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Brando, Marlon

BRANDO, Marlon



Nationality: American. Born: Omaha, Nebraska, 3 April 1924. Education: Attended Shattuck Military Academy, Faribault, Minnesota; studied acting with Stella Adler, New School for Social Research, New York. Family: Married 1) Anna Kashfi, 1957 (divorced 1959), son: Christian Devil; 2) Maria Castaneda, 1960, children: Miko and Rebecca; children by Tarita Teriipaia: Teihotu and Tarita Zumi "Cheyenne" (deceased). Career: 1944—Broadway debut in role of Nels in I Remember Mama; 1947—stage stardom established by performance in A Streetcar Named Desire; 1950—film debut in The Men; 1959—founded Pennebaker Productions to produce One-Eyed Jacks; 1972—declined Academy Award for role in The Godfather, delegated Indian actress, Sasheen Littlefeather, to read statement accusing film industry of misrepresenting the American Indian; 1979—in TV mini-series Roots: The Next Generation. Awards: Best Actor, Cannes Festival, and Best Foreign Actor, British Academy, for Viva Zapata!, 1952; Best Foreign Actor, British Academy, for Julius Caesar, 1953; Best Actor Academy Award, Best Actor, New York Film Critics, and Best Foreign Actor, British Academy, for On theWaterfront, 1954; Best Actor Academy Award (declined), for The Godfather, 1972; Best Actor, New York Film Critics, for Last Tango in Paris, 1973. Address: Home: Tetiaroa Island, Tahiti.


Films as Actor:

1950

The Men (Zinneman) (as Ken)

1951

A Streetcar Named Desire (Kazan) (as Stanley Kowalski)

1952

Viva Zapata! (Kazan) (as Emiliano Zapata)

1953

Julius Caesar (Joseph L. Mankiewicz) (as Mark Antony)

1954

The Wild One (Benedek) (as Johnny); On the Waterfront (Kazan) (as Terry Malloy); Desiree (Koster) (as Napoleon Bonaparte)

1955

Guys and Dolls (Joseph L. Mankiewicz) (as Sky Masterton)

1956

The Teahouse of the August Moon (Daniel Mann) (as Sakini)

1957

Sayonara (Logan) (as Major Lloyd Gruver)

1958

The Young Lions (Dmytryk) (as Christian Diestl)

1960

The Fugitive Kind (Lumet) (as Val Xavier)

1962

Mutiny on the Bounty (Milestone) (as Fletcher Christian)

1963

The Ugly American (Englund) (as Harrison Carter MacWhite)

1964

Bedtime Story (Levy) (as Freddy)

1965

The Saboteur—Code Name Morituri (Morituri) (Wicki) (as Robert Crain)

1966

The Chase (Arthur Penn) (as Sheriff Calder); The Appaloosa (Southwest to Sonora) (Furie) (as Matt Fletcher)

1967

A Countess from Hong Kong (Chaplin) (as Ogden Mears); Reflections in a Golden Eye (Huston) (as Major Weldon Penderton)

1968

Candy (Marquand) (as Grindl)

1969

The Night of the Following Day (Cornfield) (as Bud); Burn! (Queimada!) (Pontecorvo) (as Sir William Walker)

1971

The Nightcomers (Winner) (as Peter Quint)

1972

The Godfather (Francis Ford Coppola) (as Don Vito Corleone)

1973

L'ultimo tango a Parigi (Last Tango in Paris) (Bertolucci) (as Paul)

1976

The Missouri Breaks (Arthur Penn) (as Robert E. Lee Clayton)

1978

Superman (Richard Donner) (as Jor-El, father of Superman)

1979

Apocalypse Now (Francis Ford Coppola) (as Colonel Kurtz)

1980

The Formula (Avildsen) (as Adam Steiffel)

1989

A Dry White Season (Palcy) (as Ian McKenzie)

1990

The Freshman (Andrew Bergman) (as Carmine Sabatina)

1992

Christopher Columbus: The Discovery (Glen) (as Tomas de Torquemada)

1995

Don Juan DeMarco (Leven) (as Dr. Jack Mickler)

1996

The Island of Dr. Moreau (Frankenheimer) (title role, + co-sc)



Film as Director:

1961

One-Eyed Jacks (+ ro as Rio)



Publications


By BRANDO: books—

Conversations with Brando, with Lawrence Grobel, New York, 1991.

