Marlon Brando was quite simply one of the most celebrated and influential screen and stage actors of the postwar era; he rewrote the rules of performing, and nothing was ever the same again. Brooding, lusty, and intense, his greatest contribution was popularizing Method acting, a highly interpretive performance style which brought unforeseen dimensions of power and depth to the craft; in comparison, most other screen icons appeared shallow, even a little silly. A combative and often contradictory man, Brando refused to play by the rules of the Hollywood game, openly expressing his loathing for the film industry and for the very nature of celebrity, yet often exploiting his fame to bring attention to political causes and later accepting any role offered him as long as the price was right. He is one of the screen's greatest enigmas, and there will never be another quite like him.
Born April 3, 1924, in Omaha, NE, Brando's rebellious streak manifested itself early, resulting in his expulsion from military school. His first career was as a ditch digger, but his father ultimately grew so frustrated with his son's seeming lack of ambition that he offered to finance whatever more meaningful path the young man chose to pursue. Brando opted to become an actor -- his mother operated a local theatrical group -- and he soon relocated to New York City to study the Stanislavsky method under Stella Adler. He later worked at the Actors' Studio under the tutelage of Lee Strasberg, and his dedication to the principles of Method acting was to become absolute. After making his professional debut in 1943's Bobino, Brando bowed on Broadway a year later in I Remember Mama; for 1946's Truckline Cafe, the critics voted him Broadway's Most Promising Actor.