Oscar-winning actor Marlon Brando is certainly one of the most recognizable actors of the 20th century, and he has been remembered for his roles in movie hits “A Streetcar Named Desire,” “The Godfather” and “Last Tango in Paris.”
He has been voted the fourth greatest male star of all time by the American Film Institute, and in addition to a great career, this charmer also had a truly turbulent life filled with controversy.
He had a hard childhood
Brando’s life was unusual from the start, and one could not say that he grew up in a traditional family. His parents divorced when he was 11, but they never stopped loving each other and so they later rekindled. Such an unusual situation had consequences on Brando because he was constantly moving and was never one hundred percent sure if his parents were together at that moment or not.
Marlon’s mother was a talented woman full of love, but she struggled with liquor addiction, and during her split with Brando’s father, she was earning money in local coffee shops, working as a lady of the night.
She was also an amateur actress who played at a local theater and helped young Henry Fonda begin his career. Both Marlon’s father and sisters were artistically gifted, so the famous actor had a family full of photographers, actors, painters, and musicians.
Brando never finished high school, and that was his decision. He did not like obeying the orders of others, so on one occasion, he snapped at one teacher and was expelled from the school. He later decided that he would not go to school because he realized that formal education did not make sense anyway.
How he became a world-famous actor?
He moved to New York and attended various acting schools. His father supported him, and the young actor started drinking, going out, and working on his acting performances. Yet he ended up on the street again because of his mischievous and brazen behavior when Sayville’s school decided to drop him out of their program. It didn’t mean much to Brando because he got his first Broadway role after a few months, and was described by critics as the most promising actor of the time.
At just 24, Brando gained global fame and became the first Hollywood star. The movie “A Streetcar Named Desire” and Brando’s acting in it have been described as a revolution in American cinema because such a performance has never been seen before. He was nominated for an Academy Award in the Best Actor category for this role, and he repeated this success for the next three years in a row.
His first five monumental roles changed the way actors play in Hollywood. In addition to his tremendous talent, Brando also had the charisma of a bad guy, which perfectly suited the upcoming rock and roll era in popular culture. Thus, Elvis Presley admitted that in his beginnings, he imitated Brando’s style.
Brando’s appearance radiated magnetism in whatever role he appeared, so he won millions of women’s hearts around the world. The cinema bosses recalled that at the sold-out projections, children ran up and down the hall, imitating the sound of engines from the movie screen while their mothers sat stunned by Brando’s appearance.
After many nominations, Marlon Brando received his first Oscar for his role in “On the Waterfront” in 1954, and after that triumph, he continued to star in many famous films. Still, his acting lost its direction, according to critics and film historians.
Role of Vito Corleone in The Godfather (1972) marked a turning point in his career and re-launched him into stellar orbit with renewed vigor. Marlon Brando won his second Oscar for the role. The “Godfather” was followed by the most controversial film of Brando’s career, “Last Tango in Paris.” The movie was banned because of its explicit nature.
After this movie, Brando no longer cared about the demands of the producers – he was allowed anything.
Thus, for the role of Colonel Kurtz in “Apocalypse Now,” for which he was paid a million-dollar, Brando should have appeared thin and prepared, and he came too fat, did not even read the script, and the whole movie was improvised solely by refusing to learn his sentences. After making that movie, his weight became one of the deciding factors in the role selection.
He loved both men and women
A tumultuous private life followed turbulent business life. Numerous romances, numerous children, and adultery, as well as constant outbursts of aggression, have left Brando forever enrolled in Hollywood history as one of the biggest “badass” red carpet guys.
Brando reportedly had been in love with Marilyn Monroe for many years, to whom he had appeared in a hotel room one day and had reportedly not gone out for three full days.
Read Also: The Real Truth About Marilyn Monroe
“Like a large number of men, I, too, have had homose*ual experiences, and I am not ashamed,” he said on one occasion, and later his statement was confirmed. The actor was in a love affair with singer Bob Dylan, and he had a longtime lover, Wally Cox.
“If Wally had been a woman, I would have married him, and we would have lived happily ever after,” the actor said.
After Cox died, Brando kept his ashes for 30 years, and it was scattered along with his ashes. Cox’s third wife only discovered this when Brando gave an interview to Time. She wanted to sue him, but her lawyer refused to accept the case.
Still, Brando loved the women also – and very much so.
In 1957, he married actress Anna Kashfi, with whom he remained married until 1959. Anna heard that Brando loved exotic women, Native Americans, and all the time, she presented herself as the beauty of Native American descent – and in fact, she was Irish and Catholic. When Brando discovered this, he immediately sought a divorce. But during their marriage, they got son, Christian.
Soon his second wife, Movita Castaneda, a seven years older Mexican actress, came to the fore. They divorced after two years. His third wife was a Tahiti beauty, Tarita Teriipaia, who played Brando’s love on the set of “Mutiny on the Bounty. ” Tarita was 18 years younger than Brando, and she gave birth to two children in a 10-years long marriage. Brando told on one occasion that he loved her because she was “simple and naive.”
Marlon Brando had a total of five biological and six adopted children. But family idyll did not exist.
Brando’s eldest son Christian was very troubled, and in May 1990, he killed his half-sister Cheyenne’s lover. He was found guilty of a premeditated crime and sentenced to 10 years in prison. This incident has hit Brando so badly, which has made inconsistent statements in the media about “betraying his own son.”
The tragedy was complete in 1995, when Cheyenne, saying she was still depressed by Drollet’s death, hanged herself in Tahiti at the age of 25.
With age, Brando himself became more and more troubled, and his thickness captured the attention of Hollywood. He clashed with directors, actors, refused to learn his sentences, he was getting into fights and was intoxicated, but at the same time was considered humorous and noble. Because of that, much was forgiven.
On July 1, 2004, Marlon Brando died at the age of 80 from diabetes and cancer. He was cremated, and his ashes were scattered in two places. Part of the ash was scattered in Tahiti and the second part in the Death Valley.