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The Godfather dies at 80
July 2, 2004 8:45 AM   Subscribe

RIP, Marlon Brando.
posted by schlaager (65 comments total)

 
The cause of death is unknown.

I blame the Tattaglia family.

All kidding aside, even if all he'd ever done was On The Waterfront and The Godfather he'd still be among the top 5 actors of all time.

RIP, great one.
posted by jonmc at 8:48 AM on July 2, 2004


I guess the third shoe has dropped. Reagan, Charles, Brando. An odd coalition if ever I've heard one.
posted by fancypants at 8:49 AM on July 2, 2004


You could have at least referenced some of his greatest movies ever or snidely some of his worst or even some interesting trivia about the great actor and intriguing man, but oh no, just a freaking CNN link. Great work.
posted by xmutex at 8:49 AM on July 2, 2004


Considering who the man is, you couldn't bring up links about his work and life instead of just this one link? Why always this god damned rush to be first to post these death notices? Bah.
posted by FunkyHelix at 8:50 AM on July 2, 2004


If James Dean had lived long enough, he'd have ended up making crap movies like Brando eventually did.
posted by ColdChef at 8:50 AM on July 2, 2004


In beaded doeskin,
she stands in the Dorothy
Chandler Pavilion,
for he “cannot accept this
very generous award,”

“and the reasons for
this being - are the treatment
of American
Indians today by the
film industry - excuse me…”

And now they say he’s
wheelchair bound, breathing through an
oxygen mask, broke
and alone, gold statuettes
hidden away from the banks.

I sent the guy a
hundred bucks tonight, in the
mail - I would hate to
think he has no money for
ice cream when he feels like it -

and remembered the
movies: all those mutinies
and waterfronts, the
Mafiosi of our youth,
our naked party boy. So

here’s a poem for you,
Marlon up on Mulholland,
doing what you will
to this day, in a tiny
home at the edge of the world.

6/30/04
posted by xowie at 8:52 AM on July 2, 2004 [1 favorite]


go get me a stick of butter.
posted by mookieproof at 8:54 AM on July 2, 2004


Wow ... I guess it isn't exactly a shock. So much wasted potential. On the other hand, he did what he wanted, so who am I to criticize?

(Who is "Charles"? What about Tony Randall?)
posted by RavinDave at 8:56 AM on July 2, 2004


RavinDave: I assume he's referring to Charles Bronson, although he died back in August of 2003.
posted by xmutex at 9:01 AM on July 2, 2004


Recently recognized as one of Time's 100 Most Influential of the Century. A student of Stella Adler. A method actor of the Stanislavski school. And perhaps the last true hero of the Silver Screen.

He will be missed, but we've missed him for so long already.

And the "Charles" is Ray Charles.
posted by grabbingsand at 9:02 AM on July 2, 2004


(Who is "Charles"? What about Tony Randall?)
RavinDave, you ARE kidding, right? On preview, xmutex... WHAT!?!
posted by Oddly at 9:03 AM on July 2, 2004


I was just reading the newspaper of the guy sitting next to me on the subway yesterday, and there was an article about a new book coming out called Brando in Twilight. Allegedly, he's so broke that he hides his Oscars to keep his debtors from seizing them. His former maid is also suing him for child support. What a lech, but god, what an amazing actor.
posted by mkultra at 9:06 AM on July 2, 2004


/me pours a 40 of orange juice
posted by Pretty_Generic at 9:09 AM on July 2, 2004


Oddly: Ah, well, he put 'Charles' in the middle of two other actors, and mentioned a coalition, so I was thinking actors, coalitions implying some common trait or goal, which is what any other insanely brilliant genius like myself would do in such a position.
posted by xmutex at 9:13 AM on July 2, 2004


I think he's talking about Ray Charles.
posted by bshort at 9:15 AM on July 2, 2004


IAlmostMetMarlonBrandoFilter:

In LA, everyone either is in the industry or wants to be, and name-dropping is a time-honored component of asking for a date. I was a nubile young thing and was fairly used to being chatted up by slightly older and not especially attractive men who all professed to be producers or relatives of celebrities, and usually couldn't care less. However, one such man actually was a producer and a childhood friend of Christian Brando's (verified by others) and invited me to a family get-together at Marlon Brando's house. I almost went, but decided it would be entirely too sleazy to go out with him just to meet Marlon Brando. I've wondered, since, if I made the right decision. I'm pretty sure I did - this producer barely knew me and wasn't inviting me for my conversational skillz. It just didn't feel like a safe situation. But still... Marlon Brando!
posted by widdershins at 9:15 AM on July 2, 2004


xmutex: You could have at least referenced some of his greatest movies ever or snidely some of his worst...but oh no, just a freaking CNN link. Great work.

