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Marlon Brando

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Also Known As: Marlon Brando Jr. Died: July 1, 2004
Born: April 3, 1924 Cause of Death: lung condition
Birth Place: Omaha, Nebraska, USA Profession: actor, producer, director, elevator operator

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Widely regarded as the greatest actor of his generation, Marlon Brando crafted several of the most iconic characterizations in the history of cinema, a legacy that remained undiminished, despite the heartbreaking trajectory his personal life took in later years. One of Hollywood's earliest "method" actors, Brando leapt from the New York stage to film notoriety with his electrifying portrayal of the brutish Stanley Kowalksi in director Elia Kazan's adaptation of "A Streetcar Named Desire" (1951). The roles that followed - in films such as "The Wild One" (1953) and "On the Waterfront" (1954) - were primeval displays of the human condition, never before seen quite that raw on film, that would go on to inspire future acting giants such as Robert De Niro and Jack Nicholson. While still in demand with the studios, Brando's success at the box office gradually began to decline, even as stories of his eccentricities and difficult on-set behavior grew to mythical proportions. Just as it seemed the actor would be relegated to the status of Hollywood has-been, Brando enjoyed an unprecedented career rebirth with his Oscar-winning portrayal of Don Corleone in Francis Ford Coppola's "The Godfather" (1972). Then, in...

Widely regarded as the greatest actor of his generation, Marlon Brando crafted several of the most iconic characterizations in the history of cinema, a legacy that remained undiminished, despite the heartbreaking trajectory his personal life took in later years. One of Hollywood's earliest "method" actors, Brando leapt from the New York stage to film notoriety with his electrifying portrayal of the brutish Stanley Kowalksi in director Elia Kazan's adaptation of "A Streetcar Named Desire" (1951). The roles that followed - in films such as "The Wild One" (1953) and "On the Waterfront" (1954) - were primeval displays of the human condition, never before seen quite that raw on film, that would go on to inspire future acting giants such as Robert De Niro and Jack Nicholson. While still in demand with the studios, Brando's success at the box office gradually began to decline, even as stories of his eccentricities and difficult on-set behavior grew to mythical proportions. Just as it seemed the actor would be relegated to the status of Hollywood has-been, Brando enjoyed an unprecedented career rebirth with his Oscar-winning portrayal of Don Corleone in Francis Ford Coppola's "The Godfather" (1972). Then, in a one-two punch, he left audiences speechless with his animalistic and explicitly sexual performance in Bernardo Bertolucci's "Last Tango in Paris" (1973). Increasingly, Brando's professional output became sporadic, remarkable mainly for his high-priced cameo as Jor-El in "Superman" (1978) and a truly bizarre turn as the mad Col. Kurtz in Coppola's wartime opus, "Apocalypse Now" (1979). Although the later decades of his life were remembered more for a series of personal tragedies and the degradation of his once impressive physique, nothing could overshadow the scope and artistic brilliance of the body of work Brando had committed to film in a career that spanned more than 50 years.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
  One-Eyed Jacks (1961) Director

