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Marlon Brando dies at Age 80

Aired July 2, 2004 - 21:00   ET



I could have been a contender.

I want to make him an offer he can't refuse.


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, the screen has done dark on a legendary career and a one-of-a-kind life. Marlon Brando, one of the greatest actors of all time, is dead at age 80. Tonight, we remember this giant with his friends and colleagues, Robert Duvall, Brando's co-star in "The Godfather." Matthew Broderick, his co-star in "The Freshman." Karl Malden, Brando's close friend and co-star in three films. Eva Marie Saint, who played Brando's love interest in "On the Waterfront." Actor Harry Dean Stanton, Brando's close friend and co- star in "The Missouri Breaks." And the famed Hollywood columnist, James Bacon, another old friend of Brando's. Remembering Marlon Brando, the actor, the icon, the man, next on LARRY KING LIVE.

Everyone on this program knew him. Some knew him closer than others. But we all knew him rather well. We all have stories about him. What a giant he was, what an original he was. One program reminder, this Sunday night we'll present a composite of interviews that we've done with Brando on this show. But right now, let's discuss him with our guests.

We'll start on the phone with Karl Malden, who did three films with Marlon Brando. And did you know him in theater in New York, Karl?

KARL MALDEN, ACTOR: I did two plays with Marlon in New York before we did the films.

KING: How was he on stage?

MALDEN: On stage, the first play that we were in together was a play written by Maxwell Anderson called "A Truckline Cafe." It was a play that only ran for eight days, but we were both playing very small parts. I was in the first two acts, and he was in the third act. And in the third act, he came in as a ex second world war hero, and he was talking to his wife in this truckline cafe, and said, "let's go walk on the pier." They went out and walked on the pier. And he came back in about 15 minutes, soaking wet, and he had a scene at the table. It lasted about five minutes, and when it was over, and he stood up to make an exit, the play couldn't go on for at least a minute and a half.

Other people had to just sit there and wait until they stopped. There was screaming, shouting, stamping of the feet. I've never seen it before. And from that time on, I thought this boy should be looked at. I've got to see whether it's for real. And in "A Streetcar Named Desire," when we did the play, which ran for two years, and we shared a dressing room together for two years, he absolutely, when he came on stage, the difficult part is nobody looked at anyone else.

KING: Robert Duvall, what was it like to work with him?

ROBERT DUVALL, ACTOR: Well, it was terrific. I worked with Marlon three times. And I worked with him first on "The Chase," and what I learned from him specifically was, he was talking with somebody having coffee. They called him to do a scene, they said action, he did the scene, and they said cut, he came back to the table. You know, it was all the same. He eliminated that sense of a beginning.

So in other words, he eradicated that sense of a beginning, so it was all one thing. And I learned that from him. And it was great working with him, because, you know, you really can't break the mystery down. I think he had a certain facile sense of irreverence that he used to negate all nervousness. He paraphrased Shakespeare by saying, you know, if it's too important on your face, then it can become negative, this and that, you know, nervousness, whatever. So I think that irreverence that he knew how to use so skillfully, really, really neutralized all that sense of any kind of a nervousness or whatever. So it was really just him in the moment. Beautifully.

KING: Harry, he was also very playful. He was funny. He was...

HARRY DEAN STANTON, ACTOR: He was one of the most multifaceted personalities I've ever seen in my life.

KING: He'd call you on the phone and talk?

STANTON: He'd call me at 3:00 in the morning. We'd talk for two hours. He taught me the monologue from "Macbeth." A tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury signifying nothing. And then we'd give a segue into that...

KING: What was his greatness?

STANTON: God, what was -- it's difficult to define. So many adjectives that could be used. His greatness, his presence. It's kind of a phenomenon that's not explicable, really.

KING: Not -- it is what it is?

STANTON: Yeah, exactly.

KING: Eva Marie Saint, what was it like for you to work with him? EVA MARIE SAINT, ACTRESS: Well, I had done a lot of live television shows and theater, and that was my first feature. And it was an incredible experience, because we were all from the Actor's Studio, including our director, Kazan, but the thing that I remember about Marlon is that when we did the scenes and there were several takes, it was never the same. He was never -- the readings were never quite the same. So you couldn't give your reading the same. I mean, you just would bury it, bury it with him.

And we would have lunch together, but he was always Terry and I was always Edie. Somehow we never -- well, that's because it was a Kazan set or that's the way we worked at the Actor's Studio. But that was so great, because we never -- I cannot say that I know Marlon Brando. I know Terry. And it's like he's in a time capsule for me, because I only saw him once briefly through these last 45-some years.

