By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
By Dennis Romero
By Simone Wilson
Eight months later, Henshaw went to a preview of The Mento see how Brando had fared. “And I thought, ‘The movie’s not bad. And he’s pretty good in it.’”
Obviously, it’s impossible to let Brando’s death go unremarked. So we share a few of our favorite — and unpublished — stories about his early career. Like how his first-ever screen test, set up by 20th Century Fox, consisted of the actor sitting on a stool in various positions. Brando was so bored that he pulled a yo-yo out of his pocket and played with it while the camera ran. He was ordered to stop. Then, in the middle of the next take, Brando pulled an egg out of his pocket and did a magic trick.
At that point, Fox threw him out.
Soon after, Tallulah Bankhead, then 44, was looking for a young leading man to star with her on Broadway in The Eagle Has Two Heads. Brando got the part. But when Bankhead kept making unwanted advances toward him, he wanted out. Luckily, his contract had an escape clause, and he was immediately considered for the lead in a play whose final draft Tennessee Williams was finishing in Key West.
With agent in tow on the way to the audition, Brando was intent only on harmonizing barbershop style with his rep on an old vaudeville favorite, “Dear Old Girl, the Robin Sings Above You.” Next, Brando’s agents paid his train fare to meet with Williams about The Poker Night, later re-titled A Streetcar Named Desire.
After Brando became an overnight sensation as Stanley Kowalski, Hollywood beckoned. Stanley Kramer was casting The Men and considering Brando for the lead. So the actor came to California. The two young agents who met his train in Pasadena found not just Brando but also his pet monkey, which had torn up the upholstery on several seats during the trip and was declared pet non grata on the rails.
Soon, Brando was living in a ménage à trois in the Valley with another man and a woman, and . . . oh, enough already.
So we got to thinking: What does Bill Clinton say about Hollywood in his memoirs? Sorry, but our job description does not include plowing through all 957 pages. Like any crafty slacker, we headed for the index looking for anything faintly show biz, aside from stuff about the Bloodworth-Thomasons (who cares about their silly sitcom careers anyway?).
WHAAAAT? No Geffen. No Katzenberg. Not even Spielberg. Didn’t these guys get everyone in Hollywood to bankroll Clinton? Talk about ingratitude. But, phew, there are seven pages on Barbra Streisand, including this nugget: Seems that after he was elected president, Clinton introduced Babs to his mother at one of the inaugural balls. “I told them both I thought they’d get along. They did more than that. They became fast friends, and Barbra called my mother every week until she died.”
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