Biography of Marlon Brando (1924-2004)

Marlon Brando.

Actor - and, on one occasion, director-theatre and American film, whose full name was Marlon Brando, Jr., born on April 3, 1924 in Omaha (Nebraska, United States), and died in Los Angeles on July 1, 2004.

Third son of Marlon Brando (a manufacturer of chemical products for fodder and insecticides) and "Dodie" Dorothy Pennebaker Brando (actress, among other things), the child, Marlon Brando Jr. (called him Bud to distinguish him from his father) had a normal childhood in the bosom of a family that, without being rich, yes had means enough to live well, even in the dire years of depression from 29. Grew the future great actor and the continuous care of her two older sisters, his mother's love and the character male and extremely demanding of his father. Meet Marlon 6 years old, the family Brando had to move at least 5 times, which caused that their education was somewhat problematic, and his face well known by all the directors of the institutions for which they spent. When he was 12 years old, the family sought accommodation in Libertyville (Illinois), where Brando lived her troublesome teens and youth. There decided to change his physical appearance (she was chubby, lanky, short-sighted and was very ugly teeth) and enrolled in a course of physical education. This approached his father, who saw with very good eyes that his son was an athlete. Soon it began to emerge in rugby and athletics; It was strong and very fast, but suffered a meniscus injury and had to leave the sport. This joined their expulsion from the University of Libertyville, the have been caught smoking in the gym. After this incident, his father, angered, sent to the Academia Militar of Shattuck in Faribault, Minnesota; He was 17-years-old and I hated everything about this "military mental hospital", as he called the Academy, for what a few months escaped.

It surprised the family when he informed them that he wanted to devote himself to theology, but they got to abandon this idea, because their little Endowment for verbosity and rhetoric. He decided then, faced with the threat of his father used him in the insecticides business, travel to New York and the dramatic steps of his mother and his sisters, who lived and worked as actresses there. He made a pact with his father: If in six months he found nothing that would be to your liking, would return to Libertyville to help in the family business. In 1943 he therefore moved to New York; He settled with his sister Fran and joined, at the beginning of autumn, the dramatic workshop of Erwin Piscatorat the New School for Social Research, where he met one of the people most determinants of career: Stella Adler (daughter of Jacob Adler, one of the most famous actors of the yiddish theater). This, which immediately noticed the talent of the young Marlon ("it will become the best novel actor from the American scene," commented a few acquaintances), started you in Stanislavski (of which she had been student) method, you taught to control emotions, mimicry, some methods of improvisation, observation, between the lines of the text, the sincerity in action, etc. To this, Adler called it "the method of physical action", not very in keeping with the techniques of other teachers of Piscator, Lee Strasberg including perhaps preferred the emotional or the affective.

Marlon interpreted several experimental works in the workshop, the first of them in May 1944; It was the work of Gerhardt Hauptmann of Hannele ascension. The young actor received the best criticism from all the cast. When Piscator dismissed him because of love affairs, Maynar Morris, a leading film actor, he sent him a company of movies that made him a test, but it was rejected because "his nose down her face as ice cream to melt half". Marlon didn't give up, and Morris got him a test with Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein, who were preparing the work of John Van Druten I Remember Mama. Didn't his Declamation, but Rogers and Hammerstein were about to move to the next candidate, Van Druten, sensing something magical in Brando, insisted that he gave him the role. So, in 1944, Marlon debuted on Broadway with some excellent reviews, to which was added the great success of the work, which lasted many months in poster. Marlon was 19 years old and already possessed the physical appearance that become you a myth living in one of the faces most enigmatic, wild and intoxicating cinema and one of the few actors capable of transmitting related feelings of any character and be blown up in shattered more icy temperament of the more distant Viewer outside their own personalities.

While it succeeded with each work that played on Broadway, did not attend the Adler, as well as in the famous Actors Studio of Lee Strasberg was still analyzing his personality, observing people and reaching the bottom of each character that played. They elected him to were it faced with the great actress Katharine Cornell in Candida during 1946. That same year, made a brief tour with Tallulah Bankhead (actress ended disgusted as "emotional" interpretations of Brando), interpreting the Eagle with two heads, but in February 1947 left the work by disagreements with the Bankhead. A little earlier had become you his first film offer, when full representations of A Flag is Born, Elia Kazan (the second most important person in his career), which was preparing the production of the film the invisible barrier, called him to give life to the protagonist; However, Brando rejected the offer, since he did not want to abandon the work in progress.