But to work with him was -- he just had this finely, finely tuned instrument, like a musician. He could play any tune.

KING: What was it like, Matthew Broderick, as the youngest member of the crew here tonight, to work with him?

MATTHEW BRODERICK, ACTOR: Well, it was just one of the most thrilling, lovely times of my life and career. It was -- I was so nervous, even to meet him. We all were. I can remember Bruno Kirby, who was in the movie "The Freshman" with me, the night that we knew Marlon was coming to stay in the hotel up in Toronto -- he stayed in the lobby for hours, Bruno, like a private detective. He had a newspaper, because he just wanted to catch a glimpse of him coming in.

The excitement about him coming to the first rehearsal, I can remember. I can remember him entering the rehearsal on his knees, apologizing for being late, with a cowboy hat and a velour sweatsuit and sunglasses.


And then acting with him was just the most blissful, relaxing -- nervous as I was, I was intrigued by how he was behaving, that I -- it's one of the few times that you've -- I just was able to forget myself as an actor. And I think -- I think that's what it was like to act with him for a lot of people. You just -- you forgot yourself. I don't know how he magically did that.

KING: James Bacon, and you knew him 50 years?

JAMES BACON, COLUMNIST: Yeah. 1950 is when I first met him.

KING: You knew him as a friend and a journalist.

BACON: Right.

KING: What was he like from that standpoint?

BACON: Well, the one thing I noticed about Marlon Brando, when you talked with him, he listened. And he -- he was very interested in what you had to say. And that's the way, I think that's the reason he's such a great actor. You know, he would listen to the other actor, and then react, and speak deliberately. And he was just sensational, I thought in that.

KING: Also very bright.

BACON: Oh, very bright. Gosh, he was a very sharp, yeah, intellectual in a way.

KING: I was shocked -- true. A quick note here on a personal note, when I was told he was going to do an interview with me, he called me up and said I'm going to send a car to pick you up at the hotel and come up to the house for lunch. Except he drove the car, the doorman at the hotel, I'm seeing it, but I don't believe it. We drive around Beverly Hills singing songs, singing songs in the car. And I say, I'm sitting here with Marlon Brando, and he's doing Cole Porter.

We'll take a break and we'll be right back with more memories of a giant. Don't go away.


DUVALL: They shot Sonny on the crossway (ph). He's dead.

BRANDO: I want inquiries made. I want no acts of vengeance. I want you to arrange a meeting with the heads of the five families. This war stops now.




KING: Help me with something, because it's fascinating. Let's say you get a role, it's "The Godfather." You're not a mafia kingpin.

BRANDO: Yes, I am. Who are you?

KING: No, you're not a mafia...

BRANDO: Yes. Well, as a matter of fact I'm not. But we all -- there isn't anything that you are or that you feel or that you have that I don't feel, or that I don't have.

KING: You can bring it into someone.

BRANDO: You can ask an actor, here, this is what you get. You get hit with a crowbar in the head, and you get a brain concussion, you're lying there, and you're mumbling, I mumble anyway, but..

KING: OK, you're saying anyone can do that?

BRANDO: Any -- nobody can die. So, you have to pretend you're dying. KING: OK. Are you saying that when you are the Godfather, you're pretending?

BRANDO: Sure. I'm pretending.

KING: But you're...

BRANDO: We're going to get lost in vocabulary here very quickly.

KING: No, we're not. We're learning what you're doing. What do you do? Do you read -- you read the script? You like it? By the way...

BRANDO: I usually read the script and hate it.

KING: You usually hate it. But you didn't hate the Godfather, right?

BRANDO: No, I liked -- I wasn't sure that I could do it. And Francis fortunately asked me if I would do a...

KING: Test?

BRANDO: Yes, a test. I wasn't -- I would never play a part that I couldn't do.


KING: James Bacon just said, and would you agree Karl Malden, that he was the greatest of all American actors?

MALDEN: I will say that Marlon Brando changed the style of acting in America. Everybody said that he was a method actor. He worked through the method. Studied with people. I say his method was the Marlon Brando method and no one else could copy it. Many young people came after him and tried it, but none did it like Marlon did it.

KING: And can you describe what it was?

MALDEN: If I could describe what it was, I could only say that every time I worked with him, he made me look better. He did it. And what he had, if I knew what he had, and I tried, believe me I tried, I would have stolen it and tried to use it.

