Marlon Brando inA Streetcar Named Desire
Marlon Brando in
A Streetcar Named Desire
Marlon Brando, who played the role of Stanley Kowalski in the original stage and screen versions of Tennessee Williams's A Streetcar Named Desire and who was widely regarded as one of the greatest actors of his era, died yesterday in a Los Angeles hospital at 80. The cause of death was not immediately known.

Though his performance as the brutish Stanley opposite Jessica Tandy as Blanche, Kim Hunter as Stella, and Karl Malden as Mitch in the 1947 Broadway production of Streetcar shot him to stardom, Brando was already an established Broadway actor when he took on the role, having appeared in A Flag is Born, Candida, Truckline Cafe, and I Remember Mama.

Brando was best known for his many memorable roles in high profile films. He made his screen debut in The Men (1950) but it was his performance as Stanley in the 1951 film version of Streetcar that created a sensation; Hunter and Malden also repeated their Broadway roles in the film, and Vivien Leigh played Blanche DuBois. All four actors received Academy Award nominations for their performances; Brando was the only one of them not to take home an Oscar. (The Best Actor award that year went to Humphrey Bogart for The African Queen.)

Among Brando's other notable films are Viva Zapata!, Julius Caesar, The Wild One, Guys and Dolls, The Teahouse of the August Moon, Mutiny on the Bounty, Last Tango in Paris Superman, Apocalypse Now, A Dry White Season, and The Freshman. In all, Brando received eight Academy Award nominations, winning for his performances in On the Waterfront and The Godfather. (He refused to accept the latter award in protestation of Hollywood's treatment of Native Americans).

Marlon Brando was born in Omaha, Nebrasaka in 1924 and raised in Illinois. At 19, he moved to New York, studying at the New School and then at the famed Actors' Studio with Lee Strasberg and Stella Adler; there, he honed the Method acting technique that would become his trademark. His often tumultuous personal life included three marriages and many children, one of whom (Christian) was convicted of killing the boyfriend of his half sister, Cheyenne Brando, in 1990. Cheyenne committed suicide in 1995. Brando's autobiography, Brando: Songs My Mother Taught Me, was released in 1994 but was criticized for delving very little into his personal life, which he held to be private.

Brando is survived by two sisters and a number of children including Christian Devi Brando, Miko Brando, and Simon Tehotu Brando, Rebecca Brando, Petra Barrett Brando, and Ninna Priscilla Brando.