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Marlon Brando

Brando was born on April 3, 1924. Although born in Omaha, Nebraska, he grew up in Illinois. At age eleven Brando's parents separated. He, along with his mother and sisters, went to live with his grandmother.

She was a devout Christian Scientist, and was reputed to have a very well developed sense of humor. Brando's parents were not themselves believers, but his mother sometimes encouraged him to follow his grandmother in her faith.

Brando was expelled from a military school, and then worked as a ditch digger. When his father offered to pay, Brando began studying with Stella Adler, an acting coach. He also studied at Lee Strasberg's Actor's Studio. It was there that Brando learned the "method approach".

Soon afterward, Brando began his career on Broadway in I Remember Mama. When he performed in Truckline Café he was voted Broadway's Most Promising Actor for 1946. Then, in 1947, he first played what may be the most famous role of his younger years, Stanley Kowalski in A Streetcar Named Desire.

Brando then moved from the Broadway stage to the silver screen. He played in The Men before reprising his role in Streetcar in 1951. The movie production won four Academy Awards.

Although his film career was very successful, he soon earned a less than savory reputation in Hollywood. He was well known for his temper, and for trying to change the script during production. As renowned as his behavior was on set, his behavior off set was unruly, even by the standards of Hollywood.

Brando has been married three times, and is known to have fathered at least eleven children, both in and out of wedlock. His rebellious lifestyle has not gone unnoticed, and various explanations for it have been proposed. Time magazine once stated, "Brando had a stern, cold father and a dream-disheveled mother - both alcoholics, both sexually promiscuous - and he encompassed both their natures without resolving the conflict."

Some more extreme Christians have proposed that Brando's desire was actually for "dismembering the moral traditions of the American people." They criticize him for his on screen rebellion and claim that he is glorifying homosexuality, drugs, and other values they find immoral and term "New Age."

Brando's own views of the spiritual were somewhat different. While in school he wrote to his grandmother that he had been reading the Bible, which did not mean much to him. He enjoyed the study of philosophy. He studied religion, especially Christian Science, the faith of his grandmother. However, he never became a religious man. At his son Christian's murder trial, he would not swear a religious oath because of his atheism.

Although he put on quite a bit of weight as he grew older, and the quality of the parts he has played has declined, few would argue his greatness as an actor. Brando's career has spanned a great many roles and has been very successful. Among others, his movies have included: Viva Zapata!; On the Waterfront; Guys and Dolls; Mutiny on the Bounty; The Godfather; The Freshman; and The Island of Dr. Moreau.

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