KING: He directed -- he directed you in "One-Eyed Jacks."

MALDEN: He did.

KING: What was he like as a director?

MALDEN: I tell you what, it's a shame that they didn't give him a chance to direct again. What he did with that film was absolutely a miracle, sensational. He was a great director with actors. And I just feel that he should have had another chance to direct, but somehow, no one gave it to him. KING: Robert Duvall, was he -- actors talk about giving. Was he a giving actor?

DUVALL: Yes, he was, very much so. I mean, I worked with certain actors that you look forward to acting, and they're not giving and they tend to sabotage things. He was a very giving actor to other actors, and very much so.

And you know, when we did "Godfather I" it was a terrific experience, because it was a lot of fun on the set. He was in for a lot of laughs. And he loved Jimmy Caan. He always wanted to have Jimmy Caan comes on a set, everything goes up, the energy.

And I talked to him four years ago on the phone, hadn't talked to him in 20 years, and he still was trying to remember a joke that Jimmy Caan told 25 years ago. He couldn't remember it. So let's bring Jimmy in to wherever, Jimmy, where are you?

KING: Jimmy Caan said today that he "influenced more young actors of my generation than any actor. Anyone who denies this never understood what he was all about." Do you agree with that, Robert?

DUVALL: Yes, sir. He was a big influence for actors all over the world, but especially American actors, very much so. I mean -- I mean, he -- I think he was a member of the Actors Studio, but he didn't adhere to that. I don't even think he liked Lee Strausburg. His mentor was, you know, Stella Adler.

He didn't have to go anywhere, wherever he went, he would have found himself. You know, I mean, it was his individual gift, you know. And once again, as I said, it's a mystery, you can't break it down necessarily. It's his mystery.

KING: Harry, why was he so reclusive?

DEAN: Reclusive?

KING: Yes. He was in -- when I invited him out to dinner one night and he went, no one could believe it. That he went out. He went to the restaurant. Paparazzi were hanging out of the trees.

DEAN: Yes, I bet.

KING: My friends went crazy, he walked in. Why was it he tended to stay in and phone people?

DEAN: I'll tell you real very quick little story about this friend of mine told me, little boy built sand castles on the beach. And he'd kick them over. And he'd build these beautiful sand castles and kick them over. And there was a guy watching him he goes up to the little kid, said why are you building these beautiful sand castles and then you destroy him? The little kid said, that's what I do.

KING: Well put. So that's what Brando did?

DEAN: Yes. That's what he does. Ultimately, there's no really answer to it. You know, he was just what he was. And we all saw it, and we can go on for hours with adjectives about it. But I don't think there was no reason. He just...

KING: That's him?

DEAN: Yes.

KING: He was also, Eva, was he not, a warm person, jovial, funny?

SAINT: Well, he was very attractive. I was very happy I was married at the time. Still, I had only been a bride about three years, still married to the same guy, by the way, but I was very happy that I was married.

I always felt, you know, rather vulnerable because he was so -- he was just so attractive. And he did have that sense of humor. It was cold making the film in Hoboken, and I had been a skier, and I always wore red flannels under my dull, Navy blue -- you don't know it's Navy blue in the film, but it's Navy blue. I've never worn it since. Edie was always in Navy blue.

So, when it got very cold and there was a lull, I'd lift up my skirt and do the can-can and Marlon would laugh, and sometimes he would come over and say I think it's time for the can-can, Eva Marie.

I mean, he was just -- now I was so saddened this morning when I heard the news. And then driving up here to Santa Barbara, with my husband, they were doing something on the radio, and they played the scene, I could have been a contender, you were my older brother, you should have looked out for me. And I looked over at my husband, because I thought if he's crying I'm going to cry, too.

So we sat there just weeping, just hearing him say those words that are so famous and realizing, at least for our part, there's no other actor. Now you're talking with wonderful actors tonight on your show, but somehow I couldn't imagine any other actor saying those words the way he said them.

KING: Brilliantly written by Schulberg. Not, I could have been a champion. Because the guy was a club fighter.

BACON: That's right. Everybody thought it was improvised, but it wasn't.

KING: I could have been a contender. That's a great line.


KING: Matthew Broderick, did he treat you as a young person or as an equal?

BRODERICK: I think both, I guess. But an equal. I mean, he -- he was the most curious man you can imagine. He always seemed to be terribly interested in what I was saying, and how I felt about things. More than I -- I almost felt like he knew what I was thinking. He had a very penetrating way of looking at you. And it was almost uncomfortable sometimes. I felt he knew -- he could see inside my head.