Hey - you could have at least referenced something other than the oh-so-cliched and ever-so-routine IM-freakin-DB...but oh no, just four IMDB links. Great work.

But since you started it, I can't believe that you forgot to include Brando's greatest role: Sky Masterson in "Guys & Dolls.
posted by davidmsc at 9:23 AM on July 2, 2004


You can't really argue with the life he led. Yes, he was a world-class bastard, and he was apparently absolute hell on everyone he ever met, including his family, and many of the films he made were unwatchable dreck.

But when he was great, there was no one better, and he lived life absolutely uncompromisingly, on his terms.

Tonight, I'll eat three times my weight in Polynesian food and drink myself into a stupor tonight in his honor. (Anyone have Maria Schneider's number?)
posted by chicobangs at 9:28 AM on July 2, 2004


Mistah Kurtz, he dead.
posted by mikeh at 9:36 AM on July 2, 2004


Considering who the man is, you couldn't bring up links about his work and life instead of just this one link? Why always this god damned rush to be first to post these death notices? Bah.

schlaager, you coulda been a contender. You coulda been somebody.

Instead of a bum, which is what you are.
posted by sixpack at 9:37 AM on July 2, 2004


.
posted by Busithoth at 9:37 AM on July 2, 2004


Farewell, Jor-El.
posted by brownpau at 9:39 AM on July 2, 2004


NebraskaFilter: Henry Fonda and Marlon Brando were both from Nebraska. Henry's mother started the first rep theater in Omaha, and when he flunked out of school, his mother got him to do some roles. He brought along Brando, and the rest, as they say, is history.

"And then I realized, like I was shot -- like I was shot with a diamond... a diamond bullet right through my forehead. And I thought, 'My God, the genius of that. The genius.'"
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 9:39 AM on July 2, 2004


davidmsc: Hey, you wanna go?
posted by xmutex at 9:43 AM on July 2, 2004


All you people complaining about the post, I gotta ask...

What are you rebelling against?
posted by jonmc at 9:43 AM on July 2, 2004


When I was sixteeen, we read Streetcar in English class and my teacher, Mrs. Fynbo, brought in the Brando version of the film for us to watch. Being a film geek, I'd already seen it a number of times and being that I was at the back of the class and it was a tiny tv, I watched the class instead. The seats were arranged in a large U shape so I could see the sides or fronts of everyone, including the teacher, who sat on the opposite elbow of the U to me.

Fynbo, who admittedly i had a little crush on, was so wrapped up in the film (which I assume she'd seen many times) that, even in the darkness, from the other side of the room, I could see her flush. When Brando changed T-shirts, I heard an almost inaudible whimper. Watching her watch that film is one of the most memorable moments in my life, simultaneously awakening me to the wonders of film, the power of imagination/fantasy, and the majesty of Williams' words.

Wherever Fynbo is when she gets this news, I hope she's sitting down.

RIP Mr. Brando.
posted by dobbs at 9:44 AM on July 2, 2004 [5 favorites]


the horror
posted by mr.marx at 9:50 AM on July 2, 2004


...."whatta got"

now someone go get a piano crate for this guy.
posted by clavdivs at 9:57 AM on July 2, 2004


*sniff*
posted by dejah420 at 10:00 AM on July 2, 2004


davidmsc: Hey, you wanna go?

Yeah, let's raise the tone of this obit...

Anyhow, I once met a guy in Udon Thai (Thailand) who claimed to have worked for the real Col. Kurtz.
posted by the cuban at 10:02 AM on July 2, 2004


Well, xmutex, in the 90 minutes since i posted my link, there have been 30 comments with links that have done infinitely more justice to the thread than I would have done with just a couple. I didn't see it on here, I posted it. Instead of complaining, embrace the spirit of the post.
posted by schlaager at 10:18 AM on July 2, 2004


The quintessential Stanley Kowalski. In an industry that claims a lot of "giants", Brando was the most giant of them all. I'll really miss him. I really enjoyed him in the low key stuff he did more recently, like "the Freshman", "Don Juan de Marco", etc. What an incredibly nuanced performer.
posted by psmealey at 10:34 AM on July 2, 2004


You could have at least referenced some of his greatest movies ever or snidely some of his worst or even some interesting trivia about the great actor and intriguing man, but oh no, just a freaking CNN link. Great work.