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Always Brando (2010)
2.
 Superman Returns (2006)
3.
 Naqoyqatsi (2002)
4.
5.
 Score, The (2001) Max Baron
6.
 Brave, The (1997) Mr Mccarthy
7.
 Island of Dr. Moreau, The (1996) Dr Moreau
8.
 Don Juan de Marco (1994) Dr Jack Luchsinger
9.
 Christopher Columbus: The Discovery (1992) Tomas De Torquemada
10.
 The Freshman (1990) Carmine Sabatini
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1930:
Moved to Libertyville, Illinois
1942:
Worked as an elevator operator at Best & Company in New York for one week
1943:
Acted in little scenes to illustrate Dramatic Workshop teacher John Gassner's lectures
1944:
Debut stage performance in the dual roles of a school teacher and a dark angel in Erwin Piscator's production of Gerhardt Hauptman's "Hannele's Way to Heaven"
1944:
Appeared with a troupe of Dramatic Workshop students in summer stock in Sayville, New York
1944:
Broadway acting debut in "I Remember Mama"
1946:
Played a psychologically maimed war veteran in the short-lived Broadway drama, "Truckline Cafe"; first brought to the attention of Elia Kazan who produced the play
1946:
Performed in the Broadway production of "Candida" opposite Katharine Cornell
1946:
Played a heroic freedom fighter for the state of Israel in Ben Hecht's play, "A Flag is Born"
1947:
First leading role on Broadway in "A Streetcar Named Desire"; offered star-making turn as Stanley Kowalski opposite Jessica Tandy as Blanche DuBois
1949:
TV debut in the "I'm No Hero" segment of ABC's "Actors Studio"
:
First screen test for a film titled "Rebel Without a Cause" (not the same as the James Dean film)
1950:
Film acting debut, playing a paraplegic war veteran in "The Men"
1951:
Reprised stage role of Stanley in film version of "A Streetcar Named Desire"; received first of four consecutive Best Actor Academy Award nominations; was only one of the four nominated principals (Vivien Leigh, Kim Hunter and Karl Malden) not to win an Oscar
1952:
Earned second Best Actor Oscar nod in the title role of "Viva Zapata!"
:
After clashing with French director Claude Autant-Lara, walked off production of "The Red and the Black"
1953:
Offered impressive turn as Marc Antony in "Julius Caesar"; earned third Academy Award nomination
1953:
Made last stage appearance in a summer stock tour of "Arms and the Man"
1954:
Delivered generationally signature performance as the motorcycle-riding rebel in "The Wild One"
1954:
Won Best Actor Oscar for performance as washed-up fighter Terry Malloy in "On the Waterfront"
1955:
Portrayed gambler Sky Masterson in the movie version of the hit musical "Guys and Dolls"
1956:
Played an Okinawan in the feature version of the Broadway play "The Teahouse of the August Moon"
1957:
Portrayed a Korean war pilot who falls in love with a Japanese entertainer in "Sayonara"; earned fifth Best Actor Academy Award nomination
1959:
Formed Pennebaker Productions (named after his mother's maiden name) to produce films that would "explore the themes current in the world today"
1960:
Headlined the film version of Tennessee Williams' play "Orpheus Descending"; later renamed "The Fugitive Kind"
1961:
Feature directorial debut, "One-Eyed Jacks"; took over direction from Stanley Kubrick; also producing debut and had a starring role
1962:
Headlined the expensive remake of "Mutiny on the Bounty" playing Fletcher Christian
1963:
Sold Pennebaker Productions to Universal for a reported $1 million in exchange for a certain number of films to be made for Universal on a non-exclusive basis
1965:
Participated in the Selma, Alabama and the Washington DC civil rights marches
1966:
Was subject of the documentary, "Meet Marlon Brando"; filmed by the Maysles brothers
1967:
Directed by Charlie Chaplin in the misfire "The Countess From Hong Kong"
1968:
Acted in the then-controversial film "Candy"
1972:
Received second Academy Award playing the title role of "The Godfather"; co-written and directed by Francis Ford Coppola
1973:
Garnered seventh Best Actor Oscar nomination for Bernardo Bertolucci's sexually-themed drama "Last Tango in Paris"
1976:
Delivered an eccentric turn opposite Jack Nicholson in the oddball Western "The Missouri Breaks"
1978:
Portrayed Superman's father Jor-El in "Superman: The Movie"; earned a reported salary of $3.7 million and over 11 percent of the gross for a cameo role that was shot over four days
1979:
Re-teamed with Coppola to play the madman Kurtz in the Vietnam-themed drama "Apocalypse Now"
1979:
Won an Emmy Award for a rare TV appearance as George Lincoln Rockwell, the founder of the American Nazi Party in "Roots: The Next Generations"
1980:
Last feature for almost a decade, the formulaic thriller "The Formula"
1989:
Resumed film acting and picked up eighth career Academy Award nomination as a British attorney in the anti-apartheid drama "A Dry White Season"; earned a salary in excess of $3 million which he reportedly donated to anti-apartheid charities
1990:
Spoofed his Oscar-winning turn as gangster Don Vito Corleone in the comedy "The Freshman"
1992:
Had cameo as Torquemada in the historical drama "Christopher Columbus: The Discovery"
1994:
Published memoirs, <i>Songs My Mother Taught Me</i>
1995:
Portrayed a psychiatrist treating a man who thinks he is the great lover in "Don Juan DeMarco"; co-starred Johnny Depp
1996:
Delivered perhaps the most eccentric turn of his career as the titular scientist in "The Island of Dr. Moreau"
1997:
Had small role in Johnny Depp's directorial debut, "The Brave"
1998:
Co-starred with Charlie Sheen in the comedy thriller "Free Money"; aired on Starz! before being released on video
2001:
Acted in "The Score" alongside Robert De Niro and Edward Norton
2001:
Agreed to appear (for a reported $2-3 million salary) in a cameo turn as a priest performing an exorcism in "Scary Movie 2"; forced to drop out due to ill health
2004:
Starred as himself in the documentary, "Brando and Brando"
2005:
Collaborated with film director Donald Cammell in 1979 on a China Seas pirate story, later published into the novel <i>Fan-Tan</i>
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Libertyville High School: Libertyville , Illinois -
Actors Studio: New York , New York -
American Theatre Wing Professional School: New York , New York -
Shattuck Military Academy: Faribault , Minnesota - 1943
The New School: New York , New York - 1943 - 1944

Notes

"Brando's Terry Malloy is a shatteringly poignant portrait of an amoral, confused, illiterate citizen of the lower depths who is goaded into decency by love, hate and murder. His groping for words, use of the vernacular, care of his beloved pigeons, pugilist's walk and gestures and his discoveries of love and the immensity of the crimes around him are highlights of a beautiful and moving portrayal."---A. H. Weiler's review of "On the Waterfront", in The New York Times, July 30, 1954

"He's the most keenly aware, the most empathetical human being alive... He just knows. If you have a scar, physical or mental, he goes right to it. He doesn't want to, but he doesn't avoid it... He cannot be cheated or fooled. If you left the room he could be you."---Stella Adler quoted in Richard Schickel's "Brando: A Life in Our Times" (1991)

