17 Things You Didn't Know About Marlon Brando

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Vote 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
    70 VOTES

    He Was Expelled From High School

    He Was Expelled From High School
    Photo: Columbia Pictures

    Many of Brando's characters had a flagrant disregard for the rules. The actor didn't have much trouble tuning into that sensibility - he was expelled from high school for riding a motorcycle through the halls.

    70 votes
  • 2
    65 VOTES

    He Had Bad Roles, Too

    Brando played so many iconic and era-defining roles in his career it's easy to forget he was also in some heinously awful movies, turning in performances that, depending on your perspective, are either genius acts of trolling or akin to what your local hippy would do in the community theater production of Midsummer Night's Dream in the wake of a trip down the k-hole that never ended.

    Look no further than The Island of Dr. Moreau for proof - Brando became obsessed with Nelson de la Rosa, the world's smallest man, who played a monster in the film, and insisted he wouldn't act unless de la Rosa was in all his scenes, wearing the same costumes as Brando. 

    65 votes
  • 3
    65 VOTES

    His Autograph Was Extremely Valuable

    His Autograph Was Extremely Valuable
    Photo: Marlon Brando / Public Domain

    According to unsubstantiated tidbits on a number of movie trivia sites, collectors considered Brando's signature so valuable that it was common for personal checks from the actor to go uncashed. The recipients stood to make more money by selling the John Hancock than they did by just cashing the check.

    65 votes
  • 4
    73 VOTES

    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.

    73 votes
  • 5
    77 VOTES

    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.

    77 votes
  • 6
    113 VOTES

    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. 

    113 votes