Brando: Songs My Mother Taught Me, with Robert Lindsey, New York, 1994.


By BRANDO: articles—

"Brando's Oscar Speech," in Cineaste (New York), vol. 5, no. 4, 1973.

"The Complete Transcript of Brando's Speech at the First American Gala," in Interview (New York), January 1975.

Interview in Ciné Revue (Paris), 27 March 1980.

Film und Fernsehen (Potsdam), June 1990.


On BRANDO: books—

Zuckerman, Ira, The Godfather Journal, New York, 1972.

Carey, Gary, Brando, New York, 1973.

Jordan, René, Marlon Brando, New York, 1973.

Morella, Joe, Brando: The Unauthorized Bioraphy, New York, 1973.

Puzo, Mario, The Making of the Godfather, Greenwich, Connecticut, 1973.

Thomas, Bob, Marlon: Portrait of the Rebel as Artist, New York, 1973.

Thomas, Tony, The Films of Marlon Brando, Secaucus, New Jersey, 1973.

Shipman, David, Brando, London, 1974; rev. ed., as Marlon Brando, London, 1989.

Braithwaite, Bruce, The Films of Marlon Brando, 1977.

Brando, Anna Kashfi, and E. P. Stein, Brando for Breakfast, New York, 1979.

Downing, David, Marlon Brando, New York, 1984.

Carey, Gary, Marlon Brando: The Only Contender, New York, 1985.

Higham, Charles, Brando: The Unauthorized Biography, London and New York, 1987.

Nickens, Christopher, Brando: A Biography in Photographs, New York, 1987.

Fauser, Jorg, Marlon-Brando-Biographie, Hamburg, 1990.

Schickel, Richard, Brando: A Life in Our Times, New York, 1990.

McCann, Graham, Rebel Males: Clift, Brando, and Dean, London, 1991.

Mourousi, Yves, Le destin Brando, Paris, 1991.

Ryan, Paul, Marlon Brando: A Portrait, New York, 1991.

Bly, Nellie, Marlon Brando: Larger than Life, New York, 1994.

Manso, Peter, Brando: The Biography, New York, 1994.

Tanitch, Robert, Brando, London, 1994.

Haber, Mel, Bedtime Stories of the Legendary Ingleside Inn in Palm Springs, Palm Springs, California, 1996.

Schirmer, Lothar, Marlon Brando: Portraits & Film Stills: 1946–1995, New York, 1996.

Vergin, Roger C., Brando with His Guard Down, West Chester, Pennsylvania, 1997.


On BRANDO: articles—

Current Biography 1952, New York, 1952.

Houseman, John, "Filming Julius Caesar," in Films in Review (New York), April 1953 and Sight and Sound (London), July/September 1953.

Brinson, P., "The Brooder," in Films and Filming (London), October 1954.

Capote, Truman, "Marlon Brando," in Newsweek (New York), 9 November 1957.

Rush, B., "Brando—The Young Lion," in Films and Filming (London), March 1958.

Malden, Karl, "The 2 Faces of Brando," in Films and Filming (London), August 1959.

McVay, Douglas, "The Brando Mutiny," in Films and Filming (London), December 1962.

Steele, R., "Meet Marlon Brando," in Film Heritage (Dayton, Ohio), Fall 1966.

McGillivray, D., "Marlon Brando," in Focus on Film (London), Autumn 1972.

Haskell, Molly, articles on Brando in Village Voice (New York), 14 June 1973 through 30 August 1973.

Sarris, A., "A Tribute to Marlon Brando," in Film Comment (New York), May/June 1974.

Gow, G., "The Brando Boom," in Films and Filming (London), November 1974.

Bodeen, DeWitt, "Marlon Brando," in Films in Review (New York), December 1980.

Kael, Pauline, "Marlon Brando and James Dean," in The Movie Star, edited by Elisabeth Weis, New York, 1981.

Schickel, Richard, "Celebrity," in Film Comment (New York), January/February 1985.

Peary, Gerald, "The Wild One," in American Film (New York), June 1986.

Kram, Mark, "Brando," in Esquire (New York), November 1989.

