Marlon Brando
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LOS ANGELES (AP) - Marlon Brando, who revolutionized American acting with his Method performances in "A Streetcar Named Desire" and "On the Waterfront" and went on to create the iconic character of Don Vito Corleone in "The Godfather," has died. He was 80.

Brando died at an undisclosed Los Angeles hospital Thursday, attorney David J. Seeley said Friday. The cause of death was being withheld, Seeley said, noting the actor "was a very private man."

Brando, whose unpredictable behavior made him equally fascinating off the screen, was acclaimed the greatest actor of his generation, a two-time winner of the Academy Award who influenced some of the best actors of the generation that followed, among them Al Pacino, Robert De Niro and Jack Nicholson.

He was the unforgettable embodiment of the brutish Stanley Kowalski of "A Streetcar Named Desire," the mixed up Terry Malloy of "On the Waterfront" (which won him his first Oscar) and the wily Corleone of "The Godfather."

But his private life may best be defined by a line from "The Wild One," in which Brando, playing a motorcycle gang leader, is asked what he's rebelling against.

"Whattaya got?" was his famous reply.

His image was a studio's nightmare. Millions of words were written about his weight, his many romances and three marriages, his tireless - and, for some, tiresome - support of the American Indian and other causes, his battles with film producers and directors, his refuge on a Tahitian isle.

His most famous act of rebellion was his refusal in 1973 to accept the best actor Oscar for "The Godfather." Instead, he sent a woman who called herself Sasheen Littlefeather to read a diatribe about Hollywood's treatment of Native Americans.

It was roundly booed.

Brando's private life turned tragic years later with his son's conviction for killing the boyfriend of his half sister, Cheyenne Brando, in 1990. Five years later, Cheyenne committed suicide, still depressed over the killing.

Still, the undying spotlight never made him conform. "I am myself," he once declared, "and if I have to hit my head against a brick wall to remain true to myself, I will do it."

Nothing could diminish his reputation as an actor of startling power and invention.

Starting with Kowalski in the stage version of "A Streetcar Named Desire" and a startling series of screen portrayals, Brando changed the nature of American acting.

Schooled at the Actors Studio in New York, he created a naturalism that was sometimes derided for its mumbling, grungy attitudes. But audiences were electrified, and a new generation of actors adopted his style.

Marlon Brando Jr. came from the American heartland, born in Omaha, Neb., on April 3, 1924. He was a distant, conservative man of French, English and Irish stock; the original family name was Brandeau.

His mother, the former Dorothy Pennebaker, was small, willowy, compassionate and filled with creative energy. Her ambitions often were unrealized, and she underwent periods of problem drinking. She had given birth to two daughters, Frances and Jocelyn, before Marlon was born.

He grew up a pudgy, mischievous boy who was called Bud to distinguish him from his father. Jocelyn was charged with getting Bud to kindergarten, a difficult task. She solved it by leading him on a leash.

Young Marlon first became exposed to the theater through his mother, who became a leader and occasional actress in the Omaha Community Playhouse. When a leading man dropped out of a play, she pleaded with a young neighbor just home from college to take the role. Henry Fonda reluctantly agreed. Mrs. Brando also encouraged another young Omaha native, Dorothy McGuire.

The lives of Dorothy Brando and her children were upset when the father was transferred to Evanston, Ill., when Bud was 6. The family later moved to Santa Ana, Calif., and finally to Libertyville, Ill.

Bud was constantly being reprimanded for misbehavior at school, infuriating his father. The boy also displayed a talent for playacting, both in elaborate pranks and in plays and recitations. He proved a skilled pantomimist, especially in his depiction of the death of John Dillinger.

His exasperated father sent the boy to military school in an effort to instill discipline. He was expelled. Unable to join the war because of 4-F status, Brando at 19 moved to New York and stayed with his sister Frances, an art student.

Jocelyn Brando studied acting with Stella Adler, and Marlon decided to join her. It changed his life. After a week with the young man, Adler declared: "Within a year, Marlon Brando will be the best young actor in the American theater."

It took longer. He appeared in such plays as "I Remember Mama," "A Flag is Born" (a Jewish pageant with Paul Muni) and "Truckline Cafe." The latter was directed by Elia Kazan, who would remember him for "A Streetcar Named Desire" in 1947.

The Tennessee Williams made Brando famous, and his first signs of discomfort emerged. The press made much of his motorcycle, leather jackets and T-shirts, his bongo drum playing. He hated the clamor of fans and suffered through interviews.

The image of Stanley seemed to have fallen on Brando, and he once protested to an interviewer: "Kowalski was always right, and never afraid. He never wondered, he never doubted. His ego was very secure. And he had the kind of brutal aggressiveness that I hate. I'm afraid of it. I detest the character."

