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Marlon Brando (1924 - 2004)

A photo of Marlon Brando
Marlon Brando
1924 - 2004
Born
April 3, 1924
Omaha, Douglas County, Nebraska, United States
Death
July 1, 2004
UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, United States
Other Names
Marlon Brando
Summary
Marlon Brando of Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California was born on April 3, 1924 in Omaha, Douglas County, Nebraska United States to Marlon Brando Sr and Dorothy Julia (Pennebaker) Brando. Marlon Brando had siblings Jocelyn Brando and Frances Elizabeth Brando. He married Anna Kashfi on October 11, 1957 and they later divorced on April 22, 1959. They had a child Christian Devi Brando. He also married Movita Castaneda on June 4, 1960 and they later divorced in 1962. They had children Miko C Brando and Rebecca Brando. He and Tarita Teriipia married on August 10, 1962 and they later divorced on July 14, 1972. They had children Simon Teihotu Brando, Tarita Zumi Cheyenne Brando, Maimiti Brando, and Raiatua Brando. Marlon's partner was Cynthia Lynn in 1964 and they later separated. They had a child Lisa Brando. Marlon's partner was Maria Ruiz in February 1988 and they later separated in December 2001. They had children Ninna Priscilla Brando, Myles Jonathan Brando, and Timothy Gahan Brando. Marlon Brando died at age 80 years old on July 1, 2004 at UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California.
Updated: September 29, 2022
Biography ID: 2772909

Marlon Brando's Biography

Family, friend, or fan this Collaborative Biography is for you to show & tell Marlon's life so that he is always remembered.
About Marlon

