The Contender by William J. Mann

Staff Pick

Beginning with the sobering and somber testimony Marlon Brando gave at his son’s sentencing hearing for murder, William J. Mann’s biography, The Contender (Harper, $35), interweaves three major motifs into each stage of Brando’s life and work. First, there’s Brando’s personal brand of masculinity; bucking traditional chauvinism, this included highly intimate, even romantic (as in the case of the French actor Christian Marquand), relationships with men. Then there’s the actor’s lifelong commitment to social justice. Brando participated in conventional protests—most famously the 1963 March on Washington, which Mann reconstructs in detail, including Brando’s efforts to drum up celebrity support—and unconventional activism, most famously, by having Sacheen Littlefeather appear on his behalf at the 1973 Academy Award ceremony to refuse the Oscar. Perhaps most significantly—or possibly most salaciously, as Mann never shies away from details—there’s Brando’s near constant romantic and familial drama, which Mann characterizes as the star’s greatest failure. Brando’s perennial affairs and his neglect of his family clash with the popular image of Brando as a
ladies’ man.

The Contender: The Story of Marlon Brando Cover Image
$35.00
ISBN: 9780062427649
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Harper - October 15th, 2019

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