Brando suffered through the tedium of his two-year contract with "Streetcar," and he never appeared in another play. For his first film he declined several big studio offers and joined independent Stanley Kramer for "The Men" in 1950. To research the story of paraplegic war veterans, he spent a month in a Veterans Administration hospital.

His impact on screen acting was demonstrated by Academy nominations as best actor in four successive years: as Kowalski in "A Streetcar Named Desire" (1951); as the Mexican revolutionary in "Viva Zapata!" (1952); as Marc Anthony in "Julius Caesar" (1953); and as Terry Malloy in "On the Waterfront" (1954). The latter brought his first Oscar.

Although he remained in Hollywood, he refused to be part of it.

"Hollywood is ruled by fear and love of money," he told a reporter. "But it can't rule me because I'm not afraid of anything and I don't love money."

His films after "Waterfront" failed to challenge his unique talent. Most were commercial enterprises: "Desiree," "Guys and Dolls," "The Teahouse of the August Moon," "Sayonara," "The Young Lions." He tried directing himself in a Western, "One-eyed Jacks," going wildly over budget.

A remake of "Mutiny on the Bounty" in 1962, with Brando as Fletcher Christian, seemed to bolster his reputation as a difficult star. He was blamed for a change in directors and a runaway budget though he disclaimed responsibility for either.

The "Bounty" experience affected Brando's life in a profound way: he fell in love with Tahiti and its people. Tahitian beauty Tarita who appeared in the film became his third wife and mother of two of his children. He bought an island, Tetiaroa, which he intended to make part environmental laboratory and part resort.

Although he remained a leading star, Brando's career waned in the '60s with a series of failures. He was impressive, however, in several movies, among them the comedy "Bedtime Story" and the John Huston drama "Reflections in a Golden Eye."

His box office power seemed finished until Francis Coppola chose him to play Mafia leader Don Corleone in "The Godfather" in 1972. The film was an overwhelming critical and commercial success and Brando's jowly, raspy-voiced Don became one of the screen's most unforgettable characters.

"I don't think the film is about the Mafia at all," Brando told Newsweek. "I think it is about the corporate mind. In a way, the Mafia is the best example of capitalists we have."

The actor followed with "Last Tango in Paris." One of his greatest performances was overshadowed by an uproar over the erotic nature of the Bernardo Bertolucci film.

In his memoir, "Songs My Mother Taught Me," Brando wrote of being emotionally drained by "Last Tango," an improvised film which included several autobiographical speeches.

Most of his later films were undistinguished. One hundred pounds heavier, he hired himself out at huge salaries for such commercial enterprises as "Superman" and "Christopher Columbus: The Discovery."

He was more effective as the insane army officer in Coppola's "Apocalypse Now" and parodying his "Godfather" role in the hit comedy "The Freshman."

His crusades for civil rights, the American Indian and other causes kept him in the public eye throughout his career. So did his romances and marriages. He married actress Anna Kashfi in 1957, believing her to be East Indian. She was revealed to be Irish, and they separated a year later.

In 1960 he married a Mexican actress, Movita, who had appeared in the first "Mutiny on the Bounty." They were divorced after he met Tarita. All three wives were pregnant when he married them. He had nine children.

In May 1990, Brando's first son, Christian, shot and killed Dag Drollet, 26, the Tahitian lover of Christian's half sister Cheyenne, at the family's hilltop home above Beverly Hills. Christian, 31, claimed the shooting was accidental.

After a heavily publicized trial, Christian was found guilty of voluntary manslaughter and use of a gun. He was sentenced to 10 years.

Before the sentencing, Marlon Brando delivered an hour of rambling testimony in which he said he and his ex-wife had failed Christian. He commented softly to members of the Drollet family: "I'm sorry. ... If I could trade places with Dag, I would. I'm prepared for the consequences."

Afterward, Drollet's father said he thought Marlon Brando was acting and his son was "getting away with murder."

The tragedy was compounded in 1995, when Cheyenne, said to still be depressed over Drollet's death, committed suicide. She was 25.

Details about funeral plans weren't disclosed and Seeley said arrangements would be private.