KING: I remember being at his house one night and he'd look at me Jim and go, what do you think? But what do you really think?

BRODERICK: Yes, yes.

KING: You said Jim told a funny story, Matthew, that he went to Jimmy Durante's funeral -- tell this, this is funny.

BACON: Yeah, I saw him at Jimmy Durante's funeral, and I said "Marlon, I didn't know you were a friend of Jimmy Durante's." He says, "no, I'm not a friend, but I'm a fan." So he shows up at the funeral.


KING: That's a great line. We'll be right back with more on the life and times of Marlon Brando. We'll be including your phone calls with our outstanding panel. Don't go away.


BRANDO: You was my brother, Charlie, you should have looked out for me a little bit. You should have taken care of me just a little bit so I wouldn't have to take them dives for the short-end money.

ROD STEIGER, ACTOR: I had some bets down for you. You saw some money.

BRANDO: You don't understand. I could have had class. I could have been a contender. I could have been somebody. Instead of a bum. Which is what I am. Let's face it.




KING: What has fame done to you, if anything?

BRANDO: It's made me feel kind of isolated and a little alone. It's -- but the society I know and trust are the people that I have known for a long time and love.

KING: Are you happier now?

BRANDO: I'm happy now. Most of the time I'm happy. There were a few blips now and then, but it took me a long time to hit my stride.

KING: Were you ever what might be termed depressed?

BRANDO: No. I was never depressed.

KING: Were you ever...

BRANDO: I had trouble...

KING: Mood swings?


KING: Mood swings.

BRANDO: No. Wasn't mood swings. I was -- I think that I was mostly an angry guy.

KING: Your childhood...

BRAND: Had a quick temper. Quick to fight.


KING: Did you see a lot of that, Karl Malden? Did you see anger in Marlon Brando?

MALDEN: Not between the two of us. Never in the scene -- in the scene in front of people. If he was angry, he would go to the dressing room and take the anger out in the dressing room. But never in front of people.

And I just feel -- I just feel that he was always for the underdog. He always went out for somebody who needed help. He was there. And unfortunately, before you knew it, he was carrying the banner for it. And whether he's prepared for that or not, I think that's what caused a lot of trouble in his career.

KING: Robert Duvall...

MALDEN: The fact that he went to help and suddenly, he got caught, and it went against him.

KING: Sending the Indian girl up to get the Academy Award.

BACON: Oh, yeah. He used to run all John Wayne pictures backwards so the Indians would win.

KING: Robert Duvall, I was talking to Marlon Brando about you once, about what made you a great actor. He said "you're a great actor, Duvall, because you take risks." Would you say that's a description of what makes an actor great?

DUVALL: I think so. You have to know what your limitations are. But it's good to take risks, you know. And he certainly took them. I think that one of the tragedies about Marlon Brando, he never really, you know, delved into his potential. I've told him on two different occasions that he should have played Othello. I mean, we always think of Iago in that play, but if he'd have played Othello, you'd have forgotten about Iago. He would have been a great Othello, but he said boring, boring, you know, eight times a week. You know, but I think he never really delved into his potential, which is kind of sad, because he...

KING: That is interesting. You were saying to me, Harry, that he used to talk Shakespeare to you on the phone, right?

STANTON: Yeah. He'd call me at 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning and start reading me that monologue from "Macbeth," or what is the one from about, now our revels have ended, and faded into thin air? What's that monologue?

KING: James Bacon and I don't know it.

STANTON: Oh. Anyway, it ends up with, where such stuff as dreams are made on. And our little life is rounded with a sleep.

KING: Would he coach you as you spoke?

STANTON: I memorized the monologue, and on the phone, and I was writing it out, and he had me doing the monologue. No, slow it down. Take your time.

KING: He was a phone freak, right, James?

BACON: Oh, yeah.

KING: The guy was on the phone all day.

BACON: He called me up one night, and I think this was the beginning of his Tahitian life. He called me up and says, "come up to the house," he says, "I want you to meet someone." I go up there and there are about eight or 10 of the beautiful Tahitian girls, and I was there all night with Marlon beating the drums while they danced.

STANTON: Oh, another thing he did, too on the phone, he would -- we would -- neither one of us would talk for three or four minutes, and it would just be total silence.

KING: Why?

STANTON: Just...

KING: He called me a couple of months ago -- I know he wasn't speaking the last couple of months, because the lung condition had gotten so bad, and he said, "I got an idea. Why don't you and I go to Tahiti and lie on the roof and do an interview on the roof of the house, on a thatched hut?"

