Marlon Brando biography
Date of Birth: April 3, 1924
Date of Death: July 1, 2004
Born in Omaha, Nebraska, and youngest of three, Brando was a difficult child
and was expelled from a number of his schools.
His first job was as a
ditch digger, but his father ultimately grew so frustrated with his son's
seeming lack of ambition that he offered to finance whatever more meaningful
path the young man chose to pursue.
Taking up his father's offer,
Brando ventured to New York where he studied Stanislavsky's acting
techniques at the New School before enrolling at the Actors' Studio.
method acting would become a signature of all his works as well as an
inspiration to many future actors.
Beginning his career in theatre, Brando played the sensitive Nels in I
Remember Mama. This role was followed up with appearances in Truckline
Café and Candida. With each appearance, Brando's presence became
The play A Streetcar Named Desire established Brando as
a celebrated performer with a charismatic acting style influencing actors
In 1950 Brando turned to the screen starting with The Men, followed
by the film version of A Streetcar Named Desire. By 1954, he
garnered his first Oscar for Best Actor, playing the impressionable
punch-drunk ex-boxer in On The Waterfront. Brando continued to prove
his versatility with roles in such films as The Wild One, Guys
and Dolls, and Teahouse Of The August Moon.
A combative and often contradictory man, Brando refused to play by the rules
of the Hollywood game, openly expressing his loathing for the film industry
and for the very nature of celebrity, while exploiting his fame to bring
attention to political causes and later accepting any role offered him as
long as the price was right.
By 1961, he made his directorial debut with One-Eyed Jacks. A film
which he also performed in, it was not well received and ultimately would
mark the first and last time he would ever sit in the director's chair.
His reputation began to suffer following release of the bloated 1962 remake
of Mutiny on the Bounty (with Brando in the Clark Gable role of
Fletcher Christian), which came in grotesquely over budget, thanks in part
to his capricious penchant for "inspired" improvisation and painstaking
attempts to achieve the "perfect mood." Such odd and unusual films as
Reflections in a Golden Eye (1967) and Burn! (1969) put
Brando outside the mainstream -- to the extent that he had to test for the
role of mob boss Vito Corleone.
That remarkable performance in The
Godfather (1972) not only netted Brando his second Oscar, but restored
the lustre to his tarnished reputation.
Although he won the golden statue,
he refused to accept it due to the fact that the U.S. and especially
Hollywood were discriminating against Native Americans.
After The Godfather, Brando took on fewer and fewer projects as his
price tag became more unreasonable.
Some of his strongest performances
came in films like Superman, Apocalypse Now, and A Dry
White Season (for which he earned an Oscar nomination for Best
Throughout his career, Brando earned eight Oscar nominations (2 wins) and a lifetime achievement award from the academy, seven BAFTA nominations (3 wins) and five Golden Globe nominations (winning four).
He was married three times and fathered nine children. He passed away in Los Angeles on July 1, 2004 at the age of 80, from lung failure. He was cremated, and in keeping with his reclusive nature, a private ceremony with only his family in attendance was held.
Marlon Brando Filmography