Webster, Andy, filmography in Premiere (New York), October 1994.

Brodkey, Harold, "Translating Brando," in New Yorker, 24 October 1994.

Naremore, James, "Brando: Songs My Mother Taught Me, Brando: The Biography," in Cineaste (New York), vol. 21, no. 1–2, Winter/Spring 1995.

Bush, Lyall, "Doing Brando," in Film Comment (New York), January-February 1996.

Goldstein, R. "A Streetcar Named Meshuge," in Village Voice (New York), 23 April 1996.


* * *

Marlon Brando is the preeminent actor of American postwar cinema. In the early 1950s, he received Academy Award nominations for Best Actor in four successive years, and in 1954 won the Oscar for Best Actor for his performance in On the Waterfront. His portrayal of the leather-jacketed biker in The Wild One established an integral connection between rebellion, defiance, and sexual prowess, and made Brando a generation's symbol of masculinity. Brando himself studied the work of actors such as Spencer Tracy, Paul Muni, and Cary Grant, but for actors of his generation and beyond, it has been Brando who has served as the model.

Often considered America's greatest actor, Brando has, throughout his career, demonstrated a remarkable ability to reveal characters' contradictions. His portrayals of rebels such as Stanley Kowalski (A Streetcar Named Desire) and Terry Malloy (On the Waterfront) present us with brutish characters who possess an innate intelligence and fundamental nobility; his characterizations of figures such as Major Penderton (Reflections in a Golden Eye) and Sir William Walker (Burn!), men who understand and live by the rules of "civilized" society, become studies of personal disintegration and the devastating effects of power. Brando's skill in representing complex characters creates compelling and contradictory points of contact for spectators: in The Young Lions, Brando's portrayal of the young Nazi officer is disturbing for he is, at times, a sympathetic and attractive figure; in The Godfather, Brando's Don Corleone is both ruthless and kindhearted; in The Last Tango in Paris, Brando's representation of Paul mobilizes and lays siege to the image of masculinity Brando's early film roles helped to establish.

Brando studied with Stella Adler and came to Hollywood from Broadway after his performance in A Streetcar Named Desire caught the attention of the critics and the public. In an interview with Truman Capote in 1957, Brando explained that he intended to remain a film actor because "movies have the greatest potential. You can say important things to a lot of people. About discrimination and hatred and prejudice." Brando's work with Adler had instilled in him the belief that actors should have a point of view toward society, and we can get a sense of that view by looking at the parts he has chosen to play throughout his career (e.g. the Mexican revolutionary in Viva Zapata!), and the specific coloring he has given many of his characters (e.g. his portrayal of Fletcher Christian in Mutiny on the Bounty who, because of the forces of class and commerce, cannot live inside or outside the law).

The conventional wisdom is that Brando wasted his talents in the period between his auspicious beginning in the 1950s and his commercial and critical comeback in the 1970s (in films such as The Godfather and Last Tango in Paris). A more comprehensive consideration of his work suggests that is not the case. For example, in 1961, Brando directed and starred in One-Eyed Jacks, an effective ensemble piece and, in its reworking of Western formulas, an interesting (Hamlet-like) study of revenge. In 1970's Burn!, playing the part of the agent of imperial and capitalist aggression, Brando gave what he sees as his best performance. This role is especially illustrative of the actor's authorial control and ideological concerns, for in portraying Sir William, Brando candidly articulates why the British imperial forces will defeat the island's guerrilla army in a way that echoes, almost word for word, the speech he gives as Major Penderton when lecturing on military strategy in Reflections in a Golden Eye. Brando's performances in the late seventies, eighties, and nineties—for example, as Colonel Kurtz in Apocalypse Now, as Ian McKenzie in A Dry White Season, and as Tomas de Torquemada in Christopher Columbus—reveal his signature reshaping of material and his abiding (social) concerns.

Like other stars, Brando's work as an actor has been understood through and in terms of certain roles and highly publicized moments of his private life. Yet rather than focusing on the rebel roles of his early career or incidents that have provided fuel for gossip columnists, Brando's work should be considered as a whole, for as James Naremore points out, Brando's achievements are remarkable, and his performances reveal a negotiation between the contradictions of not only his own personality, but those of the culture as well. What is significant is that Brando has not simply continued to play the rebel throughout his career, but instead has put together a body of work that examines the exercise of power in all its troubling aspects.