BACON: Yeah. That would have been great.

KING: CNN would have gone for it.

BACON: Sure.

KING: Why not?

BACON: It would have been terrific. KING: We'll be right back with more. We'll be including your phone calls as we continue on the life and times of the late -- it's hard to say that, the late Marlon Brando. Don't go away.


BRANDO: Stella!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You put that howling down there and go to bed.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You shut up. You're going to get the law on you.

BRANDO: Hey, Stella!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) call her back, because she ain't gong to come. You're going to have a big...


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I hope they haul you in and turn a firing squad on you.





BRANDO: Ship's company, I'm taking command of this ship. Mr. Briar (ph), I'll have the keys to the arms chest.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You'll give him nothing. Go below and arm the men of watch.

BRANDO: Stay where you are, Briar (ph). You've given your last command, Bligh. I'll have those keys, Briar (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You heard my order.

BRANDO: One more order, Mr. Bligh, and I'll have your head on this stick. By heaven, I swear it!


KING: Whew. Our panel is in Washington, Robert Duvall, appeared in three films with Marlon Brando -- "The Chase," "The Godfather" and "Apocalypse Now," where Duvall smelled napalm and loved it in the morning, one of the great scenes of all time.

In Bridgehampton, New York, is Matthew Broderick, who's now in "The Stepford Wives," was in "The Freshman" opposite Brando, and of course incredible in "The Producers" on Broadway and will be in the movie version of "The Producers."

On the phone is Karl Malden, one of Brando's oldest friends. Starred with him on stage in "A Streetcar Named Desire" and in the film, and in "On the Waterfront" and in "One-Eyed Jacks."

On the phone is Eva Marie Saint, Marlon's co-star in "On the Waterfront."

Here in Los Angeles is Harry Dean Stanton, who's been in 7,432 movies. Who co-stared with Brando in 1976's "Missouri Breaks."

And also in Los Angeles, James Bacon, the longtime Hollywood journalist and friend of Marlon's, who says that Marlon liked Franchot -- you're not going to remember Franchot Tone, but he was a famous actor in the -- he liked him, right?

BACON: I was on the second story (UNINTELLIGIBLE) on the Paramount lot one day, and we look out on the window and see the lot, and Franchot Tone was walking across the lot. Marlon Brando became giddy like a bobby soxer who's just seen The Beatles, and he said, "God, I'd love to meet that man. Stella Adler always held him up to us." And I yelled out the window, because I now Franchot, I said, "Franchot, wait a minute." I took Marlon down, introduced him to Franchot Tone. And Marlon was ecstatic. He just was crazy about that guy.

KING: He said to me once, "you know Don Rickles. I love Don Rickles."

Did you also notice, Matthew, did you notice something, Matthew, about Brando? He was a dancer in Omaha and a dancer when he came to New York, originally he danced. Did you notice how light he was on his feet, Matthew?

BRODERICK: Yeah. He really was. I remember shooting a scene with him, where he had to ice skate, which he hadn't done in maybe 48 years or something. So he fell a few times, too. But he was remarkable. I mean, he pulled it off. And it took him two or three days to get it. And he did. He was bruised up afterwards. But he looked real light on his feet.

KING: He and Gleason walked light into a room. No matter how heavy they were. Let's take a call. Smithfield, Ohio, hello.

CALLER: Hello. Thank you for taking my call. This question is for anyone on the panel that you have tonight that might know. Was Marlon Brando close to his nine children throughout his life? And was he married at the time of his death? Thank you.

KING: Jim, do you know?

BACON: He was very close to all of his children. Very close to them. And I don't think he was married at the time of his death. No.

KING: I spoke to Miko today, his son. He was also very close to Michael Jackson, was he not?

BACON: Yeah, yeah, he liked Michael.

KING: He liked him a lot.

STANTON: Yeah, I talked to Miko today, too.

KING: Elizabeth Taylor says that she will miss him beyond belief. James Garner said America has lost its leading film actor. He was the best. As far as I'm concerned, he was a great friend, as well, and the world will miss him.

Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Hello.

CALLER: Yes, my question is, how did Marlon Brando deal with the tragic loss of his daughter in I believe 1995? And did he seem distant afterwards?

KING: Harry?

STANTON: He didn't go there much. It was -- I can't.

KING: You can't. Did you know her well?

STANTON: No. But...

KING: What it did to him? He didn't talk about it a lot, did he, James?