Introduction

Marlon Brando
Born April 3, 1924 in Omaha, Nebraska, USA
Died July 1, 2004 in Westwood, Los Angeles, California, USA (pulmonary fibrosis)
Birth Name Marlon Brando Jr.
Nicknames Bud
Height 5' 9" (1.75 m)
Marlon Brando is widely considered the greatest movie actor of all time, rivaled only by the more theatrically oriented Laurence Olivier in terms of esteem. Unlike Olivier, who preferred the stage to the screen, Brando concentrated his talents on movies after bidding the Broadway stage adieu in 1949, a decision for which he was severely criticized when his star began to dim in the 1960s and he was excoriated for squandering his talents. No actor ever exerted such a profound influence on succeeding generations of actors as did Brando. More than 50 years after he first scorched the screen as Stanley Kowalski in the movie version of Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) and a quarter-century after his last great performance as Col. Kurtz in Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now (1979), all American actors are still being measured by the yardstick that was Brando. It was if the shadow of John Barrymore, the great American actor closest to Brando in terms of talent and stardom, dominated the acting field up until the 1970s.
He did not, nor did any other actor so dominate the public's consciousness of what WAS an actor before or since Brando's 1951 on-screen portrayal of Stanley made him a cultural icon. Brando eclipsed the reputation of other great actors circa 1950, such as Paul Muni and Fredric March. Only the luster of Spencer Tracy's reputation hasn't dimmed when seen in the starlight thrown off by Brando. However, neither Tracy nor Olivier created an entire school of acting just by the force of his personality. Brando did.
Marlon Brando, Jr. was born on April 3, 1924, in Omaha, Nebraska, to Marlon Brando, Sr., a calcium carbonate salesman, and his artistically inclined wife, the former Dorothy Julia Pennebaker. "Bud" Brando was one of three children. His ancestry included English, Irish, German, Dutch, French Huguenot, Welsh, and Scottish; his surname originated with a distant German immigrant ancestor named "Brandau." His oldest sister Jocelyn Brando was also an actress, taking after their mother, who engaged in amateur theatricals and mentored a then-unknown Henry Fonda, another Nebraska native, in her role as director of the Omaha Community Playhouse. Frannie, Brando's other sibling, was a visual artist. Both Brando sisters contrived to leave the Midwest for New York City, Jocelyn to study acting and Frannie to study art. Marlon managed to escape the vocational doldrums forecast for him by his cold, distant father and his disapproving schoolteachers by striking out for The Big Apple in 1943, following Jocelyn into the acting profession. Acting was the only thing he was good at, for which he received praise, so he was determined to make it his career - a high-school dropout, he had nothing else to fall back on, having been rejected by the military due to a knee injury he incurred playing football at Shattuck Military Academy, Brando Sr.'s alma mater. The school booted Marlon out as incorrigible before graduation.
Anthony Quinn, his Oscar-winning co-star in Viva Zapata! (1952) told Brando's first wife Anna Kashfi, "I admire Marlon's talent, but I don't envy the pain that created it."
Brando enrolled in Erwin Piscator's Dramatic Workshop at New York's New School, and was mentored by Stella Adler, a member of a famous Yiddish Theatre acting family. Adler helped introduce to the New York stage the "emotional memory" technique of Russian theatrical actor, director and impresario Konstantin Stanislavski, whose motto was "Think of your own experiences and use them truthfully." The results of this meeting between an actor and the teacher preparing him for a life in the theater would mark a watershed in American acting and culture.
Brando made his debut on the boards of Broadway on October 19, 1944, in "I Remember Mama," a great success. As a young Broadway actor, Brando was invited by talent scouts from several different studios to screen-test for them, but he turned them down because he would not let himself be bound by the then-standard seven-year contract. Brando would make his film debut quite some time later in Fred Zinnemann's The Men (1950) for producer Stanley Kramer. Playing a paraplegic soldier, Brando brought new levels of realism to the screen, expanding on the verisimilitude brought to movies by Group Theatre alumni John Garfield, the predecessor closest to him in the raw power he projected on-screen. Ironically, it was Garfield whom producer Irene Mayer Selznick had chosen to play the lead in a new Tennessee Williams play she was about to produce, but negotiations broke down when Garfield demanded an ownership stake in "A Streetcar Named Desire." Burt Lancaster was next approached, but couldn't get out of a prior film commitment. Then director Elia Kazan suggested Brando, whom he had directed to great effect in Maxwell Anderson's play "Truckline Café," in which Brando co-starred with Karl Malden, who was to remain a close friend for the next 60 years.
During the production of "Truckline Café," Kazan had found that Brando's presence was so magnetic, he had to re-block the play to keep Marlon near other major characters' stage business, as the audience could not take its eyes off of him. For the scene where Brando's character re-enters the stage after killing his wife, Kazan placed him upstage-center, partially obscured by scenery, but where the audience could still see him as Karl Malden and others played out their scene within the café set. When he eventually entered the scene, crying, the effect was electric. A young Pauline Kael, arriving late to the play, had to avert her eyes when Brando made this entrance as she believed the young actor on stage was having a real-life conniption. She did not look back until her escort commented that the young man was a great actor.
The problem with casting Brando as Stanley was that he was much younger than the character as written by Williams. However, after a meeting between Brando and Williams, the playwright eagerly agreed that Brando would make an ideal Stanley. Williams believed that by casting a younger actor, the Neanderthalish Kowalski would evolve from being a vicious older man to someone whose unintentional cruelty can be attributed to his youthful ignorance. Brando ultimately was dissatisfied with his performance, though, saying he never was able to bring out the humor of the character, which was ironic as his characterization often drew laughs from the audience at the expense of Jessica Tandy's Blanche Dubois. During the out-of-town tryouts, Kazan realized that Brando's magnetism was attracting attention and audience sympathy away from Blanche to Stanley, which was not what the playwright intended. The audience's sympathy should be solely with Blanche, but many spectators were identifying with Stanley. Kazan queried Williams on the matter, broaching the idea of a slight rewrite to tip the scales back to more of a balance between Stanley and Blanche, but Williams demurred, smitten as he was by Brando, just like the preview audiences.
For his part, Brando believed that the audience sided with his Stanley because Jessica Tandy was too shrill. He thought Vivien Leigh, who played the part in the movie, was ideal, as she was not only a great beauty but she WAS Blanche Dubois, troubled as she was in her real life by mental illness and nymphomania. Brando's appearance as Stanley on stage and on screen revolutionized American acting by introducing "The Method" into American consciousness and culture. Method acting, rooted in Adler's study at the Moscow Art Theatre of Stanislavsky's theories that she subsequently introduced to the Group Theatre, was a more naturalistic style of performing, as it engendered a close identification of the actor with the character's emotions. Adler took first place among Brando's acting teachers, and socially she helped turn him from an unsophisticated Midwestern farm boy into a knowledgeable and cosmopolitan artist who one day would socialize with presidents.
Brando didn't like the term "The Method," which quickly became the prominent paradigm taught by such acting gurus as Lee Strasberg at the Actors Studio. Brando denounced Strasberg in his autobiography "Songs My Mother Taught Me" (1994), saying that he was a talentless exploiter who claimed he had been Brando's mentor. The Actors Studio had been founded by Strasberg along with Kazan and Stella Adler's husband, Harold Clurman, all Group Theatre alumni, all political progressives deeply committed to the didactic function of the stage. Brando credits his knowledge of the craft to Adler and Kazan, while Kazan in his autobiography "A Life" claimed that Brando's genius thrived due to the thorough training Adler had given him. Adler's method emphasized that authenticity in acting is achieved by drawing on inner reality to expose deep emotional experience
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Marlon Brando
Most commonly known as
Marlon Brando
Full legal name
Marlon Brando
Other names or aliases