—Cynthia Baron

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Marlon Brando

Marlon Brando

Beginning with his early career in the films of the 1950s, through his powerful roles in such classics as On the Waterfront, A Streetcar Named Desire, and The Godfather, Marlon Brando (born 1924) has captivated the American public with his intense on-screen presence, as well as with his personal life of controversy and excess.

Before James Dean, Marlon Brando popularized the jeans-and-T-shirt look, with and without leather jacket, as a movie idol during the early 1950s. The theatrically trained actor began to turn away from his youth-oriented persona with such movie roles as Mark Antony in Julius Caesar (1953). After winning an Academy Award for Best Actor for On the Waterfront (1954), he portrayed a wide variety of characters on-screen, garnering popular acclaim and critical consensus as one of the greatest cinema actors of the late twentieth century.

Early Career

Brando was born in Omaha, Nebraska, on April 3, 1924. He grew up in Illinois. After expulsion from a military academy, he dug ditches until his father offered to finance his education. Brando moved to New York to study with acting coach Stella Adler and at Lee Strasberg's Actors' Studio. While at the Actors' Studio, Brando adopted the "method approach, " which emphasizes characters' motivations for actions. He made his Broadway debut in John Van Druten's sentimental I Remember Mama (1944). New York theater critics voted him Broadway's Most Promising Actor for his performance in Truckline Cafe (1946). In 1947 he played his greatest stage role, Stanley Kowalski—the brute who rapes his sister-in-law, the fragile Blanche du Bois—in Tennessee Williams's A Streetcar Named Desire. As The New York Review surmised, "The rest is stardom and gossip and a small handful of wonderful films."

Hollywood beckoned to Brando, and he made his motion picture debut as a paraplegic World War II veteran in The Men (1950). Although he did not cooperate with the Hollywood publicity machine, he went on to play Kowalski in the 1951 film version of A Streetcar Named Desire, a popular and critical success that earned four Academy Awards. His next movie, Viva Zapata! (1952), with a script by John Steinbeck, traces Emiliano Zapata's rise from peasant to revolutionary to president of Mexico. Brando followed that with Julius Caesar and then The Wild One (1954), in which he played a motorcycle-gang leader in all his leather-jacketed glory. Next came his Academy Award winning role as a longshoreman fighting the system in On the Waterfront, a hard-hitting look at New York City labor unions.

Pinnacle

During the rest of the decade, Brando's screen roles ranged from Napoleon Bonaparte in Désirée (1954), to Sky Masterson in 1955's Guys and Dolls, in which he sang and danced, to a Nazi soldier in The Young Lions (1958). From 1955 to 1958 movie exhibitors voted him one of the top ten box-office draws in the nation. During the 1960s, however, his career had more downs than ups, especially after the MGM studio's disastrous 1962 remake of Mutiny on the Bounty, which failed to recoup even half of its enormous budget. Brando portrayed Fletcher Christian, Clark Gable's role in the 1935 original. Brando's excessive self-indulgence reached a pinnacle during the filming of this movie. He was criticized for his on-the-set tantrums and for trying to alter the script. Off the set, he had numerous affairs, ate too much, and distanced himself from the cast and crew. His contract for making the movie included $5, 000 for every day the film went over its original schedule. He made $1.25 million when all was said and done.

Brando's career was reborn in 1972 with his depiction of Mafia chieftain Don Corleone in The Godfather. He refused his Academy Award for Best Actor as a protest of Hollywood's treatment of Native Americans. Brando did not appear at the awards show to personally deny the trophy. Instead, a Native American Apache named Sacheen Littlefeather read his protest. However, in September of 1994, Brando told the broker in possession of the award, Marty Ingels, that he now wishes to own it. Ingels would not return it.

