The life story
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ilm and theater aficionados have long been enthralled by Marlon Brando, the brooding genius many argue was the greatest actor of our times, and that appreciation shows little signs of fading.
Marlon Brando was born in 1924 in Omaha, Nebraska, where his family lived until moving to Illinois when he was 6 years old. Both his father and mother were alcoholics, and his father was hypercritical and abusive.
1920s: Brando’s childhood
1940s: Star performances on Broadway
On Broadway, Brando’s first major role was in the 1944 play “I Remember Mama.” His breakout role came three years later as Stanley Kowalski in Tennessee Williams’ play “A Streetcar Named Desire.”
In 1951, Brando reprised his role of Stanley Kowalski for the movie version of “A Streetcar Named Desire” with director Elia Kazan. It earned him his first Academy Award nomination. He went on to star in “Viva Zapata!” in 1952, earning a second Academy Award nomination, then played Marc Antony in “Julius Caesar” in 1953, earning his third straight Academy Award nomination.
1950s: Three Oscar nods in a row
1972: A comeback in “The Godfather”
After a string of failed movies, Brando made a career comeback playing Don Vito Corleone in “The Godfather” in 1972. Hollywood studio executives were not thrilled at hiring the difficult actor, but director Francis Ford Coppola had Brando take a screen test that so impressed them that they changed their thinking.
Winning the Academy Award in 1973 for “The Godfather,” Brando sent a woman clad in Apache dress named Sacheen Littlefeather to turn down the award on his behalf. “He very regretfully cannot accept this very generous award,” she said, citing “the treatment of American Indians today” by the film and television industry.
1973: Turning down an Oscar
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