Marlon Brando occupies a place within me. I could say he occupies a place within my heart, but I did not know him personally. I have never hugged him. He has never seen me or heard of me. I am just one of the billion or so people that happened to be breathing the same air, living on the same small planet that he was during his life time.
I could say he occuipes a place within my mind, and this would be true. I learned of his name, before even knowing the title of any of his movies. I was young. As I grew in height and age and hopefully wisdom, I sought out to understand and to learn of this man.
What was so special about him? Who was this man that played in both the Broadway show and the film A Street Car Named Desire? Why was he the The Wild One, and after all of his accomplishments, he was clearly a Contender On the Water Front.
When I watch his performances, I clearly see the man he is and the person he portrays is as vivid and as real as one can be. This was one of his true gifts to us; however, it did come with a cost.
What is not well known, at least to me is that he suffered in his early years. He was raised by alcoholic parents. You can read about it here. He found comfort within himself and found way to make a life and a living from the gifts he had. The gifts of self perseveance that allowed him to find his way out of the disfunction he was born into.
As I watch his movies now, knowing this about him, I can see his angst in each role, his ability to connect with the character, a character who most often encounters a pain, a challenge and a role to find a way to be loved, even if heavy loss is the result.
He wanted to be seen and appreciated for who he was. He wanted to be loved without having to loose. He wanted to be cool and aloof, as to not let on that he was as vulnerable as all of us.
After the filiming of Mutiny on the Bounty, he fell in love with the Tahitian people and purchased the Tetiaroa, a small Atol which is part of French Polynisia. He built structures and a home there, that became his retreat from Hollywood.
This all being told, you can do the research yourself and learn about his life and his movies, but my reason to write about him is a personal one. He occupies a place in my mind. I can look back over the years and read of his life start to finish. His ways, his choices and decisions have become models to me and to others.
He did want he wanted. He was who he was and while not all welcomed him, it did not matter. This is not what life is all about. Life is about living and living in your own way, with your own desires, curiosities, goals and dreams.
He once said, he was not an actor, but a human who acted sometimes. These words congeal the essence that made him great. Although he was the father of Superman, he was, after all, one of us.
Although he never knew me, or hugged me or said hello, he does have a place in my heart and I am forever grateful to have been here, breathing the same air, living on the same small planet, in the time we had together.