Marlon Brando

Marlon Brando in The Godfather

One of the greatest actors to ever grace the silver screen, Marlon Brando is a creative genius who modernized the art of method acting through the astonishing dedication he directed towards the power and depth of the craft. Best known for taking the roles he wanted straight from the hands of the movie execs, Marlon was an aggressive rebel who followed in the same footsteps of other legendary actors like James Dean, refusing to play a puppet to Hollywood. Always frank about his abhorrence for the industry and as an iconic celebrity, Marlon never refused the chance to use the very thing he hated as a catalyst to further his own political cause. Born in Omaha, New England, Brando’s brazen attitude was the result in expulsion from military school at an early age. Through a local theater group that his mother operated, Marlon left for New York City to study under Stella Adler and Lee Strasberg. After making his debut on Broadway in 1946, Marlon was voted the Most Promising Actor of his generation and quickly became the star of “A Streetcar Named Desire” with a performance that wowed critics and proved his indisputable talent. A few years later, Marlon teamed up with controversial director, Elia Kazan, and produced a film version of the famous play, winning him a nomination for Best Actor and an Oscar for Best Picture.

Marlon and Kazan continued to work with each other and soon became a tag team of talent not to be taken lightly. Together, the duo released “Viva Zapata!” and the much-admired “On the Waterfront” about a washed-up boxer who leads a worker’s union. By the 1960’s, Marlon become a financial gamble and his box-office draw began to dimish as he became involved with undeserving projects. It wasn’t until 1972 with “The Godfather” that the troublesome actor was able to regain the critics’ hearts. Against the movie studio’s wishes, Francis Ford Coppola cast Marlon as the Mafia boss, Don Corleone, turning out a brilliant performance that garnered him plenty of critical attention and awarded him with an Oscar for Best Actor. During the Academy Awards although, Marlon refused the award and instead sent Sacheen Littlefeather (a Native American spokesperson) to deliver a speech about the U.S. government’s past war crimes against the Native American population. Marlon continued his controversial lifestyle when he appeared in Bernardo Bertolucci’s sex-driven tale, “Last Tango in Paris.”

After a series of films that brought Marlon back into the spotlight, including his award-winning performance in “A Dry White Season” and a parody of his beloved mob character in “The Freshman,” Marlon became involved in two major films that failed to justify in his partaking: Coppola’s “Apocalypse Now” and “Superman.” In 1990, Marlon’s son, Christian, was found guilty of murdering his sister, Cheyenne’s, lover and was imprisoned. Cheyenne later committed suicide and the financial strain that fell on Marlon caused the since retired actor to return to performing. His last films, for which he probably appeared in only for the money, all proved to be horrible disappointments and the legendary actor quickly became a laughing stock in the film world. While it’s impossible to negate the last ten years of his career, Marlon’s earlier achievements effortlessly compensate for the bad decisions he made. Renowned for his honesty and hard-earned talent, Marlon ended his career with a surplus of awards (including two Oscars and five Golden Globes) and will forever be remembered as a glorious icon of Hollywood.

Life Lessons from “The Godfather”
Here’s a fun look back at the film with some life lessons you can learn from the movie. It includes some great quotes from Marlon Brando as Don Vito Corleone.

Marlon on the Screen

Marlon Brando has been celebrated as the best method actor in the history of film. While Marlon has appeared in some of the greatest films of all time, he has also been criticized for choosing to appear in future roles based solely on the money. Already an A-grade celebrity with hits like “A Streetcar Name Desire,” “The Wild One” and Elia Kazan’s “On the Waterfront,” Marlon became well known for his aggressiveness in obtaining the roles he wanted. Against the objections of Paramount, Marlon appeared as Mafia kingpin Don Corleone in Francis Ford Coppola’s “The Godfather” and shortly followed up with his appearance in Coppola’s Vietnam-epic “Apocalypse Now.” Almost a decade later, Marlon returned with another Oscar-worthy performance in “A Dry White Season” and a perfect parody of his “Godfather” character in “The Freshman.” As for his less desirable performances, Marlon had plenty, including his strange appearance as Jor-El in the first “Superman” film and in the musical “Guys and Dolls” alongside Frank Sinatra. His latest material is hardly acceptable either, like the oft remade “The Island of Dr. Moreau” and the conman flick “The Score.” While it’s difficult to imagine a cool, healthy-looking Marlon whose iconic resonance is untouchable, his breath-taking performances definitely outweigh any of the later crap he was subjected to.

More on Mr. Brando

Legendary actor Marlon Brando passed away on July 2nd, 2004 at the age of 80. Check out Yahoo! News for more information. Whilst in the middle of numerous courtroom battles, Marlon had also announced that he would play himself in the upcoming production, “Marlon & Marlon,” a film whose fate is no longer known with his recent death. It’s a bit unnerving, then, that not only will Brando’s voice be heard in the upcoming animated feature “Big Bug Man,” but stock footage of him from the original “Superman” movie will be manipulated for use in Bryan Singer’s 2006 “Superman Returns.”

The Don’s Words of Advice

On actors:
“If there’s anything unsettling to the stomach, it’s watching actors on television talk about their personal lives.”

On Hollywood:
“The power and influence of a movie star is curious: I didn’t ask for it or take it; people gave it to me. Simply because you’re a movie star, people empower you with special rights and privileges.”

On capitalism:
“I’ve had good years and bad years and good parts and bad parts and most of it’s just crap. Acting has absolutely nothing to do with being successful. Success is some funny American phenomenon that takes place if you can be sold like Humphrey Bogart or Marlon Brando wristwatches. When you don’t sell, people don’t want to hire you and your stock goes up and down like it does on the stock market.”