april-3.jpgCan any actor can live up to the legend that is Marlon Brando, who was born on this day in 1924? The suave bad boy who popularized the leather jacket as a symbol of rebel cool, the Nebraska-born Brando’s acting techniques developed throughout his studies at the New School and the Actors Studio in New York City. Under former teacher (and celebrated director) Elia Kazan, Brando won favor as Broadway’s Stanley Kowalski in Tennessee Williams’ “A Streetcar Named Desire.” Four years later his big-screen version of the same character brought the first glimmer of fame when he received a Best Actor Oscar nomination. (This would be the first of eight nods from the Academy throughout his illustrious career.) Buff up on film history by watching his one-of-a-kind performances in 1953’s Julius Caesar, Kazan’s On the Waterfront, Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather and Apocalypse Now and the 1972 classic, Last Tango in Paris. Brando’s last movie, before passing away of lung complications in 2004, was opposite Robert De Niro and Edward Norton in Frank Oz’s The Score.

Factoid: Marlon Brando was the inimitable protector in Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather. For his patriarchal role, the actor won the Academy Award for Best Actor but chose not to show his face at the ceremony–instead enlisting a local actress to impersonate a Native American woman and appear on his behalf. His goal was to promote equality in Hollywood for the indigenous people. It was a cause so close to Brando that he had co-founded the American Indian Movement the previous year.