Hollywood’s Brooding Leading Men: From John Barrymore to Tom Hardy, an Honor Roll of Intense Actors On-Screen and Off

Brando by Art Shay

5 / 10


Was it self-loathing, or a severely allergic reaction to fame, or a toxic combination of both, that compelled the once-ultra-sultry Brando to balloon into the tent-wearer of Don Juan DeMarco? From his galvanic embodiment of Stanley Kowalski in A Streetcar Named Desire into a studio-led career of meh films, Brando’s talent didn’t always find proper vehicles, even as he grew more famous and socially conscious. The one-two punch of his 70s comeback was a mixed blessing. His turn as Don Vito Corleone in The Godfather was a masterpiece of virtuoso acting. His portrayal of a tortured aging lothario in Last Tango in Paris was a shocking slab of self-revelation. The great actor never went out so far on a limb again; the rest of his career can be seen as a form of sad retreat from it, in fact.