The Godfather is widely considered to be one of the best films ever made, thanks in large part to the iconic performance of Marlon Brando as Don Vito Corleone. Brando was notorious for his method acting techniques and went as far as to shove cotton balls in his mouth to get Don Vito’s iconic voice down perfectly.
Brando was already a Hollywood legend by the time he worked on this Francis Ford Coppola film. He had already starred in iconic films like A Streetcar Named Desire and On The Waterfront, but his days as a handsome leading man were now long behind him. Brando won his second Academy Award thanks to his portrayal of the mobster, but Brando’s life was never the same after this role.
7 Marlon Brando Won The Oscar And Did Something Very Controversial At The Ceremony
Brando won the Academy Award in 1973 for his role in the Oscar, and he made history by being one of the few people to turn down the award. Brando did not even show up for the ceremony, instead, he sent a woman named Sacheen Littlefeather in his place. Sacheen was sent by Brando as both an act of solidarity with Native Americans and a protest against the racist portrayal of Native Americans in film. The event caused a huge stir. Allegedly, several security guards had to stop actor John Wayne from storming the stage and violently attacking Littlefeather, and Clint Eastwood would later mock Brando and Littlefeather when he presented another award.
6 Marlon Brando Gained Weight
Brando was a hunky leading man in his youth, but as he got older that image seemed more and more distant from the past. Brando famously gained several pounds later in his life, especially after The Godfather. He was also noticeably gaining weight during the production of the mafia movie. While on set, he kept a sandwich in his off-camera hand and would take bites from it in between takes.
5 People Began To Question His Mental Health
Marlon Brando was always considered somewhat of an eccentric – most method actors are because they refuse to drop character. Brando was also famous for making several demands whenever he signed on to a movie, and those demands got more and more outrageous as time went on. In one film he did in the 1990s, he put a prop ice bucket on his head like it was a hat and he refused to take it off. The director was forced to use the shot in the movie. Rumor has it that Brando was suffering or had already suffered a major breakdown.
4 He Kept Making Classic Movies
Despite all of that, Brando was still getting offers left and right. He turned down several classic film roles throughout his career, including One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, A Star Is Born, Taxi Driver, and several others. But he was still cast in iconic films like the controversial Last Tango In Paris, Superman, and yet another Francis Ford Coppola movie, Apocalypse Now.
3 His Demands For Apocalypse Now Were Bizarre
Brando had continued to gain weight every year after The Godfather film and his sense of vanity never left him. Although some say it helped make the film’s cinematography fantastic, Brando demanded that several of his scenes be shot in very specific shadows to hide his weight gain. He also demanded that Vaseline be slicked over the camera lenses to make him look younger. While it did not make audiences forget that Brando was once a fit leading actor, it did give the film some of its most sensational shots.
2 Marlon Brando Made Extremely Controversial Statements
Whether it was his mental health or just a side of him he had suppressed most of his career, near the end of his life Brando began to make a series of controversial comments and statements. In one interview with Larry King, Brando made anti-Semitic comments about Jews controlling Hollywood. Although he quickly apologized for his comments the baggage remained with him for the rest of his life. Also, the rest of the interview did not exactly make Brando look good either. Watch clips of the interview and one will see that Brando was clearly diving deeper into his eccentric self. He also forcefully kissed King on the lips. The interview is now one of the late Larry King’s most famous.
1 He Reached Peak Brando With This Notoriously Bad Sci-Fi Movie
Remember that movie mentioned earlier where Brando put an ice bucket on his head like it was a hat? Well, the film in question was The Island of Dr. Moraueu, the 1996 film version of a classic H.G. Wells novel. That was already adapted for film twice before. The production of the film was a notorious nightmare and Brando was a key part of the debacle. He forced the director to add a midget to the film as Brando’s constant companion, almost like he was a pet. Although it should be mentioned that Brando had suffered a horrible tragedy before production began, his daughter Cheyenne, gruesomely killed herself. In any case, the film and the story of its production were peak Brando all the way around. Brando did a handful of other films before his death in 2004, including Johnny Depp’s directorial debut The Brave. While he went down a bizarre road a the end of his life, he still left behind an iconic Hollywood legacy envied by actors to this day.
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