Brando proceeded the following year to the highly controversial yet highly acclaimed Last Tango in Paris, which was rated X. Since then Brando has received huge salaries for playing small parts in such movies as Superman (1978) and Apocalypse Now (1979). Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for A Dry White Season in 1989, Brando also appeared in The Freshman with Matthew Broderick. In 1995, he costarred in Don Juan DeMarco with Johnny Depp. Young people who have not seen Brando's amazing efforts in his early films will not find the same genius in his later movies. The small roles he has played do not demand the acting range for which he had once achieved so much praise. Janet Maslin of the New York Times, in her review of Don Juan DeMarco, wrote, "Mr. Brando doesn't so much play his role as play along." The critic added, "Don Juan DeMarco verges on the sad when its subject is vitality, since Mr. Depp's so clearly eclipses that of his co-star."

In early 1996 Brando costared in afilm called The Island of Dr. Moreau. Entertainment Weekly reported that the actor was using an earpiece to remember his lines. His costar in the film, David Thewlis, told the magazine that he was nonetheless still impressed by Brando. "When he walks into a room, " Thewlis noted, "you know he's around."

A Life of Turmoil and Self-Indulgence

There have been countless pages of print written about Brando's reclusive and self-indulgent lifestyle, including two books released in 1994: Brando: The Biography, by Peter Manso, and Brando: Songs My Mother Taught Me, by Marlon Brando with Robert Lindsey. The book by Marlon Brando is obviously the one he authorizes, but Manso's book is a result of seven years of research and interviews with more than a thousand people. Time magazine, though, questioned Manso's ethics in conducting such excessive research: "Driven to possess another man's life, Manso becomes the literary version of one of the late 20th century's scariest specimens, the celebrity stalker."

It has been observed that Brando has perhaps loved food and womanizing too much. His best acting performances are roles that required him to show a constrained and displayed rage and suffering. His own rage may have come from parents who did not care about him. Time magazine reported, "Brando had a stern, cold father and a dream-disheveled mother—both alcoholics, both sexually promiscuous—and he encompassed both their natures without resolving the conflict." Brando himself wrote in his autobiography, "If my father were alive today, I don't know what I would do. After he died, I used to think, 'God, just give him to me alive for eight seconds because I want to break his jaw."'

Brando's acting teacher, Stella Adler, is often credited with helping him become a brilliant actor. Brando said in a reprint of Manso's book presented in Premiere magazine, "If it hadn't been for Stella, may be I wouldn't have gotten where I am—she taught me how to read, she taught me to look at art, she taught me to listen to music."

Although Brando avoids speaking in details about his marriages, even in his autobiography, it is known that he has been married three times to three ex-actresses. He has at least 11 children ranging in age from two to thirty-eight. Five of the children are with his three wives, three are with his Guatemalan housekeeper, and the other three children are from other affairs. One of Brando's sons, Christian, told People magazine, "The family kept changing shape. I'd sit down at the breakfast table and say, 'Who are you?"' Christian is now at a state prison in California serving a 10-year sentence for voluntary manslaughter in the death of his sister's fiancee, Dag Drollet. He claimed Drollet was physically abusing his pregnant sister, Cheyenne. Christian said he struggled with Drollet and accidentally shot him in the face. Brando, in the house at the time, gave mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to Drollet and called 911. At Christian's trial, People reported one of Brando's comments on the witness stand, "I tried to be a good father. I did the best I could."

Brando's daughter, Cheyenne, was a troubled young woman. In and out of drug rehabilitation centers and mental hospitals for much of her life, she lived in Tahiti with her mother Tarita (one of Brando's wives whom he met on the set of Mutiny on the Bounty). People reported in 1990 that Cheyenne said of Brando, "I have come to despise my father for the way he ignored me as a child." After Drollet's death, Cheyenne became even more reclusive and depressed. A judge ruled that she was too depressed to raise her child and gave custody of the boy to her mother, Tarita. Cheyenne took a leave from a mental hospital on Easter Sunday in 1995 to visit her family. At her mother's home that day, Cheyenne, who had attempted suicide before, hanged herself.

Brando's years of self-indulgence are visible—he weighed well over 300 pounds in the mid-1990s. To judge Brando by his appearance and dismiss his work because of his later, less significant acting jobs, however, would be a mistake. His performance in A Streetcar Named Desire brought audiences to their knees, and his range of roles is a testament to his capability to explore many aspects of the human psyche. Brando seems perfectly content that his best work is behind him. As for his fans, they must accept that staying power is not what confirms the actor's brilliance.

