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17 Things You Didn't Know About Marlon Brando

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List RulesVote up the interesting facts you didn't already know about the Godfather and Wild One.

Who was Marlon Brando? One of the most celebrated film actors of all time, known for his great on-screen presence and quiet mumbling. But behind those cotton-laden cheeks are a whole many more Marlon Brando facts you might not know. The brief Marlon Brando biography below will teach you more about the man - like why he was expelled from high school or what he used as a door stop.

  • 1

    He Didn't Like to Memorize

    Brando reportedly didn't like memorizing lines, as he felt doing so would get in the way of the spontaneity of his performance. In order to do his job without knowing the lines verbatim, Brando would have cue cards taped all around the set in his line of sight. At one point during the filming of The Godfather, this required taping cue cards to Robert Duvall. For Apocalypse Now, Brando didn't bother learning lines or using cue cards. Instead, he spent days on set with director Francis For Coppola trying to understand his character, then made everything up while filming. 

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  • 2

    He Liked To Speak To Strangers Via Radio

    Brando owned a private island in the Pacific and enjoyed going out on his boat and speaking with strangers on other islands, or passing boats, via ham radio. He rarely, if ever, identified himself by his true name. Instead, he preferred to go by Mike, Martin Bumby, or Jim Ferguson, and often did accurate French, German, and Japanese accents for fun.

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  • 3

    He Was a Very Young On-Screen Dad

    His 1972 turn as Vito Coreleone in The Godfather had him playing the father of John Cazale, James Caan, and Al Pacino. In real life, Brando was only eleven years older than Cazale and sixteen years older than Caan and Pacino.

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  • 4

    He Lost Both His Oscars

    Video: YouTube

    Brando won Academy Awards for On the Waterfront and The Godfather. He accepted his first Oscar in person and lost it at some point thereafter, saying, “Somewhere in the passage of time it disappeared.” How very zen.

    Brando didn't show up to collect his award for The Godfather, sending Native American activist Sacheen Littlefeather in his place (she gave a political speech in lieu of an acceptance speech). Brando claims he couldn't remember whether he even got the statue the second time around. In his autobiography, he wrote, “The Motion Picture Academy may have sent it to me, but if it did, I don’t know where it is now.”

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