"This was the first of the many ritual beatings characters played by Brando would absorb in his films, punishment for being an outsider and sensitive, a hip messiah in the pop mythology of the time."---Richard Schickel

"Brando always was a weirdo, long before anyone heard of him. Surely his 'eccentricity' deepened with the passing years, but the overall evidence is that he consciously chose to stress that side of his nature less, not more, in his Sixties work... He is less self-consciously witty, less self-satirizing, than he was in the fat Fifties movies... when his spirits were up and he carried with him the feistiness of successs. He is also much less sexy than before, much less volatile than he was in his previous on-screen encounters with women. Indeed, it is impossible to recall a single romantic scene that had either the rapacious menace of 'Streetcar' or the insinuating seductiveness of his scenes with Eva Marie Saint in 'On the Waterfront.'"---Richard Schickel, In discussing Brando's bland, tame professionalism in his work during the 1960s

"We may treasure, as he does not, the moments he gave us, at the same time speculating about the ones he didn't give us, out of spite or goofiness or whatever has moved him to not move us. Looking at him now, one can't help recalling the illimitable promise of his youth and perhaps of our own, and the inevitable confusions and compromises life imposes on us, the inevitable follies we impose on ourselves... Brando has kept faith with incoherence. Whatever he has done and not done, no actor in his life and his work has more consistently kept us in touch with the erratic, that which is unpredicatable and dangerous in ourselves and in the world."---Richard Schickel in "Brando: A Life in Our Times" (1991)

"Brando's a giant on every level. When he acts, it's as if he's landed on another planet. He's got it all. That's why he's endured. When I first saw 'On The Waterfront' I couldn't move. I couldn't leave the theatre. I'd never seen the like of it. I couldn't believe it."---Al Pacino, Brando's co-star from "The Godfather Empire August 2004

"He's simply the best, and if he wants to call acting merely a craft, then he's the greatest craftsman who ever lived."---Dennis Hopper Empire August 2004

Companions close complete companion listing

companion:
Josanne Marianna Berenger. Model. 19-year-old French woman from Toulon working in NYC as a governess when she met Brando at a party; announced engagement in 1954; separated.
companion:
Rita Moreno. Actor. Had a 12-year on-and-off relationship; she attempted suicide when they finally separated.
companion:
Jackie Collins. Writer. Had brief relationship when Collins was 16 (c. 1956).
wife:
Anna Kashfi. Actor. Married in October 1957; divorced in 1959; made screen debut in "The Mountain" (1956); her father (a Mr. Callahan) claimed she had no Indian blood; introduced by producer A C Lyles; separated when son Christian was born; reconciled and later divorced.
wife:
Movita. Actor. Born on December 4, 1916 in Nogales, Arizona; married in secret ceremony in 1960; separated in 1962; marriage annulled in 1968; had co-starred as Clark Gable's Tahitian love interest in "Mutiny on the Bounty" (1935); met while making "Viva Zapata" (1952); broke up during the filming of "On the Waterfront" (1954); reunited.
companion:
France Nuyen. Actor.
wife:
Tarita Teriipia. Actor, former waitress. Married in 1962; featured with Brando in "Mutiny on the Bounty" (1962).
companion:
Christina Ruiz. Former maid. Born c. 1958; mother of Brando's daughter Ninna.
VIEW COMPLETE COMPANION LISTING

Family close complete family listing

father:
Marlon Brando Sr. Cattle feed, chicken feed and limestone salesman. Later became Brando's business manager; died in July 1965 at age 70.
mother:
Dorothy Pennebaker. Amateur actor. One of the founders of the Omaha Community Playhouse; died of effects of alcoholism c. 1954.
sister:
Jocelyn Brando. Actor. Born on November 19, 1919.
sister:
Frances Brando. Artist. Born in 1922.
son:
Christian Devi Brando. Born on May 11, 1958; mother, Anna Kashfi; subject of a custody battle; on January 4, 1991 pled guilty to voluntary manslaughter in the death of Dag Drolet, boyfriend of half-sister Cheyenne; released from prison in December 1995.
son:
Miko Brando. Security guard. Born in 1960; mother, Movita Castenada; security guard to Michael Jackson; his former wife Jiselle Honore Brando was killed by a hit-and-run driver June 2, 1991.
daughter:
Rebecca Brando. Mother, Tarita Teriipia.
son:
Simon Tehotu Brando. Mother, Tarita Teriipia.
daughter:
Tarita Cheyenne Brando. Born in 1970; mother, Tarita Teriipia; commited suicide in April 1995.
daughter:
Ninna Priscilla Brando. Born in May 1989; mother, Christina Ruiz.
daughter:
Petra Barrett Brando. Adopted; birth father was author James Clavell; born c. 1970.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

Bibliography close complete biography

"Brando"
"Conversations With Brando" Hyperion
"Songs My Mother Taught Me" Random House
"Brando" Hyperion
"Marlon Brando: A Penguin Lives Biography" Viking Penguin
VIEW COMPLETE BIBLIOGRAPHY

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