Further Reading

Gary Cary, Marlon Brando: The Only Contender (London: Robson, 1985).

Christopher Nickens, Brando: A Biography in Pictures (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1987).

Richard Schickel, Brando: A Life in Our Times (New York: Atheneum, 1991). □

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Brando, Marlon

Marlon Brando

Born: April 3, 1924
Omaha, Nebraska

American actor

American actor Marlon Brando has fascinated the public with his intense onscreen presence. His film career began in the 1950s and has included powerful roles in such classic films as On the Waterfront, A Streetcar Named Desire, and The Godfather.

Early life

Marlon Brando was born in Omaha, Nebraska, on April 3, 1924. When he was six years old his family moved to Illinois. His father was a salesman and his mother acted in amateur plays. Brando did not have a happy family life. He frequently argued with his father. He also did poorly in school. Sports and dramatics were the only things that interested him. He failed all other subjects.

In an effort to control Brando and give him some discipline, his father sent him to a military school. Brando was seventeen years old at the time. He stayed there for almost three years, but he refused to respect authority and caused so much trouble that he was expelled in his senior year. Because of his behavior, Brando never graduated from high school. He has said that not having a high school education and diploma has always been a source of embarrassment for him.

The young actor

Brando returned to his family and ended up taking a job digging ditches. Finally his father offered to finance his education. Brando moved to New York, where one of his sisters was trying to become an actress. He began to study with the famous acting coach Stella Adler at the Actors' Studio, a very important acting school. While at the Actors' Studio, Brando learned the "method approach." In method acting actors are taught to draw on their own personal emotions and experiences as a way to portray their characters. Older acting systems relied heavily on teaching actors physical gestures as the way to express themselves.

Brando made his Broadway debut in I Remember Mama in 1944. The New York theater critics voted him Broadway's Most Promising Actor for his performance in 1946. In 1947 he played his greatest stage role, Stanley Kowalski in Tennessee Williams's (19111983) drama A Streetcar Named Desire.

Brando goes to Hollywood

Before James Dean (19311955), Marlon Brando popularized the jeans-and-T-shirt look, as a movie idol during the early 1950s. Hollywood was impressed with Brando, and in 1950 he made his motion picture debut as a severely injured war veteran in The Men. He went on to play Stanley Kowalski in the 1951 film version of A Streetcar Named Desire. The movie was both a popular and a critical success.

Brando played a variety of different characters over the next several years. In his next movie, Viva Zapata! (1952), he played Emiliano Zapata, who rose from being a peasant (a poor farmer) to becoming the president of Mexico. He was Marc Antony in the film version of William Shakespeare's (15641616) Julius Caesar (1953). He played a motorcyclegang leader in The Wild One (1954), portrayed Napoleon Bonaparte (17691821) in Désirée (1954), and sang and danced as Sky Masterson in the musical comedy Guys and Dolls (1955). Brando won his first Academy Award in 1954 for his role in On the Water-front, a hard-hitting look at New York City labor unions (a workers' group organized to help workers receive fair wages).

A period of decline

From 1955 to 1958 people in the movie industry always voted Brando as one of the top ten film attractions in the nation. During the 1960s, however, his career had more downs than ups. In 1962 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) studios decided to remake Mutiny on the Bounty, which had originally been filmed in 1935. The movie was a disaster at the box office. It failed to earn even half of its enormous budget (the money it cost to make it). Brando's excessive self-indulgence (spoiled behavior) reached its height during the filming of this movie. He was criticized for his tantrums (fits of bad temper) on the set and for trying to alter the script. Off the set he ate too much and would not associate with the cast and crew. For the rest of the 1960s Brando acted in several movies, but none of them was considered to be of very high quality.

Second rise

Brando's career was reborn in 1972 with his portrayal of Mafia (a secret, criminal organization) leader Don Corleone in The Godfather. He won his second Oscar for that role, but he refused to accept it because of how he felt Hollywood showed Native Americans in its movies. Brando did not appear at the Academy Awards ceremony to personally deny the trophy. Instead, he had a Native American Apache woman named Sacheen Littlefeather read his protest. In 1994 Brando changed his mind and tried to get the gold Oscar statuette, but his request was denied.