Name & aliases

Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California 90025
Last place lived

Last residence

April 3, 1924
Birthday
Omaha, Douglas County, Nebraska United States
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Ethnicity & Family History

Actor

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United States

Education

Libertyville High School

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Unknown
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Professions

Marlon Brando was a famous movie and theater actor.

Personal Life

Actor

Military Service

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July 1, 2004
Death date
Congestive Heart Failure
Cause of death
UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California United States
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Grave or burial unknown
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Obituary

After A Streetcar Named Desire (1951), for which he received the first of his eight Academy Award nominations, Brando appeared in a string of Academy Award-nominated performances - in Viva Zapata! (1952), Julius Caesar (1953) and the summit of his early career, Kazan's On the Waterfront (1954). For his "Waterfront" portrayal of meat-headed longshoreman Terry Malloy, the washed-up pug who "coulda been a contender," Brando won his first Oscar. Along with his iconic performance as the rebel-without-a-cause Johnny in The Wild One (1953) ("What are you rebelling against?" Johnny is asked. "What have ya got?" is his reply), the first wave of his career was, according to Jon Voight, unprecedented in its audacious presentation of such a wide range of great acting. Director John Huston said his performance of Marc Antony was like seeing the door of a furnace opened in a dark room, and co-star John Gielgud, the premier Shakespearean actor of the 20th century, invited Brando to join his repertory company. It was this period of 1951-54 that revolutionized American acting, spawning such imitators as James Dean - who modeled his acting and even his lifestyle on his hero Brando - the young Paul Newman and Steve McQueen. After Brando, every up-and-coming star with true acting talent and a brooding, alienated quality would be hailed as the "New Brando," such as Warren Beatty in Kazan's Splendor in the Grass (1961). "We are all Brando's children," Jack Nicholson pointed out in 1972. "He gave us our freedom." He was truly "The Godfather" of American acting - and he was just 30 years old. Though he had a couple of failures, like Désirée (1954) and The Teahouse of the August Moon (1956), he was clearly miscast in them and hadn't sought out the parts so largely escaped blame. In the second period of his career, 1955-62, Brando managed to uniquely establish himself as a great actor who also was a Top 10 movie star, although that star began to dim after the box-office high point of his early career, Sayonara (1957) (for which he received his fifth Best Actor Oscar nomination). Brando tried his hand at directing a film, the well-reviewed One-Eyed Jacks (1961) that he made for his own production company, Pennebaker Productions (after his mother's maiden name). Stanley Kubrick had been hired to direct the film, but after months of script rewrites in which Brando participated, Kubrick and Brando had a falling out and Kubrick was sacked. According to his widow Christiane Kubrick, Stanley believed that Brando had wanted to direct the film himself all along.