I would have put in something about the fact that this news broke on CBS affiliate KPHO Pheonix last night and wasn't picked up on at all about they posted a three line mention on their website, which Matt Drudge picked up on.

Deadoraliveinfo.com also had him under their 'unknown status' category for a few hours until they then reconfirmed that he was alive. Which was wrong, natch.

I might have included this poor joke:

Q: What's Marlon Brando's favourite drink?

A: STELLLLLLAAAAA!
posted by tapeguy at 10:54 AM on July 2, 2004


Marlon Brando: An American Hero
by Pauline Kael
March 1966

Brando represented a contemporary version of the free American.

Because he had no code, except an aesthetic one--a commitment to a style of life--he was easily betrayed by those he trusted. There he was, the new primitive, a Byronic Dead-End Kid, with his quality of vulnerability. His acting was so physical--so exploratory, tentative, wary--that we could sense with him, feel him pull back at the slightest hint of rebuff. We in the audience felt protective: we knew how lonely he must be in his assertiveness. Who even in hell wants to be an outsider? And he was no intellectual who could rationalize it, learn somehow to accept it, to live with it. He could only feel it, act it out, be "The Wild One"--and God knows how many kids felt, "That's the story of my life."

Brando played variations on rebel themes: from the lowbrow, disturbingly inarticulate brute, Stanley Kowalski, with his suggestions of violence waiting behind the slurred speech, the sullen Ace, to his Orpheus standing before the judge in the opening scene of The Fugitive Kind, unearthly, mythic, the rebel as artist, showing classic possibilities he was never to realize (or has not yet realized).

He was our angry young man--the delinquent, the tough, the rebel--who stood at the center of our common experience. When, as Terry Malloy in On the Waterfront, he said to his brother, "Oh Charlie, oh Charlie . . . you don't understand. I could have had class. I could have been a contender. I could have been somebody, instead of a bum--which is what I am," he spoke for all our failed hopes.

posted by matteo at 10:56 AM on July 2, 2004


.
posted by joedan at 11:26 AM on July 2, 2004


.
posted by cyrusdogstar at 11:37 AM on July 2, 2004


*fixes orange peel into mouth, runs around office crazily*
posted by Ufez Jones at 11:46 AM on July 2, 2004


best.
actor.
ever.
posted by sgt.serenity at 11:48 AM on July 2, 2004


"The harah, the harah..."
posted by Ty Webb at 11:52 AM on July 2, 2004



If James Dean had lived long enough, he'd have ended up making crap movies like Brando eventually did.


What are you talking about? The Freshman was great!
posted by scarabic at 12:10 PM on July 2, 2004


.
posted by moonbird at 12:11 PM on July 2, 2004



Irene Selznick, the producer of A Streetcar Named Desire, had thought of John Garfield or even Burt Lancaster for Stanley. But she had seen Brando in Ben Hecht's A Flag Is Born in 1946 and had been "galvanised by his power... however risky, he was bound to be interesting." Elia Kazan, the director, wanted Brando because he knew the actor's radiance would keep Stanley from being just a villain, the trampler upon Blanche Dubois's fragile bloom.

It was left to the playwright, Tennessee Williams, to decide. Brando went to see Williams, who was living on Cape Cod. When he got there, both the electricity and the plumbing were out. The actor repaired them both, and then did a reading, with Tennessee taking the other parts. It was 10 minutes before they called Kazan and Ms Selznick and told them yes. Williams wrote to his agent, Audrey Wood: "It had not occurred to me before what an excellent value would come through casting a very young actor in the part. It humanises the character of Stanley in that it becomes the brutality or callousness of youth rather than a vicious older man. I don't want to focus guilt or blame particularly on any one character but to have it a tragedy of misunderstanding and insensitivity to others. A new value came out of Brando's reading which was by far the best reading I have ever heard. He seemed to have already created a dimensional character, of the sort that the war has produced among young veterans."

