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Brando's Smile

His Life, Thought, and Work

Susan L. Mizruchi (Author)

Overview | Formats

A groundbreaking work that reveals how Marlon Brando shaped his legacy in art and life.

When people think about Marlon Brando, they think of the movie star, the hunk, the scandals. In Brando’s Smile, Susan L. Mizruchi reveals the Brando others have missed: the man who collected four thousand books; the man who rewrote scripts, trimming his lines to make them sharper; the man who consciously used his body and employed the objects around him to create believable characters; the man who loved Emily Dickinson’s poetry.

To write this biography, Mizruchi gained unprecedented access to a vast number of annotated books from Brando’s library, hand-edited copies of screenplays, private letters, and recorded interviews that have never before been quoted in a biography. Original interviews with some of the still-living players from Brando’s life, including Ellen Adler, his one-time girlfriend and the daughter of his acting teacher Stella Adler, provide even deeper insight into the complex person whose intelligence belied the high-school dropout.

Mizruchi shows how Brando’s embrace of foreign cultures and social outsiders led to his brilliant performances in unusual roles—a gay man, an Asian, a German soldier—to test himself and to foster empathy on a global scale. We also meet the political Brando: the civil rights activist, the close friend of James Baldwin, the actor who declined his Oscar to support Indian rights.

More than seventy stunning—and many rare—photographs of Marlon Brando illuminate this portrait of the man who has left an astounding cultural legacy.

Book Details

  • Paperback
  • June 2015
  • ISBN 978-0-393-35120-0
  • 5.5 × 8.3 in / 512 pages
  • Sales Territory: Worldwide

Other Formats

  1. Book CoverBrando's Smile: His Life, Thought, and Work


Endorsements & Reviews

“Eye-opening . . . made me rethink my opinion of the actor. And rewatch his films with greater appreciation of his craft.” — Carrie Rickey, Philadelphia Inquirer

“An always interesting, addictive book (I didn’t move for two days).” — Antonia Quirke, Financial Times

“Forcefully reminds us of the actor’s guile and charm, as well as his reckless bohemian spirit. . . . [Mizruchi] has construct[ed] something that is . . . more than I imagined possible.” — Scott Eyman, Wall Street Journal

“[Mizruchi is] the first to have access to Brando’s private archives, including his extensive library, film archives and research materials… Fascinating.” — Tom Shone, Atlantic

“To understand the complete Brando…any future biographer will now have to take account of Mizruchi’s Brando as well—to somehow square the lover and the sensualist with the critical thinker.” — Julia M. Klein, Boston Globe

“Explores the Brando that was not visible to the world in order to better understand the one that was—a Brando that was independent of the public persona and often at odds with it.” — Examiner

“The most amazing restoration work on an artist’s image that I’ve ever seen.” — Greg Carpenter, Sequart Magazine

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