Kazan returned to call for installation of the immortal works of Tennessee Williams a streetcar named desire, which got the most impressive success in his theatrical career. It offered the public a new way of acting, with intensity and starkness brutal, virtually real. his Stanley Kowalsky, far from being a literary character born from the pen of a playwright, said goodbye odor to be alive. In 1949, he decided not to renew his contract to continue the work and went to Hollywood to play one of the men (1950), Fred Zinneman. He then established his particular method of understanding the characters and exalted by his first role in the film, spent a whole month in a hospital in paraplegic war to soak up the feelings, everyday existence and the daily mental evolution of those mutilated men; injected paraffin into the face to appear the beating, brutal and bloody, in the law of silence (1954), Elia Kazan, where Brando, with its interpretation (which earned his first Oscar), expresses a fascinating itinerary of a character which marks, although at first hesitant, the boundaries of good and evil, of courage and of indolence, and coil the display by the psychological vicissitudes of that individual free but trapped momentarily by corruption. The Godfather (1972), by Francis Ford Coppola, to give another illustrious example, introduced cotton balls, of the size of a Golfball, between the lower jaw and cheek. Thus he wanted to appear different, italianised, face paralyzed for any reason that escapes us, which gives it that speaks so particular that marked, without a doubt, the quality of the interpretation. While the role of Brando becomes too short, the truth is that your presence dominates throughout the film. This performance won her second Oscar, not collected; He instead sent an Indian woman, Sasheen Littlefeather, dressed in their traditional clothes, and who read a speech written by his own Brando in favour of American indigenous peoples, that absolutely no one applauded.

Long before, in 1951, Elia Kazan tried to adapt the script of a streetcar named desire, written by Tennessee Williams, from his own work. As he failed to give the desired shape by it, decided then filming the piece that he had put on stage on Broadway. Of course, he called Marlon Brando to be Stanley Kowalsky and part of the former team (Kim Hunter, Karl Malden), with Vivien Leigh to interpret a Blanche Dubois at the height of a Brando hateful and desirable, animalized, bestial, steaming of sweat, muscles slitting wet t-shirt, constantly wet and thick lips, in which will be the interpretation, without a doubt, more decisive for all future generations of actors; for example, James Dean, Paul Newman, Rock Hudson, Al Pacino, Robert de Niro, Johnny Depp or River Phoenix, among others.

In the following two years returned to live up to an indescribable in two masterpieces of cinema: will be the unforgettable Emiliano Zapata in Viva Zapata! (1952), Elia Kazan, again, and Marco Antonio of the Julio César (1953), by Joseph Leo Mankiewiczmagistral. But disarm again all styles imaginable for his characterization of Johnny in Savage (1954), Laslo Benedek, where it will impose the image of the young hard, nowhere man, rebel without a cause, on the back of his black motorcycle and wearing, for the first time in the cinema, brazenness and brutality, his tight, black leather jacket, a crucial and iconoclastic symbol in black and white film.

Marlon Brando in Viva Zapata

His fame and prestige were increasing in each appearance on the big screen: is a good Napoleon, somewhat confused, perhaps, in Désirée (1954), by Henry Koster; a convincing player in a musical of some standing entitled them (1955), of J. L. Mankiewiecz; are you misses when it is not in plane in the beautiful House of the August Moon tea comedy (1956), by Daniel Mann; It is a splendid romantic, as well as pilot in the war of Korea, in love with a Japanese dancer, Sayonara (1957), JoshuaLogan; It is fascinating from a memorable interpretation of set -Montgomery Clift, Dean Martin, Barbara Rush, Maximilian Schell - dance of the damned (1958), by Edward Dmytryk; It is a "destrozacorazones" (Anna Magnani, Joanne Woodward) Middle-aged women in that strange adaptation of the Opheus Descending of Tennessee Williams, known as snakeskin (1959), Sidney Lumet; but receives harsh criticism for his misguided recreation of Fletcher Christian in the second version for rebellion cinema onboard (1962), Lewismilestone.

Either way, these criticisms were not compared with which they had to endure for his only foray into the direction (Stanley Kubrick, who was going to direct, abandoned filming shortly after start it): the one-eyed (1961). This is, however, a negligible movie, with really absorbing moments, a fascinating photography by Charles Lang, and a story, based on the novel by Charles Neider The Authentic Death of Hendry Jones, sober and well braided, presenting himself Brando in search of their old and treacherous friend (Karl Malden) to take revenge. Open to criticism only at the address can be it bit understandable that it is the spectacular sequence of revenge, full of masochistic fantasies.