BACON: No, he didn't, no. But he was very depressed, I think, when she committed suicide. And it's very tough for a parent to lose a child. It happened to me, I know.

KING: You did? You lost a child?

BACON: Yeah.

KING: Karl, did you talk to him since the death of his daughter?

MALDEN: Did you talk to me?

KING: Yeah, Karl, had you spoken to him after the death of his daughter?

MALDEN: I haven't. But I tell you, when the situation happened, I think it was such a strong situation to him, so strong to his whole mental session, he didn't know what to do. He was just, for the first time, I think, in his life, he was stuck, what do I do? Where do I go? How do I handle this? And he just sat there, and did all he could by having his presence with his family.

KING: That's as good a guy -- Eva Marie, that's probably right, don't you think?

SAINT: Yes. You know, just sitting here thinking of all the wonderful actors I've worked with, more than any one, people always ask what was Marlon Brando really like? Well, before it was what was Marlon Brando really like. Now it's was really like.

And very often in symposiums and questions and answers, I would have to start by saying, by the way, I'll answer any question except what Marlon Brando was really like. And you'd hear everybody go, oh. But, then when the symposium or the lecture was over, whatever, then I'd say just before they're leaving, by the way, Marlon Brando, when I knew him, when I worked with him, he was a prince and one of the most talented actors we've ever had. And then they would applaud.

KING: Robert Duvall, did he ever bring a personal life to the set? Did he ever talk about things bothering him? Family or otherwise?

DUVALL: Not that I remember, no. He just came and did his job. He was -- I mean, the first movie I did with him, you know, the first day was great, we met and we talked. And then after that, he wouldn't -- he didn't say hello for eight weeks. And I figure, what's wrong? But you know, I think it was that everybody wants a piece of the guy so much that he had to withdraw, and like go into himself. You know, and other than that, he was outgoing and very jovial and funny, and everything like that. But I think he was aware that everybody wanted a piece of him. So therefore he kind of withdrew at times, you know?

KING: Was he very professional?

DUVALL: Very much so. Absolutely. Some actors I work with, guys that really aren't qualified, would tell you how to do something, or imply something, insinuate something. But as talented as he was, he could have done that, but he didn't. He did not invade anybody's space, and he was very professional.

KING: We keep speaking of his career. Matthew, remember the opening scene in "Superman"? Remember that, Matthew? He was Superman's father.

BRODERICK: You're not what you're meant to be. Yeah. I need (ph) crystals.

KING: That's right.

BRODERICK: Something with crystals -- yeah, I remember that. I remember everything he did. You know, he could be Superman, it could be -- he made some dreadful movies, I guess, but also, you know, aside from all the absolutely spectacular ones. And even the dreadful ones, he's -- he's -- he's the man.

KING: I love the one with Johnny Depp...

BACON: Yeah, that was great.

KING: "Don Juan."

BRODERICK: That was a good movie, yeah.

KING: Fresno, California, hello.

CALLER: Hi, Larry. Do any of your guests happen to know what nationality Mr. Brando is?

KING: Italian?

BACON: I assume from his name he was part Italian.

KING: French?

BACON: I knew his father very well.

KING: Was he French, too?

BRODERICK: Is Nebraska a country?

KING: He's from Nebraska.

STANTON: He told me once. I think he said there was some French there and maybe Irish.

MALDEN: I think it was French. There was some French there.

KING: He was not a religious man.


KING: But he knew religions.

STANTON: Oh, he was...

MALDEN: Followed them.

STANTON: He was heavy into the Eastern religions, and Taoism, Buddhism, Hinduism.

KING: He knew Einstein's life. I mean, he knew...


STANTON: He would talk about Heisenberg, Max Plank and Einstein, they all agreed to a man that science could not solve the mystery of the universe. And he would take off on those and get into those areas.

KING: We're showing a scene from "Apocalypse Now." Bob Duvall, was that a strange shoot?

DUVALL: Yeah, it was. I worked for three weeks, then went away for six months, and came back and worked six more weeks. You know, and I never was there when Marlon was there, ever. Our paths were never, you know, it was a very difficult shoot for Francis, but it was very difficult, but I was not there when Marlon was there.

I have a good friend Jimmy Keane the actor, he was there and gave me firsthand accounts of all the problems that went on and all the stories about Brando. The stories were great about Brando.

KING: Chicago, hello. CALLER: Hi, good evening, everyone. My question is, has there ever been a role that Marlon Brando maybe tested for but didn't get?

