July 2, 2004 by

Marlon Brando


Categories: Actors, Hollywood

mbrando.jpgMarlon Brando Jr., the legendary actor who was best known for playing Don Vito Corleone in “The Godfather” films, died on July 1 of lung failure. He was 80.
During his four-decade career, Brando influenced actors like Robert De Niro, Paul Newman, Al Pacino and Jack Nicholson. Many in Hollywood and theatre circles considered the brooding, Academy Award-winning thespian to be the greatest actor of his generation.
Brando appeared in more than 40 movies, playing Marc Antony in “Julius Caesar” (1953), a motorcycle gang leader in “The Wild One” (1954), a sheriff in “The Chase” (1966), the Man of Steel’s father in “Superman” (1978), an insane colonel in “Apocalypse Now” (1979), a bemused shrink in “Don Juan DeMarco” (1995) and a criminal in “The Score” (2001). Despite his hulking body and occasionally inarticulate diction, he radiated the kind of confidence women adored and men admired.
Born in Omaha, Neb., Brando’s mother first inspired his interest in acting. After getting expelled from military school, he moved to New York City and began taking classes at the New School. Under the tutelage of acting teacher Stella Adler, Brando adopted a style known as Method Acting, a process by which actors behave in a spontaneous, realistic manner rather than emote in a dramatic fashion.
On-screen or on the stage, Brando’s handsome features and strong, almost brutish performances were unforgettable. His embodiment of Stanley Kowalski in “A Streetcar Named Desire,” was so intensely memorable that many actors who played the role in future productions merely imitated his take on the part. His portrayal of Terry Malloy in “On the Waterfront” earned him his first Oscar; Brando won a second Academy Award for Best Actor for “The Godfather,” which he declined.
Although he won two British Film Academy Awards, five Golden Globes and an Emmy, Brando also developed a reputation in Hollywood for being a difficult actor to work with. He was unable or unwilling to memorize his lines and often refused to take direction.
In private, Brando preferred to live in seclusion and rarely made public appearances. He wed three times, each marriage ending in divorce, and fathered nine children. In 1991, his eldest son Christian was convicted of murdering his sister Cheyenne’s boyfriend. Four years later, Cheyenne committed suicide. Brando’s turbulent life was the subject of dozens of biographies, and his own cryptic memoir, “Songs My Mother Taught Me.”
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3 Responses to Marlon Brando

  1. Joseph M Donohue

    Mr. Brando will always be remembered for outstanding performances in many films…. My personal favorite was “A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE”…..Hollywood and the whole world has lost a truly talented and caring human being…

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