There was a subtext, too, for why Streetcar worked so well. Williams was homosexual. There was a latent sense in which Blanche was a male surrogate, the spirit of refinement and gentility, confronted by a far more brutal and modern male force. But Kazan was a devout heterosexual, and a director of the new breed that needed to find himself in the work. So he identified with Brando's Stanley and a crude upstart vitality reducing the pretentious lady to his own level. The play surpassed its text in production, and in some profound way 1947 was ready for every fantasy that was appealed to.

posted by matteo at 12:12 PM on July 2, 2004


even if all he'd ever done was On The Waterfront and The Godfather he'd still be among the top 5 actors of all time

you said it, jon.

rest in peace mr. brando
posted by t r a c y at 12:16 PM on July 2, 2004


.
posted by Devils Slide at 12:32 PM on July 2, 2004


MIND THE ORANGES MARLON!
posted by inpHilltr8r at 12:37 PM on July 2, 2004


I truly hope this wasn't a suicide sparked by the international publicity/feeding frenzy around Brando's reported destitution.

It seems like an improbable coincidence, though. Sigh.
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:45 PM on July 2, 2004


people dont die in threes you freaks.

"Man, its so crazy, as soon as one blue car passes by, within 15 minutes two more drive by... every single time!!"
posted by Satapher at 12:54 PM on July 2, 2004


.
posted by lilboo at 1:13 PM on July 2, 2004


"Who was first with Brando news?"
posted by tapeguy at 1:36 PM on July 2, 2004


Is it just me, or does it seem like a lot of "famous" people (actors and other notable personalities) have been died in the last 2 years or so... more than usual anyway (whatever usual is)?
posted by Witty at 2:54 PM on July 2, 2004


have been died?
posted by Witty at 3:00 PM on July 2, 2004


He might be gone, but the show must go on.
posted by SteveInMaine at 3:27 PM on July 2, 2004


.
posted by Joey Michaels at 3:44 PM on July 2, 2004


Thanks dobbs for your wonderful story. It's exactly the kind of thing that keeps me hooked on mefi.
posted by marsha56 at 5:08 PM on July 2, 2004


xmutex: nah, I'm mellowed out now. Cool?

witty:Is it just me, or does it seem like a lot of "famous" people (actors and other notable personalities) have...died in the last 2 years or so... more than usual anyway (whatever usual is)?

It's not "just" you -- it's true. The number of celebrities during the last two or three generations has increased exponentially, as movies, TV, radio, etc, have become more widespread and more & more people have literally become famous. The rate of celebrity deaths is going to continue to increase.

Think of it this way: how many "famous" people do you think there were in America in, say, 1930? How about 1950? See - there hadn't been a "national" or "global" media long enough at those points to create celebrities as well-known as many are today. Now fast-forward to 2004: there have been decades of "superstars" and celebrities -- each year gives us new and more of them.
posted by davidmsc at 5:56 PM on July 2, 2004


Gone Corleone
posted by bonaldi at 6:01 PM on July 2, 2004


While you were reading this thread, tens of thousands of children were hacked to death with machetes.
posted by donth at 6:34 PM on July 2, 2004


Thanks marsha56!
posted by dobbs at 8:05 PM on July 2, 2004


While you were reading this thread, tens of thousands of children were hacked to death with machetes.

On what channel?
posted by LittleMissCranky at 12:42 AM on July 3, 2004


worst Brando remembrance ever, on Danish TV: "To remember Brando we will show one of his films tomorrow night, namely "Don Juan De marco"." *cries*
posted by dabitch at 4:52 AM on July 3, 2004


Farewell, Jor-El.

LOL! OMG, i can see brando sayin', "... so long unicron." :D
posted by kliuless at 7:59 AM on July 3, 2004


My favorite second of Streetcar is when Stanley is rummaging through Blanche's trunk of belongings. He throws aside a feather boa, sending little tufts of dust flying.

He's so in the moment that, without missing a beat, Brando picks a little bit of floating feather out of the air with his thumb and index finger, and flicks it away.
posted by jbrjake at 1:48 PM on July 3, 2004


strangely enough, my favorite brando pic was One Eyed Jacks -- he also directed.

people either hate it or love it. I think it's one of the finest westerns in the history of film.

then again, I think UHF was the best movie about television also
posted by badzen at 8:25 PM on July 3, 2004


What are they gonna say about him? What? They gonna say he was a kind man? He was a wise man? He had plans? He had wisdom?

RIP, Brando
And long live Dennis Hopper!

posted by squirrel at 11:23 AM on July 4, 2004


Farewell, fat fuck. See you in hell.
posted by Slagman at 6:22 PM on July 9, 2004


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