March 1, 2024
Marlon Brando

Marlon Brando: The great actor

Marlon Brando is widely considered to be the greatest actor of all time, the most influential actor in American cinema, and one of the best-known actors in American history. Over his career, he had various onscreen roles in films that ranged from a gutsy rebel in “The Wild One” (1953) and Stanley Kowalski in “A Streetcar Named Desire” (1951) to aviator John Thacker who miraculously lands a World War II shot-down fighter plane with two broken legs.

About Marlon Brando

Marlon Brando, Jr. (April 3, 1924 – July 1, 2004) was an American actor. He is hailed for bringing a gripping realism to film acting and is widely considered to be one of the greatest and most influential actors of all time. Brando was also an activist and a controversial figure for over four decades.

Brando was born in Omaha, Nebraska, to Marlon Brando, Sr. (1895–1965), a pesticide and chemical feed manufacturer, and Dorothy Julia (Feldman) (1897–1953), a sister of actor Walter Hampden. He had two older sisters, Jocelyn Brando (b. 1921) and Frances (b. 1916).

Life of Brando

His birth

Brando’s parents divorced when he was two. His mother permanently moved to Phoenix, Arizona in 1926, where she married his father’s business partner and brother-in-law, Stanley Bamount (b. 1901), in 1928. Brando was raised in both Phoenix and Teaneck, New Jersey. He attended Teaneck High School for Boys and Wood-Ridge School for Boys in Wood-Ridge, New Jersey.

His education

Marlon Brando was expelled from Libertyville High School in Illinois for riding his motorcycle through the halls. Later, he attended Shattuck Military Academy in Faribault, Minnesota, and Canterbury Military Academy in Milford, New Hampshire. He returned to Libertyville High school as a drop-out and later earned his high school diploma by correspondence course.

Brando’s education was also helped by John Milton Brookfield, who was a Shakespeare instructor at Libertyville.

His personal life

Brando’s teenage romance with an older girl, June Ives, was much publicized. His friends later claimed that the relationship and her publicity were a key factor in his later difficulty with women.

His career

After leaving school, Marlon Brando held a variety of jobs, including dock worker, lifeguard, and professional boxer. He spent most of his early career in non-speaking roles, as an extra or supporting cast member. His first film was The Men (1950) with Marlon’s father, who had temporarily abandoned his film career for a role in theatrical production. In the next year’s Teresa, he appeared as an Indian in an uncredited role.

Early career: 1944–1951

Brando’s first leading role was as Vito Corleone in The Godfather (1972) (1972), followed by a succession of other roles in major films. In The Men (1950)—Marlon was an extra—he play a stuntman who rescues his friend. One of his most memorable roles was as Terry Malloy, a troubled young man with sexual problems, in On the Waterfront (1954).

In the following years, Marlon Brando appeared in a number of notable films, including Guys and Dolls (1955), Sayonara (1957), and Bedtime Story(1964), the only film in which he can be seen singing and dancing. He turned down a role as Fletcher Christian in Mutiny on the Bounty (1962) because he felt that it was not important enough. But after seeing how effectively Trevor Howard portrayed his historical character, he changed his mind.

In the 1950s and early 1960s, Brando was hail for his remarkable performances. It was at this time that his image as a “rebel” began to take shape. In 1957, he refused to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee because of what he perceived as its harassment of Hollywood.

Brando’s appearance in the film One-Eyed Jacks (1961), made while he was on suspension from the Actors Studio, is commonly cited as one of the most important factors in determining his career decline.

Rise to fame: 1951–1954

In 1951, Marlon Brando was vote the second most popular personality of the year in a poll of 500 Hollywood personalities. In his first years as a movie actor, Brando’s image was more prominent than his acting. His role as the rebel leader in The Wild One (1953) helped to create the image which has endured for many years.

However, beginning with the film adaptation of Tennessee Williams’ play The Rose Tattoo (1955), Brando’s performances could stand on their own and gained critical praise. His performance as the gay murderer in Piano (1952) was consider to be his best work by many critics. Later, he played a boxer, who fell into obsessions with women and alcohol, in Reflections in a Golden Eye(1967) based on the real-life story of Battling Nelson.

Marlon Brando

In 1951, he befriended director Elia Kazan. They collaborated on A Streetcar Named Desire (1951), which tells the story of an unstable married couple (Brando and Vivien Leigh).

Box office successes and directorial debut: 1954–1959

Brando’s film career peaked with East of Eden (1955), in which he played the violent, ill-tempered, and raging patriarch. It was a huge box office success and is consider his greatest performance.

Following this, Marlon Brando directed his first film, The Men (1955), for which he also acted, playing an American soldier in Japan. Critics hailed Brando’s direction as one of the best of his career. However, his next film was a commercial failure.

After 1955, Brando did not have success at the box office, and his career declined. Soon after his break-up with Leigh in 1959, he left Hollywood to spend time with friends and family.

When Brando had finish The Last Tycoon (1976), he was invite to be a guest judge at the Miss Italy contest by director Lina Wertmüller. Brando refuse.

Box office decline: 1963–1971

In 1963, Marlon Brando was suspend from the Actors Studio for failure to pay his dues.

In 1965, he filmed Morituri (1965) with director Bernardo Bertolucci. He play an American missionary who is sent to a concentration camp. During the war in an unname country and is execute. After he smuggles out a message that would stop the Allied invasion. This was his last film before a five-year self-imposed hiatus.

In 1966, he returned to the stage in a two-man version of his play A Flag is Born. He starred with his former acting teacher Anita Bohnen. And the two performed the play over 200 times in cities around the world. In 1968, they ended their partnership and Brando went on to star in Reflections in a Golden Eye (1967) with Elizabeth Taylor.

In 1971, he played Mark Antony in director Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s film adaptation of William Shakespeare’s play “Julius Caesar”.

The late 1970s

By the 1970s, Brando’s life was mark by personal tragedy and legal troubles. He support himself by doing work on his house and lending his name to various causes. In 1975, he was sued by the estate of a student he had taught in New York City. He settle out of court for an undisclosed sum of money.

Brando was also name as a defendant in eight separate lawsuits between 1976 and 1986. Which accused him of owing millions in unpaid medical bills. In 1972, after years of estrangement with his son Marlon Brando Jr., the two finally reconciled.

Awards and honor

In 1951, Brando received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor for his role in A Streetcar Named Desire (1951). He won the Academy Award for Best Actor for On the Waterfront (1954). In 1957, he was award a special Oscar by the Academy. He was honor for his “outstanding contribution and advancement of the arts and sciences of motion pictures” over the preceding decade.

In 1972, he received an Academy Award nomination for playing Mark Antony in The Godfather (1972). He won an Emmy Award for his performance in The Side-Light (1972). In 1973, he was award the Prague Peace Prize.

In 1975, Brando received the American Film Institute’s Lifetime Achievement Award with Marlon Brando Jr., on his father’s behalf, saying that “he did not always live up to the tradition of American acting,” but added: “he was a great artist and all of us who are actors are indebted to him.”

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