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A genius with a broken nose and a low IQ: how Marlon Brando conquered women and became one of the greatest actors of the 20th century

Date: April 20, 2024 Time: 07:34:42

100 years ago the man best known as the best actor in the history of cinema was born.


It would be interesting to do an experiment today: ask teenagers in schools and students in universities if they have seen The Godfather. And then ask another question: have you seen the scene in the Comedy Club, where the old gangster dies and before dying, with a hoarse and exhausted voice, assigns meaningless tasks to his children? For some reason, it seems to me that the parody will defeat the original in terms of popularity.

Marlon Brando, who played Don Corleone, became a parody of himself towards the end of his life. In his youth he was a rebel and a hooligan, in his old age he was a fat and quarrelsome man with ruinous, often vicious habits. And how many women he had, it is impossible to count. And how many children… One was in prison for murder, the other committed suicide; All of this turned into tragedies for the elderly actor.

In total, there are 11 children born in official marriages, at least three more born out of wedlock and three adopted. Isn’t this the “godfather”?…

It would be interesting to do an experiment today: ask teenagers in schools and students in universities if they have seen The Godfather.


Shakespeare and a thousand push-ups

“Father” is a key word for Brando. His was harsh, unaffectionate and he hugged children only on holidays. It was Marlon Sr., descendant of a German immigrant, a misogynist from Omaha who made money manufacturing pesticides. (The surname comes from the German “Brandau”; by the way, in English, both the name Marlon and the surname Brando are pronounced with emphasis on the first syllables; only for some reason we usually pronounce them in French, with emphasis on the last) . Mom was an actress in the local theater, she played the piano and sang songs to the children. “Songs that my mother taught me” was the title of the actor’s memoirs, published in 1994. The songs had warmth and light. She was also loved on stage. How did she manage to marry Marlon Sr., whose rudeness crossed the line between acceptable and what was already terrifying and dangerous? Consolation was nearby, in the bars. And on stage her partner was the magnificent Henry Fonda, the future legend of cinema. And Brando’s mother convinced Henry to try acting on the Omaha stage. It is believed that it was she who launched the actor’s career, without which there would be no subsequent triumphs for her daughter, Jane Fonda…

And then Marlon Sr. gathered his family and took them away. And then he quit. And then he picked it up again. While younger Marlon’s two sisters still received a modicum of attention, his father did not appreciate his son, constantly criticizing him and never praising him.

Was there anything to praise? At first, they didn’t like him in schools either. Antics, insolence. Low IQ – only 90. The teacher announced this result in front of the entire class, clearly hinting: so what to expect from such an idiot?

“Dumb” grew up and went crazy. He once did a thousand push-ups in front of everyone, but then his trainer stopped him for fear of the consequences for his health. “Fool” said Shakespeare. “Dumb” he became interested in theater. He also studied the Stanislavsky system. Everyone knows what will happen next.

Paper written on diaper

According to various surveys and ratings, Marlon Brando is constantly among the ten best actors of the 20th century. Most of the time he comes first. Two Oscars, many nominations. He received the first Oscar for the film “On the Waterfront”, the second was awarded for “The Godfather”. Marlon Brando rejected the statuette, did not attend the ceremony and sent a little-known actress dressed as an Indian to collect the award in her place. The reason for the refusal is the violation of the interests of the indigenous population of the United States.

On the other hand, what does this Oscar mean to him? He didn’t particularly remember the first one either. I saw it somewhere in 1954, put it somewhere and then someone stole the figure. The loss was discovered decades later, when an offer was received from London to auction this Oscar.


It is probably a kind of symbol: the awards remember the past and Marlon Brando always lived “here and now.” He didn’t even remember the text; he had to write his lines on cards. Even in The Godfather (you’ll never guess) Don Vito Corleone reads the text from pieces of paper that the director’s assistant holds up behind the camera. And during the filming of “Superman,” for example, Brando’s text was hidden in the baby’s diaper, and the Oscar winner read the lines from him. You may not have even realized Brando was there while you were staring at old Superman. No wonder: he appears briefly on the screen, in the image of an alien scientist who sends his son Superman to our underworld. These few minutes cost the producers $3.7 million.

He also took money here and now. If he could demand, as in the case of “Superman,” he demanded as much as possible. But sometimes he accepted what they gave him. This is what happened with Bertolucci’s “Last Tango in Paris.” A modest European budget, an Italian director little known in Hollywood, a role that Jean-Louis Trintignant and Alain Delon had already rejected. And Brando suddenly said yes. During the negotiations, however, the director became hysterical: he really wanted to please the Hollywood star, he even wore a nice tie, and during the business dinner, Brando only looked down, not in the eyes. When Bertolucci couldn’t stand it and said something passionately along the lines of “If you don’t want to, just say so, otherwise don’t even look me in the eyes!”, Brando said that he was looking at the director’s leg. The trunk was shaking a lot.