KING: Does anyone know? Was he ever rejected?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't think Marlon ever knew rejection. I mean, he was just too good.

KING: Do we know if he ever turned down anything he regretted?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't think he did.

KING: Karl, do you think so? Karl, do you think he might have turned something down?

MALDEN: Nothing. I think if he wanted to play something he would have taken anything that came along that he thought he could have fun doing and do well.

BRODERICK: I heard a story about him once, I'm not sure if this is true, but that he -- that he hadn't worked in awhile because he didn't feel like it, then he suddenly decided he wanted to work and he called his agent and said that one of his pile of scripts was Ben Hur and he rather enjoyed that and would like to do that. And his agent said, it won best picture about six months ago. He missed that one, Marlon.

SAINT: He said something that I think was so astute, because as a young actress working with him I felt he knew more about me than I knew. He would like into your eyes, is this what you meant, Matthew, and you felt that he could read your soul.

And in the beginning, making Waterfront, after a few scenes I felt a little self-conscious, because I've never been around someone quite like that. And then I would just look right into his eyes. But I didn't quite find his soul. I wasn't as good at it as he was.

KING: Actor Dennis Hopper said today that Marlon Brando was the greatest actor of his generation, influenced my generation of actors more than any other actor. Thankfully most of his performances were on film so that future generations will be able to enjoy, learn, and honor him. We'll be right back.


BRANDO: Are you an assassin?

MARTIN SHEEN, ACTOR: I'm a soldier.

BRANDO: You're neither. You're an errand boy sent by grocery clerks to collect a bill.



BRANDO: You want to know my philosophy of life? Do it to him before he does it to you.

SAINT: I never met anyone like you. There's not a spark of sentiment or romance or human kindness in your whole body.

BRANDO: What good does it do you besides get you in trouble?

SAINT: And when things and people get in your way, you just -- just knock them aside, get rid of them. Is that your idea?

BRANDO: Don't look at me when you say that. It wasn't my fault what happened to Joey. Fixing him wasn't my idea.

SAINT: Who said it was?


KING: Boy was that a key scene. Sacramento, hello.

CALLER: Hello.

KING: Go ahead.

CALLER: Hi. I was just curious, was there any one specific role that Marlon Brando was most proud of?

KING: Let's run around. Do you know Robert Duvall? Did he have any role he loved the most?

DUVALL: I don't know. Because he always downplayed the whole profession.

KING: I know.

DUVALL: He didn't think it was worthwhile the whole thing. So I don't know if he -- I'm sure he had his own thoughts about that. I'm sure Waterfront was one of them, my lord it was brilliant. But he never voiced that to any of us.

KING: Did he ever to you, Karl?

MALDEN: Well, I think -- I think that he always downplayed -- he thought it was child's play and always made fun of it, but he never quit. He never said that's it, I've had it. And I think he would have always gone on playing, doing something because he loved being a child, really.

My children, who heard about this, are both married now, my 2 daughters, they came over and said they loved when he was coming over, and played with them. He loved to play with children. Kazan said the same thing when he was over to his home playing with his children. He loved children.

And I tell you what, I also loved him. He was a great man to be around. You learned so much from him. Even though he was younger than I was, I was trying to teach him certain things, I lost out. But he taught me a great, great, great thing, great thing. And I appreciate that.

KING: Harry, did you know if he had a favorite role?

DEAN: Well, I think he loved all -- I know he loved Terry Malloy because he was on the phone doing the lines from I could have been a contender. I'm hearing this on the phone.

BACON: That was the only time he ever actively campaigned for an Oscar.

KING: Really?

BACON: Oh, yes. His first time when he was nominated for "A Streetcar Named Desire" he sent a taxi cab driver to pick up the Oscar. Marlon told me, I mean he even gave me the taxicab driver's badge number. I called the guy up, he says, yes, he was going to go and pick up the Oscar if he won.

KING: Evansville, Indiana, hello.

CALLER: Yes, Robert Duvall, I loved you guys in "The Godfather." Do you have a favorite, funny memory of working with Mr. Brando in that film?

DUVALL: Yes. Well, I mean, there were a lot of things, you know, I mean like you know, he always pin his lines up to read, you know. And he'd read them, you know. And then, right before they say action we'd like the lines away and put a wedding invitation down there and he'd -- oh.

Then they'd have to say cut. Or you know, we're always mooning each other. Once again with Jimmy around, Jimmy Caan always elevated the whole sense of fun on the set. But there was a lot -- there was a lot of fun with Marlon, yes.