Copyright © 2004 The Associated Press



To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in Houston Chronicle on Jul. 2, 2004.
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MEMORIES & CONDOLENCES
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50 entries
July 6, 2018
May you finally rest in peace, we will all see you when we get there.
Charlz Brando Hepburn
September 10, 2016
I've loved you since I first saw you in The Wild One in June 1962. I was only 11 but have never forgotten you & couldn't care less about what the tabloids said about you. You will always be my dreamers dream. ♪♫♪♫
Glenna
July 8, 2016
Thank you for sharing a part of your life with us. Godspeed.
Harry Simpson
July 3, 2016
MUCH TRAGEDY.... MUCH TRIUMPH....THROUGH IT ALL.... MUCH BRILLIANCE.....THANKS FOR BEING EXCEPTIONAL
Valenda Newell
March 7, 2016
Never forgotten, Rest in Peace sir.
Allison Dupont
February 12, 2015
Thank you Brian for your wonderful and touching words and your memory of my father. xoxo :)
February 9, 2015
Genius.
brian griffin
February 9, 2015
Thank you Marlon for leaving your amazing daughter Lisa behind, she is an inspiration to me every single day of my life.
Wallace Ductapp
February 9, 2015
R.I.P. Marlon Brando .I fell in love and had a crush on you when I was a little girl especially when you was in."On the waterfront" I thought you was a beautiful man..Loved you in all your movies especially as Vito Corleone...Great actor!!! He is truly missed by all especially his family and close friends..
Judy Durbin
February 7, 2015
To Marlon Brando,
You were a very good actor in the Movie the Godfather Parts 1and 2, and the Freshmen. My prayers go to your family and friends. Lisa Weiner
Lisa Weiner
October 30, 2014
Lisa Brando
I love you Dad. You are gone but not forgotten. Mom is with you now so I know you both are entertaining the angels in heaven. Heaven is lucky to have you. RIP
Lisa Brando
March 5, 2014
Undoubtebly the greatest actor of our time may you rest in peace throughout eternity.
Andreas Soteriou
March 4, 2014
You were a great men.
Rest in Peace.
Angelina
September 11, 2013
You'll always be Kal-El's father & Sky Masterson to me! Peace & <3 from Buffalo
May 2, 2013
A Great Actor Whom I Love. May You Rest IN Peace With The LORD.
Donna Visconti
March 10, 2013
To Marlon Brando,
You were a great actor. You did a great job in the movie the Godfather Parts 1, 2, and 3. etc, My prayers are with you and your family. Lisa Weiner
Lisa Weiner
March 2, 2013
Rest In Peace, Mr. Brando. I Always Enjoyed Your Film Works. See You On The Other Side.
Richard Owen
May 18, 2012
KATHY AND BUDDY BARNETT
January 12, 2012
one of my favorite movies other than the God Father was a Street Car Named Desire & you was so handsome and a brillant actorm, could play any role Mr. Brando I love you and miss you. May God Bless you & Keep You, RIP
Tandra Watts
March 14, 2011
From "The Godfather" to "Mutiny On The Bounty" A constant inspiration. May your Memory be Eternal!
Rev. Dr. Nicholas V. Gamvas
September 27, 2010
May the God of comfort and tender mercies continue to comfort your family and friends, and may you find comfort in the words found in the Holy Scriptures: "And he will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away."" Please accept my sincere condolences during this time of your loss.
C. M.
September 17, 2010
Marlon Brando, will always live on threw his movies, & I'LL always remember him turning down his OSCAR, over the way the Native Americans were treated @ WOUNDED KNEE, S.D., I applauded you then & still do to this day. R.I.P.
SHERRY GUNNELL
August 30, 2010
To the family: May the comfort from family and friends continue to strengthen you, and may you find comfort in the words found in the Holy Scriptures: "And he will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away."
March 11, 2010
I just finished watching, Desiree, one of my favorite Marlon Brando's movie, it's a classic, God, please continue to bless the family.
Cynthia, Liverpool, NY
March 9, 2010
For Marlon...

WEEP NOT FOR ME


Do not weep for me when I no longer dwell among the wonders of the earth; for my larger self is free, and my soul rejoices on the other side of pain...on the other side of darkness.

Do not weep for me, for I am a ray of sunshine that touches your skin, a tropical breeze upon your face, the hush of joy within your heart and the innocence of babes in mothers arms.

I am the hope in a darkened night. And, in your hour of need, I will be there to comfort you. I will share your tears, your joys, your fears, your disappointments and your triumphs.

Do not weep for me, for I am cradled
in the arms of God. I walk with the angels, and hear the music beyond the stars.

Do not weep for me, for I am within you;
I am peace, love, I am a soft wind that caresses the flowers. I am the calm that follows a raging storm. I am an autumns leaf that floats among the garden of God, and I am pure white snow that softly falls upon your hand.

Do not weep for me, for I shall never die, as long as you remember me...
with a smile and a sigh.


