The very last film role that was ever offered to him was Rayburn in Man on Fire (2004), less than a year before he passed away. The role instead went to Christopher Walken.
- Turned down the role of Earl Partridge in Magnolia (1999).
- Turned down the role of the Headless Horseman in Sleepy Hollow (1999).
- Was considered by director Tim Burton for the role of The Penguin in Batman Returns (1992). Creator Bob Kane was relieved that Brando wasn't cast, as he was the "wrongest possible choice for the role."
- Keith Richards's son, Marlon Richards is named after him.
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