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Marlon Brando (April 3, 1924 - July 1, 2004) was an actor originally from Omaha, Nebraska. He is widely considered to be one of the most influential film actors of all time. His most notable works include A Streetcar Named Desire (1951), On the Waterfront (1954), and The Godfather (1972). He was known as a "bad boy" for his temperament on and off set, but was nonetheless always highly regarded as an actor.

   

Marlon Brando's screen test for 'Rebel Without A Cause'

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Brando had a fairly tumultuous childhood. Though born in Omaha, Brando moved around quite a lot as a child. He lived in Illinois and California for periods of his childhood. His mother, Dorothy (Dodie) Brando, was an alcoholic and there was a lot of tension in his household, as Brando described in his autobiography, Brando: Songs My Mother Taught Me, "My parents seldom fought in front of us, but there was a constant, grinding, unseen miasma of anger." Brando was a difficult child, and for that reason his father sent him to Shattuck Military Academy in Faribault, Minnesota, but he was later expelled. He moved to New York in 1943 to pursue acting.

A scene from 'A Streetcar Named Desire'

 

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He studied at The New School, studying under Stella Adler, and espoused her methods, including the Stanislavski System, wherein an actor connects with his or her subconscious to portray a more truthful character. He denied that he was guided by the Method acting techniques of Lee Strasberg, though he is commonly thought of as a Method actor.

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A scene from 'On the Waterfront'

 

Though he received considerable accolades throughout his career including Best Actor for his role as an ex-boxer in On the Waterfront, he departed from the mainstream on numerous occasions. His directorial debut came in 1961 with One-Eyed Jacks, but it was not well-received and it became his last attempt at directing. He also appeared in Reflections in a Golden Eye (1967) and Burn! (1969), both of which were unusual films and caused his reputation to flounder. But Brando came back in 1972, after having to submit a screen test for the role of Vito Corleone in The Godfather. After that role, he appeared in several other films which garnered considerable acclaim.

Brando as Vito Corleone

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Vito Corleone Dies the Perfect Death 

 

Brando was an activist throughout his life, identifying with the causes of the American Civil Rights movement and the American Indian movement. He was raised a Christian Scientist, but was influenced by many religions later in life. He adopted some aspects of Native American spirituality and always had a distinct admiration for the Jewish people. He is even said to have meditated twice a day starting in the 1980's.

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Brando received eight Oscar nominations and two wins throughout his life. He also received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Academy and many others.

Person to Person interview with Marlon Brando

 

Additional Info

  • Birthday Date: Thursday, 03 April 2014
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