© Joe Fazio
~
jfazio@gmail.com /Joe Fazio,
Beverly Hills, California
March 6, 2010
On the Waterfront was one of the first movies I ever saw and will always him that way, a wonderful actor.
Karla Masters
February 27, 2010
Watched a great movie today with Marlon & ..Matthew Broderick.Miss Marlon still.
Sharon Darr
December 4, 2009
Marlon Brando:

Marlon Brando was from Omaha, Nebraska and lived a life most would envy.

Sad that his senior years were so sad, that no parent should ever suffer.

Yet, he apparently lived his life as he pleased, and for that, no one can ever question.

Omaha still claims him as one of our own.

Rest in peace.
cheri weiner
November 18, 2009
I miss you my TURTLE...I miss your laughter. Tears still roll down my face.. love you always... her royal highness!!!!
November 12, 2009
Miss you Sean Dallas Malle... Interesting last name you picked.. Why such saddness.. One will never know.. Was this your Turtle making hisn own way. But your with your family now.
Light Love and Laughter Indeed!!!!

Love Always, Sister side of me..
Sister Dallas
August 11, 2009
sean dallas malle r.i.p.
May 31, 2009
Dear Mr. Brando

right now im 13 years old i have seen 3 of your movies and all great acting. I have instantly become a fan of yours and i forever will be.
I look forward in seeing each and everyone of your films.
Tell James i say hello.
Jean-Luc osorio
May 31, 2009
Jean-Luc Osorio
May 29, 2009
Marlon Brando, You are by far the greatest actor their has and will ever be. You will be extremely missed but never forgotten you will shine forever. RIP You are the best!!! xoxo
Marjorie Osorio
October 2, 2008
Marlon Brando,
What great memories you have left us! You went to drama school with the best, Karl Malden, James Dean, and Paul Newman. "The Godfather" is one of my favorite all-time movies along with "Brokeback Mountain", "Gone With The Wind", "Its a Wonderful Life" and "Hud", "In the Heat of the Night" and "Glory" to name a few. America has lost alot of superstars, young and seasoned to join you so that you all came reminisce. Heath Ledger and Mr. Paul Newman have joined you in the last 9 months. You son, Christian, has come along to bring you company. May your remaining family members find comfort in the days ahead. The world loved you but God needed you more for his divine purposes. May you rest in peace until we meet up beyond the skies.
Mary Jeffers
September 8, 2007
Mr. Brando is such an enormously talented, BRILLIANT, inspirational man. He was a sweet, gentle, giving, genorous man. He means SOO much to me. He's an extremely veratile actor. He does accents flawlessly. He's
Mfan0825
August 28, 2007
Mr. Brando was a distinguished actor. As his loving family and friends continue to reflect on his life, may we all be encouraged by the Christ who said "all those in the memorial tombs will hear his voice and come out".
WESTBROOK
July 1, 2007
Forever in my thoughts, always a place in my heart..I am greatful for having known you for the brief time I did. Your acting brilliance will remain a part of history.
I send you smiles on your third year of freedom and peace.Joanie
joanie algeri
March 22, 2007
I know Marlon Brando will be missed by all his fans. I loved all his GodFather movies and him as an actor as well. I know he is in a better place and would love to see all the names left by all who loved him so much. God Bless you my friend
Jamie Lockridge
November 28, 2006
I met and spoke with you on three occations when you lived in new York City as I did. I was 18 yrs old, and to this day you have always remained in my heart.
So intellergent,nice, and with a beautiful smile. I'll always miss you sweeet prince.
joan agelire
October 13, 2006
rip we miss u
best actor
September 24, 2006
Scott Chamberland
August 18, 2006
Goodnight sweet Prince, you made my heart smile. For me, there will never be another.
Louella Kamkar
July 21, 2006
Hello!
He is really for being metion all the time, this world has rarely people like he was an actor.
hello Bill and Faton
Mentor Dulaj
May 30, 2006
Hi all, He was very Modest actor
Faton Hoti
April 19, 2006
A catalyst for continuous change during his lifetime ... Thank-You all for remembering ...
B. A. Brando-Wilmot
April 8, 2006
Marlon Brando was and always will be the best actor of any I have ever seen. I started buying movie magazines with him in them in the early l950's. A Streetcar Named Desire is my all time favorite movie ever.
Uuno Kanto
February 16, 2006
Marlon will be missed terribly. He was the best actor of all times and also insperational to his younger viewers. I wish i could have known him personally but he will live on in all of us. My deepest thoughts and sympathy go to his family and friends. love tammie xo
Tammie Dryer
January 1, 2006

Sympathy to The Great Actor's family and friends.
Marlon, you will be the greatest wherever you travel. Thanks for the memories.
Mary Jo Novelli
November 21, 2005
My dad name me after him since then I start following his movies
Jose Marlon Ramirez
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