And also about the “here and now”. In his youth, acting in the theater “A Streetcar Named Desire” (even before the cinema), he was somehow bored. While the episodes were going on without his participation, I decided to box with a very strong stagehand. The worker was neither a scoundrel nor a cretin and he tried to give in. But Marlon understood this and demanded a real fight. He took a real hit. Blood, horror, cries of “stop the performance!”… But no. They didn’t stop. They washed him, made him look like a god, and sent him to finish the work. In the evening, doctors discovered that Brando had a broken nose.

They tried to persuade him to undergo plastic surgery, but Marlon Brando proudly refused. And so he went down in cinema history with a profile that could have been perfect if it weren’t for an unknown (and involuntary) fighting partner.


Ashes over Tahiti

Brando died 20 years ago, on July 1, 2004. Being eighty years old, he already had quite a few ailments at the time of his death. First of all, of course, obesity attracted attention: he weighed 136 kilograms with a height of 177 centimeters … The ashes after cremation were scattered, partly over Tahiti, partly over Death Valley in California .

It can now be seen in two Madame Tussauds museums. In London she is with a motorcycle, young, from the movie “Savage”. In Los Angeles he is Vito Corleone, the usual “godfather.” These two roles are different from each other, just as all the main images of Marlon Brando are different from each other. It’s not about age, or kilograms. The question is how the appearance changes (which wax, of course, does not convey, it is precisely about age). The look of the widower from “Last Tango in Paris” and the eyes of the Godfather. The squinting of a tough man in A Streetcar Named Desire, staring at the downtrodden and sophisticated Vivien Leigh, and the colonel’s purple eye sockets in Apocalypse Now.

5 movies starring Brando

“In the Port” (1954). A drama about dock workers and corrupt union leaders. It doesn’t exactly sound exciting, but it’s one of the best movies in Hollywood history. The role of the former boxer, who first serves criminals and then fights with them, was assigned to Frank Sinatra. But then Brando began to quickly gain popularity and they sent him the script. Without reading, Brando refused, but then allowed himself to be convinced. The result is a lifelong feud with Sinatra and the first Oscar. Brando then seduced Sinatra’s wife, Ava Gardner. And then Marlon was attacked by three bandits, beaten and threatened with castration, after which he was thrown, covered in blood, into the Hollywood Hills. Brando had to hire a bodyguard, although he told his friends that he had fallen off his motorcycle.

“Mutiny in the reward” (1962). During filming in 1960, Brando met his third wife, Tarita. Filming took place in the atolls of Tahiti and then the actor saw the Tetiaroa atoll. He fell in love twice: with a woman and with a place. Five years later, he bought French Polynesia the rights to the atoll for 99 years. He would later give one of the islands to Michael Jackson. He will invite ecologists, zoologists, build huts, protect turtles, organize a “correct” energy supply that will not spoil the ecological system. After Brando’s death, the heirs sold the atoll and there is now an eco-hotel. Prices are prohibitive, access is only possible by private plane and water traffic is kept to a minimum.

“The Godfather” (1972). The makeup, which aged Brando, 48, took three hours. Cheek and chin pads were used and a special plate was inserted into the actor’s mouth. They took pictures a little from above so that the shadow would make the image more gloomy.

“Apocalypse Now” (1979). During filming, Brando demanded a houseboat for himself, and the episodes he participated in had to be filmed in the dark so that the weight he had gained was not evident. Brando’s double was a very tall man who ran quickly and led the fighters into the attack. Brando’s parties in the Philippines, where the film was filmed, are legendary. At one event, Oscar-shaped ice sculptures illuminated from within were placed. The colonel’s last monologue was filmed improvised. For 18 minutes, Brando said something meaningless, occasionally repeating the word “horror.” There were two minutes of editing left and Brando told Francis Ford Coppola that he had “gone as far as I could go.”

“The Island of Doctor Moreau” (1996). Brando’s last films were not very popular and making them was tremendously difficult. In the fantastic story about Dr. Moreau, Brando again could not remember a word of the role and the script was rewritten every day. As a result, Brando was given an earpiece into which his lines were dictated. However, the technique was even less predictable than the actor’s: one day he caught a police wave and Brando began talking on camera about a bank robbery.

* This website provides news content gathered from various internet sources. It is crucial to understand that we are not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of the information presented Read More

Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.

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