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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.