Life after the Oscar

Brando continued to work in many films after The Godfather, both as a star and in smaller roles in dramas and comedies. Critics have said that both the movies themselves as well as Brando's performances have been of very uneven quality. Young people who have not seen Brando's amazing efforts in his early films will not find the same genius in his later movies. The small roles he has played do not demand the acting range for which he had once achieved so much praise.

A life of turmoil

The unhappy family life Brando had as a child has been mirrored in his own family life as an adult. He has had many failed marriages and has experienced personal tragedy from the actions of two of his children. A son served time in prison for manslaughter and a daughter committed suicide.

Brando's years of self-indulgence are visible. He overate until he weighed well over three hundred pounds in the mid-1990s. However, to judge Brando by his appearance today and dismiss his work because of his later, less significant acting jobs, would be a mistake. The range of the roles he played is a testament to his ability to explore many aspects of the human psyche (mind). Brando seems perfectly content knowing his best work is behind him. He still remains an influence for actors today, and has won popular acclaim and critical consensus as one of the greatest cinema actors of the late twentieth century.

For More Information

Cary, Gary. Marlon Brando: The Only Contender. London, England: Robson, 1985.

Nickens, Christopher. Brando: A Biography in Pictures. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1987.

Schickel, Richard. Brando: A Life in Our Times. New York, NY: Atheneum, 1991.

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Brando, Marlon

Marlon Brando, 1924–2004, American film actor, often described as the greatest of his generation, b. Omaha, Nebr. Regarded as the foremost practitioner of "method" acting as taught by American disciples of Constantin Stanislavsky at New York's Actor's Studio (he studied with Stella Adler), the young Brando combined a rough sex appeal with a powerful immediacy and a naturalistic performance style that revolutionized and transformed the art of screen acting. His stage reputation was firmly established with his Broadway performance as Stanley Kowalski in Tennessee Williams's A Streetcar Named Desire (1947), a role he later committed to film (1951). He made his film debut as a bitter paraplegic veteran in The Men (1950). His other early film roles included an idealistic Mexican revolutionary in Viva Zapata! (1952), Marc Antony in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar (1953), a motorcycle-riding rebel in The Wild One (1953), a battered dockworker in On the Waterfront (1954; Academy Award), and Sky Masterson in Guys and Dolls (1955).

Brando made his directorial debut with One-Eyed Jacks (1961), in which he also starred. In the late 1950s and 60s he appeared in a number of mainly forgettable movies, but in 1972 he again was widely acclaimed for his performances in two very different films: Francis Ford Coppola's The Godfather, in which he played a Mafia patriarch and for which he won (and subsequently refused) the Academy Award, and Bernard Bertolucci's Last Tango in Paris, an erotic tour de force that created considerable controversy on its release. Brando continued to appear in many films, including in supporting roles in Missouri Breaks (1976), Apocalypse Now (1979), A Dry White Season (1988), and The Freshman (1990) and as a costar in Don Juan DeMarco (1995), The Brave (1997), and The Score (2001).

See his autobiography (1994); L. Grobel, Conversations with Brando (rev. ed. 1999); biographies by D. Downing (1984), N. Bly (1994), P. Manso (1994), P. Ryan (1994), R. Schickel (rev. ed. 1999), P. Bosworth (2001), S. Kanfer (2008), and S. L. Mizruchi (2014); studies by T. Thomas (1973), B. Braithwaite (1977), R. Tanitch (1994), and S. Arecco (2007).

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Brando, Marlon

Brando, Marlon (1924–2004) US actor. A brooding presence with an inimitable mumbling vocal style, he trained at the Actors' Studio. In 1951, a reprise of his Broadway role for the film A Streetcar Named Desire earned him the first of four consecutive Oscar nominations. He finally won his first best actor Oscar as the isolated docker in On the Waterfront (1954). By the end of the 1950s, he was the first actor to command a million-dollar appearance fee. He was awarded a second Best Actor Oscar for his lead performance in The Godfather (1971), but refused the award in protest against the persecution of Native Americans. He received another Oscar nomination for The Last Tango in Paris (1972). Other supporting credits include Missouri Breaks (1976), Apocalypse Now (1979), and an Oscar-nominated performance in A Dry White Season (1989).

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