KING: When you were shooting the scenes, Bob, did you realize how good he was?

DUVALL: Oh, yes, I always knew.

KING: Without having to see the finished product?

DUVALL: Oh, yes. The guy was exactly. There was one story, Jimmy was always playing a joke, you know, because Marlon had to prepare for -- to talk about Sonny, his son's death. So he said Francis can I have a few minutes? So he prepared, prepared, prepared, and then did a beautiful emotional scene.

About a week later Jimmy said Francis, can Bobby have a minute to prepare? So I prepared, prepared, prepared, and then all I had to do was walk across a set. Brando kind of gave me a little bit of a dirty look. But not too much. So we were always doing a lot of razz (ph).

KING: We'll be back with our remaining moments with our great panel on the life and times of Marlon Brando. Who, by the way, passed away at age 80. He died last night at UCLA Medical Center, the cause of death was lung failure. We'll be right back.


BRANDO: You look -- want you to rest well and a month from now this Hollywood big shot is going to give you what you want.

You look terrible. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) a month from now, this Hollywood big shot is going to give you what you want.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Too late. They start shooting in a week.

BRANDO: I'm going to make him an offer he can't refuse.




BRANDO: Bobby Duvall is another actor who gets out there, and let's say we all fall on our face, but he's willing to try, and he's very good. And the more he goes on, the better he gets.


KING: How about that, Bob?

DUVALL: I appreciate that. Thank you very much.

KING: Not bad to have -- all right, how are we going to remember him, Jim?

BACON: Well, we're going to remember him as the greatest actor of our time. I don't think anyone touches him.

KING: So all the other things that will be secondary, that he didn't get the award, that he took stands, that he was controversial, Christian Brando?

BACON: I think so -- I think he'll be remembered for his acting ability.

KING: Harry?

STANTON: Yeah, I just -- I agree. Yeah, all of the above.

KING: All of the above?

STANTON: All of the above. While I can do it I just want to say, good night, sweet prince, may flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.

KING: Yes, not bad throw-in. Matthew, you'll always remember him personally. You've got to have a great memory if you worked with him, right? BRODERICK: Yeah. I remember the whole thing. It's just an honor that I had the chance to work with him. I just -- one of the best things that ever happened to me. And I'll remember his work. That's what I'll -- I just think he's the most wonderful actor that ever was.

KING: Karl?

MALDEN: I say to remember him, if I may say in a kind of vain way, those two great powers of 9/11 that were crushed down and came down, but the shadow is always there. I think Marlon's shadow will always be there.

KING: Eva?

SAINT: Oh, I don't think you can top that. Thank you, Karl. That was beautiful. And of all of us, I guess Karl was closer to Marlon. And I agree with Matthew. I was younger at the time, and it was an incredible, incredible experience to send me on my way and expect a lot of myself, and my fellow actors.

KING: Let's get in one more call. Vancouver, British Columbia. Hello.

CALLER: Mr. King, were you absolutely charmed and elated when Mr. Brando surprisedly and humorously kissed you on the lips at the end of one of your shows?

KING: Well, it was the one of the most surprising things that ever happened to me. I get asked about it more than anything else. We had been -- we were at his house. He couldn't have been nicer. It was the first time I interviewed him. We did a second interview here on the set. He was jovial and kidding and serious, and tragic, and funny, and he was everything. He was Brando. We're going to repeat it on Sunday night.

Right at the end of the interview we started to do a song which is the way we had met, singing songs in a car together, driving around, him driving, and just at the end of the song, it happened.

And I think what we're going to do is close out the show by showing it to you. I want to thank Bobby Duvall and Matthew Broderick, Karl Malden, Eva Marie Saint, Harry Dean Stanton, and James Bacon, and I'll be back in a couple of minutes and tell you about what we're going to do over the weekend. But right now, based on the lady's call, here's the way it looked.


KING: Tomorrow night, Ross Perot and some genuine American heroes. Please don't miss tomorrow night on the eve of July Fourth. And on Sunday night, we'll repeat our combined interviews with Marlon Brando and among the guests next week, Gene Hackman.

John King, our namesake has been doing yeoman-like work today. He's been sitting in today for everybody who is off and actually Aaron Brown is off so he's going to host "NEWSNIGHT."

John, are you ready? Is it or are you going to do something else?

JOHN KING, CNN SR. WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: I think this is it for tonight, Larry. I'm filling in for everyone who was smart enough to get away for the holiday weekend.

KING: Have a good time.


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