It’s been ten years today since the world’s most famous Method actor died. Did we even know the guy? Consider these lesser-known facts.
Byon July 1, 2014
HE WAS IN A CHARLIE CHAPLIN MOVIE.
That is, a movie directed by Chaplin. The 1967 romantic comedy A Countess from Hong Kong, also starring Sophia Loren. This was five years before The Godfather. It was the last film Chaplin made.
HE OWNED A PRIVATE ISLAND IN FRENCH POLYNESIA.
Or, technically, an atoll. It’s called Tetiaroa, and was a getaway for Tahitian royalty before Brando bought it in 1967. (He’d first laid eyes on the place while making Mutiny on the Bounty.) Today it has a new eco-conscious luxury resort called The Brando, which opens today to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the actor’s death, with one-bedroom villas starting at $2,500 per person per night.
HE HAD A PET RACCOON.
Or, “a goddamned raccoon,” as Shelley Winters described it in a memoir. In his own memoir, Brando wrote, “I decided to buy a chimp, but before I did, my mother gave me Russell, the young raccoon. My mother had a great imagination that went along with her marvelous sense of humor… He was a sleep wrecker, so I didn’t let him get in bed with me often. We would chase each other around the apartment and play fight and tickle, which he loved.” Also: “He was a hit at parties.”
HE WAS AN INVENTOR.
Brando came up with, and patented, a new way to tune his beloved conga drums. As NPR reported, “The design became something of an urban legend among Latin percussionists.” And: “A representative for a drum manufacturer… thought the idea was practical, but not very cost-effective. He said he’d been reluctant to tell the actor, joking that he was afraid of an offer he couldn’t refuse.”
HE GOT KICKED OUT OF MILITARY SCHOOL.
It seems fair to surmise that young Marlon’s penchant for making trouble is what got him sent off to Minnesota’s Shattuck Military Academy in the first place. It also got him expelled.
HE WAS ON THE DAIS DURING MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.’S “I HAVE A DREAM” SPEECH.
Later that evening Brando participated in a televised civil rights roundtable discussion with other members of King’s entourage, including Harry Belafonte, Charlton Heston, and Sidney Poitier. The following year Brando sent King a telegram, which read, in part: “I feel that those who take active part in demonstrations for equality and freedom are the heroes of our time.”
HE ONCE GOT BUSTED FOR A “FISH-IN” DEMONSTRATION.
Many people know Brando turned down his Godfather Oscar to protest the film industry’s treatment of Native Americans. Less well-known is that the roots of that activism ran deep, in various directions. In 1964, for instance, Brando stepped into a fishing-rights standoff between Washington state and the Puyallup tribe. With photographers and fish and game officers watching, the actor caught an illegal salmon in reservation waters, for which he was publicly arrested. The site of this incident was later renamed “Brando’s Landing,” and ten years later a U.S. District Court judge ruled that the state had violated the tribe’s fishing rights.
HE WAS KNOWN TO BOND WITH FELLOW ACTORS VIA REMOTE-CONTROLLED FART MACHINE.
As Edward Norton told the Scottish Daily Record during the shooting of The Score, “Marlon would wait until De Niro was getting all serious for a tense scene, then he would let off this machine. I guess that is what it takes to break De Niro’s focus: flatulence.” As Johnny Depp observed on another occasion, “He possessed the sense of humor — which we both shared — of a child. I once asked him why it was that farts were always funny. He replied, ‘Because they are blatantly anti-social.'”
HE HATED MEMORIZING LINES BUT SPOKE FIVE LANGUAGES.
Brando’s Method quirks did indeed include asking other actors to wear his lines on body-affixed cue cards, but on the other hand, he could also chat with them in English, French, Spanish, Italian, or Japanese between takes.
HE ONCE TRIED TO ROPE CHRISTOPHER WALKEN INTO A MUSICAL VARIETY SHOW.
Seriously. And we’re kinda sorry it never happened.
Original Article: http://www.esquire.com/blogs/culture/marlon-brando-facts?src=soc_twtr