Imagine being so good looking, you could practically seduce anyone you encountered on this Earth. Now throw in being one of the greatest acting talents from not just your generation – but all time. And just for kicks, let’s suppose that anyone even remotely associated with film and television is desperate to throw money at you. So much so, in fact, that you demand US$1 million in cash just to appear on set without even bothering to learn your lines. You’re bound to develop quite an appetite for life.
When the world is your oyster…
The scenario I just posed wasn’t so much a hypothetical in the case of Marlon Brando, as much as it was an everyday reality. The man revolutionised his craft, introducing a new era of subdued realism to being a thespian.
There’s even a famous story about him during his acting school years, wherein the one and only Stella Adler prompted the class to acts like chickens right before a nuclear bomb was being dropped.
The entire class were sent into hysterics, over-the-top clucking and all. But Brando remained calm and mimed laying an egg. When asked why he chose to react that way, Brando merely replied, “I’m a chicken—what do I know about bombs?”
Suffice it to say, his prowess on stage and screen wasn’t exactly a secret. But something that may have eluded the majority of you in the modern age – his indiscriminate sexual habits. And I know what you’re thinking… an attractive Hollywood star in the peak of his success. He’d easily bed quite a few women, like Marilyn Monroe, Katy Jurado, and Anna Kashfi; that’s not exactly news, sure.
Only it wasn’t exclusively women. As many would later reveal, Marlon Brando – the very same Marlon Brando who played Stanley Kowalski, Terry Malloy, Don Vito Corleone, Colonel Walter E. Kurtz, and Jor-El – pretty much traversed the globe fucking whoever he saw.
“He’d fuck anything,” says legendary music producer, Quincy Jones.
“Anything! He’d fuck a mailbox. James Baldwin. Richard Pryor. Marvin Gaye.”
Yes, that’s right. Even Richard Pryor. As the comedian’s widow, Jennifer Lee Pryor, would confirm in a statement to the press,
“It was the 70s! Drugs were still good, especially Quaaludes. If you did enough cocaine, you’d fuck a radiator and send it flowers in the morning.
There are even stories involving Brando and the “Superman of Havana”. A man with an 18-inch penis most notably featured in the Cuban sex show scene from The Godfather Part II. According to recounts sourced by Rosa Lowinger, Brando once had a secret affair with the enigmatic “Superman” (the latter of which has since disappeared from the face of the Earth). For a more colourful explanation of this so-called “Superman”, you can hear Joey Diaz talk all about it on the Joe Rogan Experience here.
Mutiny On The Bounty (1962), AKA: Fuck Island
The most notable of his exploits was the high profile disaster production of Mutiny On The Bounty in 1962. Brando developing something of a reputation at this point, having famously “wasted” US$6 million of the film’s budget with his antics.
Multiple recounts would allege Brando spent a lot of his time there fucking around, in both the literal and philosophical sense. With claims of orgies and far too much leisurely living in comparison to dedicating his time towards the already expensive film production, with costs only snowballing by the day.
The quote which most appropriately describes what actually went down throughout this entire debacle was from Brando himself:
“Realities surpassed even my fantasies about Tahiti, and I had some of the best times of my life making Mutiny on the Bounty. Every day, as soon as the director said “cut” for the last time, I ripped off my British naval officer’s uniform and dove off the ship into the bay to swim with the Tahitian extras working on the movie. Often we only did two or three shots a day, which left me hours to enjoy their company, and I grew to love them for their love of life.”
Brando was so profoundly taken with the Tahitian lifestyle that he would later secure a 99-year lease a 12-island atoll by the name of Teti-aroa. It became a place he made home, to get away from the US and all its business-oriented proclivities. It also became a place which hosted numerous orgies – but mainly the other thing (let’s try to keep this one paragraph moderately wholesome). To this day, the village which Brando built still stands.
Mutiny On The Bounty would go on to become one of the most expensive films of its time, as well as one of the largest box-office and critical bombs. This honestly could be its own series of articles with extensive details about the entire saga. For the sake of keeping it concise, however, let’s just leave it at that.
Be yourself… unless you can be Marlon Brando (in which case be Marlon Brando)
There’s a lesson to be learned here about being unashamed of who you care and living by your personal truth. At a time when being anything but heterosexual in public could mean ostracisation to the max, or worse, being physically beaten without any regard from the criminal justice system, Brando just went for it. Point of fact, up until 1967, homosexuality was illegal in the UK. The punishment? A prison sentence or chemical castration deemed to be a “treatment”. Outrageous.
“Like a large number of men, I, too, have had homosexual experiences, and I am not ashamed,”
he would later state on the record in a 1976 interview.
“I have never paid much attention to what people think about me. But if there is someone who is convinced that Jack Nicholson and I are lovers, may they continue to do so. I find it amusing.”
I think we can all take something away from wearing your heart on your sleeve like that. Chances are, the world won’t change their mind about who you are. So why run away from it? Just be you. The best possible version of you. Everything else is just – noise. And just because we can, let’s tack on a “love is love” message.