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Marlon Brando: The Legend and the Man

Marlon Brando: The Legend and the Man

Marlon Brando was one of the most influential and acclaimed actors of the 20th century. His performances in films such as A Streetcar Named Desire, On the Waterfront, The Godfather, and Apocalypse Now are considered among the finest in cinema history. He was also a controversial and complex figure, who challenged the Hollywood system, championed social causes, and lived a turbulent personal life. In this blog article, I will explore the legend and the man behind the screen.

## The Legend

Marlon Brando was born on April 3, 1924, in Omaha, Nebraska. He had a troubled childhood, as his father was a salesman who often traveled and his mother was an actress who struggled with alcoholism. He moved to New York City in 1943, where he studied acting under Stella Adler at the Dramatic Workshop. He made his Broadway debut in 1944 in I Remember Mama, and soon gained critical acclaim for his roles in plays such as Truckline Cafe, Candida, and A Flag Is Born. ¹

In 1947, he achieved stage stardom with his electrifying portrayal of Stanley Kowalski in Tennessee Williams's A Streetcar Named Desire, directed by Elia Kazan. He reprised the role in the 1951 film adaptation, which earned him his first Oscar nomination and established him as a leading movie star. He went on to work with Kazan again in Viva Zapata! (1952) and On the Waterfront (1954), for which he won his first Oscar for best actor. He also starred in films such as The Wild One (1953), Julius Caesar (1953), The Teahouse of the August Moon (1956), and Sayonara (1957), showcasing his versatility and charisma. ²

In the 1960s, Brando's career suffered a decline, as he appeared in several box-office flops and clashed with directors and producers over creative differences. He also became more involved in political and social activism, supporting causes such as civil rights, Native American rights, and anti-war movements. He made headlines when he refused to accept his second Oscar for best actor for his iconic role as Vito Corleone in The Godfather (1972), sending a Native American actress named Sacheen Littlefeather to reject the award on his behalf as a protest against the treatment of Native Americans by the film industry. He also shocked audiences with his raw and controversial performance in Last Tango in Paris (1972), which earned him another Oscar nomination. ³

In the 1970s and 1980s, Brando continued to work in films such as Superman (1978), Apocalypse Now (1979), The Formula (1980), A Dry White Season (1989), and The Freshman (1990), but he also became more reclusive and eccentric, demanding high salaries and minimal involvement in the production process. He also faced personal tragedies, such as the death of his daughter Cheyenne in 1995 and the imprisonment of his son Christian for manslaughter in 1990. He died on July 1, 2004, at the age of 80, leaving behind a legacy of artistic excellence and cultural impact. ⁴

## The Man

Marlon Brando was not only a legend on screen, but also a man with a complex personality and a fascinating life story. He was known for his intelligence, humor, generosity, rebelliousness, sensitivity, and unpredictability. He had a passion for learning and exploring different cultures, languages, arts, and philosophies. He was also an avid reader, writer, painter, musician, and animal lover. He owned an island in Tahiti called Tetiaroa, where he built an eco-friendly resort and lived for many years. ⁵

Brando was also a man with many flaws and contradictions. He was often insecure, moody, arrogant, manipulative, and self-destructive. He had a troubled relationship with his father, whom he blamed for his mother's alcoholism and death. He had many affairs and marriages, fathering at least 11 children with different women. He struggled with weight problems, substance abuse, depression, and financial difficulties. He was often dissatisfied with his work and fame, feeling that he had wasted his talent and potential. He was also criticized for his political views and actions, which some saw as hypocritical or misguided.

Brando was a man who defied labels and conventions. He was a rebel who challenged authority and norms. He was an artist who expressed himself with honesty and intensity. He was a humanist who cared about justice and equality. He was a legend who inspired generations of actors and filmmakers. He was a man who lived a remarkable and turbulent life.

I hope you enjoyed this blog article on Marlon Brando. If you want to learn more about this amazing actor, you can check out some of his films and books, such as:

- A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) , a film adaptation of the classic play by Tennessee Williams, where Brando plays the brutish and charismatic Stanley Kowalski, opposite Vivien Leigh as the fragile and delusional Blanche DuBois.

- On the Waterfront (1954) , a film directed by Elia Kazan, where Brando plays Terry Malloy, a former boxer who becomes a whistle-blower against the corrupt union bosses who control the docks. This film features Brando's famous line "I coulda been a contender".

- The Godfather (1972) , a film directed by Francis Ford Coppola, based on the novel by Mario Puzo, where Brando plays Vito Corleone, the aging patriarch of a powerful crime family, who tries to protect his sons and business from his enemies. This film won three Oscars, including best picture and best actor for Brando.

- Apocalypse Now (1979) , a film directed by Francis Ford Coppola, inspired by the novel Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, where Brando plays Colonel Kurtz, a renegade army officer who has gone mad and established his own cult-like kingdom in the jungles of Cambodia during the Vietnam War. This film is considered one of the greatest war films ever made.

- Listen to Me Marlon (2015) , a documentary film directed by Stevan Riley, based on hundreds of hours of audio recordings that Brando made throughout his life, revealing his thoughts and feelings on his career, family, love, politics, and more. This film is a unique and intimate portrait of Brando's voice and mind.

Thank you for reading this blog article. I hope you found it informative and entertaining. Have a wonderful day! 😊.

(1) Marlon Brando - Wikipedia.

(2) Marlon Brando | Biography, Movies, Assessment, & Facts.

(3) Marlon Brando filmography - Wikipedia.

(4) THE MAN - Welcome.

(5) Marlon Brando Biography - life, family, children, school, mother, young ....


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