Marlon Brando

  • Born: April 3, 1924 in Omaha, NE
  • Died: July 1, 2004 in Westwood, CA
  • Notable Works:
    • A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)
    • On the Waterfront (1954)
    • The Godfather (1972)
  • Academy Award Nominations:
    • 1952 Best Actor for A Streetcar Named Desire
    • 1953 Best Actor for Viva Zapata!
    • 1954 Best Actor for Julius Caesar
    • 1955 Best Actor for On the Waterfront (won)
    • 1958 Best Actor for Sayonara
    • 1973 Best Actor for The Godfather (won)
    • 1974 Best Actor for Last Tango in Paris
    • 1990 Best Actor for A Dry White Season
  • Personal Favorite: On the Waterfront (1954)

The 1950s saw a a very important shift in acting that would change moviemaking for decades to come. This shift was the rise of the Stanislavski system, more commonly known as method acting. Brando was one of the first real stars to employ and excel with this system. James Dean, John Garfield, and Montgomery Clift were other major practitioners during the explosion of method acting. However, all three of them would die before the age of forty during the 1950s and 1960s. Because of that, it was Brando’s name that would be forever tied to bringing this new realism to acting. He grew up acting, impersonating farm animals at home and later attending acting school. One of his early teachers was the great Elia Kazan, who would end up directing three of Brando’s greatest films, A Streetcar Named Desire, Viva Zapata!, and On the Waterfront. Brando had unrivaled success in the 1950s but struggled in the 1960s, virtually everything he did in that decade was a critical and commercial flop. In 1972, The Godfather marked his return to Hollywood greatness. He then rounded out the rest of the 1970s with Last Tango in Paris, The Missouri Breaks, Superman, and Apocalypse Now.

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