Marlon lost in the Decade of the sixties all the favor of the public. Named as the player number 1 at the Box Office from 1955 until 1958, did not appear at any time during this decade in question among the top ten. He was able to parody himself in a comedy sosa and last fashion as two temptresses (1964), Ralph Levy; He attended the call of Charles Chaplin to interpret a strange love story, the Countess from Hong Kong (1967); and, by incomprehensible as it may seem, the world seems to have forgotten that it was the Sheriff Calder, which prevents the lynching of a man risking his own physical integrity, in that immense cast -Jane Fonda, Robert Redford, Angie Dickinson, Robert Duvall , or the sister of the actor, Jocelyn Brando - one of the undoubted masterpieces of the Decade of the sixtiesThe Chase (1966), from Arthur Penn.

Would not be, however, until Coppola Godfather make him and his controversial and splendid appearance in the surprising last tango in Paris (1973), by Bernardo Bertolucci, when the prestige of Brando returned to collect an important role within the desires of the public and the critics. But, then, the actor announced its withdrawal from the film. Despite this, from that year snapped at more than one dozen films, including his short but ansiadisima intervention, with its dominant bald, his madness and his violence, his dangerous personality, in this cinematic monument that is Apocalypse Now (1979), Francis Ford Coppola. A year earlier he had received a million dollars, the highest by an actor at the time, salary for their ten minutes of Jor-El, the father of Superman (1978), Richard Donner.

Their monetary problems forced him to show up, but little and carefully, in productions nothing missing quality, as a barren white station (1989), Euzhan Palcy, where is absolutely brilliant and magnetic in its re-creation of a prestigious South African lawyer who can do nothing to save the life of a man, and for which he received a new nomination to the Oscar; or by the great pantomime of his own character's Godfather in the rookie (1990), by Andrew Bergman. Cannot be said the same thing about his latest appearances, Miss charm and without a minimum of enthusiasm of the actor, conditioned by the absurdity of the scripts and his dialogues: the Tomás de Torquemada of Cristóbal Colón, the discovery (1992), John Glen; the Galen crazy title in the film's third visit to the novel by H.G. Wells the island of Dr. Moreau (1996), of John Frankenheimer; the psychiatrist who spreads from the romanticism of his patient, at the very best Don Juan de Marco (1995), Jeremy Leven; as well as his other roles in The brave (1997), Free money (1998) and The score - a master stroke - (2001).

Retired lived for many years on the Tahitian Island purchased after your visit during the filming of rebellion aboard, sentimentally attached to such exotic women as Movita Castaneda or Tarita Teriipaia (his partner in this film). Power and physical and sensual, athletic and muscular figure of Marlon Brando who become myth ended in an obesity which caused him to weigh 150 kg. Its rough sentimental life and family problems that in recent times were to overshadow his life (murder, in charge of his son Christian, the boyfriend of her daughter Cheyenne, who was incarcerated, and immediate suicide of this), and that it reflected brilliantly in his autobiography, songs my mother taught me, published in 1994, have possibly contributed to that Marlon Brando, at least in appearance, soon stopped being that talented (perhaps that more) actor of the 1950s and the fascinating interpreter of a handful of masterpieces in the sixties and seventies. Even so, the fire hidden under the skin of Marlon Brando will continue burning screen, illuminating the pupils, please burn the fibers of all film lover whenever he contemplates and admires its Stanley Kowalsky, Vito Corleone, sherif Calder, Emiliano Zapata, Johnny, Terry Malloy, Marco Antonio, or its Colonel Walter E. Kurtz, even if this means a decrease in chopped to hell in raw art.


As Actor:

1950: Hombres.1951: A Streetcar Named deseo.1952: Viva Zapata! 1953: Julio César.1954: the law of silence; Desiree; Salvaje.1955: And ellas.1956: agosto.1957 Moon tea house: Sayonara.1958: the dance of the malditos.1959: serpiente.1962 skin: rebellion to bordo.1963: His Excellency the embajador.1964: two seductores.1965: Morituri.1966: the Chase; Sierra prohibida.1967: the Countess of Hong Kong; Reflections on an eye dorado.1968: Candy.1969: the night of the following day; Queimada.1972: The Godfather; The latest games prohibidos.1973: last tango in paris.1976: Missouri.1978: Superman.1979: Apocalypse Now.1980: the formula.1989: A barren season blanca.1990: the novato.1992: Cristóbal Colón, the descubrimiento.1995: Don Juan de Marco.1996: the island of Dr. Moreau.1997: The brave.1998: Free money.2001: A masterstroke.

As Director:

1961: The one-eyed (and actor).

Productions in which there are fragments of his films:

1991: Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse.


BRANDO, M.: Songs my mother taught me, Barcelona: Anagrama, 1994.

CAREY, g.: Marlon Brando, the wild, Barcelona: overseas, 1990.

HIGHAM, C.: Brando: Unauthorized Biography, Barcelona: Plaza & Janés, 1989.

SCHICKEL, r.: Marlon Brando: the biography, Barcelona: Paidós, 1992.