It is possible Marlon Brando was a star for too long and became famous for being famous - simplified as a movie star, a sex symbol, a lone wolf. Author Susan Mizruchi pores over Brando's letters, audiotapes, his writings and research to reveal a self-educated intellectual.. “I can report,” she writes, “that Brando’s hunger for knowledge was as insatiable as his more legendary appetites for women and food.”
While his iconic performances were on-screen in A Streetcar Named Desire, The Wild One, On the Waterfront, The Godfather, Last Tango in Paris and Apocalypse Now, his most legendary was one in which he could not even be seen. At the 1973 Academy Awards, Brando declined to accept his Best Actor Oscar in protest of Hollywood's treatment of Native Americans. He sent a Native American Actress in his place. Mizruchi recounts the other social causes that informed his activism and his work.
An admitted life-long fan, Mizruchi focuses on his mind - rather than his string of marriages and tabloid details about his 11 children. How do you categorize Brando in the history of Hollywood actors? What do you think of his political activism?
Susan Mizruchi, Author, “Brando’s Smile: His Life, Thought and Work” (W.W. Norton; June 23, 2014)