Average Age & Life Expectancy

Marlon Brando lived 10 years longer than the average Brando family member when he died at the age of 80.
The average age of a Brando family member is 70.
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Memories: Stories & Photos

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MARLON WAS A CAT LOVER.
HE ALSO LOVED DANCERS AND PLAYING THE BONGOS.
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Marlon Brando
Portrait by Arthur K. Miller.
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Laszlo Benedek
The Wild One with Marlon Brando, Mary Murphy and Laszlo Benedek as Director.
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Vivian S Blaine
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William Redfield and Marlon Brando
A photo of William Redfieldand good buddy Marlon Brando
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Marlon Brando, The Wild One
A photo of Marlon Brando in the Wild One
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Marlon Brando and Grace Kelly
A photo of Marlon Brando and Grace Kelly
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Marlon Brando, Wild One
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Marlon Brando
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Marlon Brando
Marlon Brando, Jr. may be best known to the current generation as the Godfather but earlier in his career he was as hot as James Dean. He began his career in summer stock, moving on to Broadway (A Streetcar Named Desire . . . Stella!!) and then onto movies.

Although his private life seemed to be troubled, his screen roles were memorable - "I coulda been a contenda" and many other lines, as he delivered them, are a part of American lore now.
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Family Tree & Friends

Marlon's immediate relatives including parents, siblings, partnerships and children in the Brando family tree.
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Marlon's Family Tree

Marlon Brando Marlon Brando
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Anna Kashfi

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Marlon Brando

Married: October 11, 1957 - April 22, 1959
Cause of Separation: Divorce
Marlon Brando Marlon Brando
Child
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Movita Castaneda

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Marlon Brando

Married: June 4, 1960 - 1962
Cause of Separation: Divorce
Marlon Brando Marlon Brando
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Tarita Teriipia

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Marlon Brando

Married: August 10, 1962 - July 14, 1972
Cause of Separation: Divorce
Marlon Brando Marlon Brando
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Cynthia Lynn

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Marlon Brando

Together: 1964
Cause of Separation: Separated
Marlon Brando Marlon Brando
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Maria Ruiz

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Marlon Brando

Together: February 1988 - December 2001
Marlon Brando Marlon Brando
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1924 - 2004 World Events

Refresh this page to see various historical events that occurred during Marlon's lifetime.

In 1924, in the year that Marlon Brando was born, Macy's department store in New York held its first "Thanksgiving parade" on November 27th at 9a - during church services but leaving plenty of time to attend the big football game between Syracuse and Columbia universities. The parade was held as a way to promote the opening of the “World’s Largest Store” and its 1 million square feet of retail space in Manhattan’s Herald Square. The parade was 6 miles long and included floats, Macy's employees dressed as clowns, cowboys, and sword-wielding knights, and animals from Central Park Zoo. Santa Claus, of course, brought up the rear - opening the Christmas shopping season for Macy's.

In 1937, by the time he was only 13 years old, on May 28th, the San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge opened to cars. Taking 5 years to build, the 4,200-foot-long suspension bridge was an engineering marvel of its time - 11 men died during construction. The "international orange" color was chosen because it resisted rust and fading. To the present, it is the symbol of the City that is known throughout the world.

In 1965, Marlon was 41 years old when the television show "I Spy" premiered in the fall season on NBC. The stars were Bill Cosby and Robert Culp, making Cosby the first African American to headline a television show. Four stations - in Georgia, Florida, and Alabama - refused to air the show.

In 1973, Marlon was 49 years old when on January 28th, the Paris Peace Accord was signed - supposedly ending the Vietnam War. Hostilities continued between North and South Vietnam and the U.S. continued to bomb. But by August 15, 1973, 95% of American troops had left Vietnam. The war ended in 1975 with the fall of Saigon.

In 1990, when he was 66 years old, on April 24th, the Hubble telescope was launched into space after long delays due to the Challenger explosion. An optical flaw was found within weeks of launch but was fixed within three years. The discoveries made possible by the Hubble have contributed to scientists' understanding of the universe.

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