1 item from 2004
2 July 2004 | IMDb News
Marlon Brando, the legendary actor whose performances in A Streetcar Named Desire, The Godfather and Last Tango in Paris made him one of the most important screen actors of all time and whose larger-than-life persona offscreen dominated his later years, died Thursday at an undisclosed location in Los Angeles; he was 80. According to Brando's attorney, David J. Seeley, the cause of the actor's death was being withheld because the actor was "a very private man." (A later report from Reuters stated that a UCLA Medical Center spokesperson said the actor died there at 6:30pm on Thursday of lung failure.) The most famous proponent of Method acting and considered by many to be America's finest actor, Brando paved the way for a new style of acting in the 40s and 50s, first working on Broadway, where he created his first signature role as Stanley Kowalski in A Streetcar Named Desire. He made his screen debut in 1950's The Men, which was followed by his Oscar-nominated re-creation of Kowalski in Elia Kazan's film of A Streetcar Named Desire. Riding his sudden superstardom, roles in Viva Zapata, Julius Caesar, The Wild One and On the Waterfront followed, the latter of which won him his first Oscar. Once he became a true icon in the late 50s and 60s, he branched into directing (1961's One Eyed Jacks) and a troubled, bloated adaptation of Mutiny on the Bounty, where his need for perfection (and infatuation with the south Pacific) put the movie over budget and over schedule.
That film marked the beginning of a string of failures in the 60s, and by the early 70s the actor's star seemed to have faded. However, it was a little gangster film in 1972 called The Godfather that catapulted Brando back into the spotlight, and his phenomenal turn as mob boss Vito Corleone earned him a second Oscar . which he notoriously refused, sending an actress dressed in Native American garb to the Academy Award ceremony to reject the award with a diatribe against the wrongs done to Native Americans by the U.S. He courted even more controversy with Bernardo Bertolucci's X-rated Last Tango in Paris (though he grabbed another Oscar nomination), and appeared in both Hollywood projects (Superman, for which he received a record salary at the time) and award-winning films (appearing as Kurtz in Francis Ford Coppola's troubled masterpiece Apocalypse Now) through the 70s. Sporadic film appearances marked the end of his career, including The Freshman, A Dry White Season and Don Juan De Marco, and his later years were dominated by scandal when his son, Christian Brando, shot and killed the lover of his half sister, Cheyenne, at the family's home in 1990; Christian was jailed and Cheyenne committed suicide five years later. Legal fees reportedly drained the actor's fortune, and the scandal contributed to the stories of Brando's bizarre offscreen antics. He lived in seclusion for the past few years, and most recently was the target of yet more rumors to be published in an unauthorized biography (one of many). Details about funeral arrangements were not immediately forthcoming. --Prepared by IMDb staff »
1 item from 2004
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