The Who2 Blog

Marlon Brando on Dick Cavett, in 1973

This Marlon Brando interview was just after he’d won the Oscar for The Godfather — and sent a surrogate to accept it, in a controversial move.


He sat down to talk with Dick Cavett, the smartest talk show host in America at the time. And Cavett lets Brando talk and talk, which is good. Later on the show, Cavett’s guests include advocates for Native Americans.

Just before this interview, Marlon Brando offended most of Hollywood at the Oscars that year. He won the Oscar for The Godfather, but he sent a representative to accept it. She was Sacheen Littlefeather, and she spoke about the injustices done to Native Americans.

She was greeted with boos and jeers. Later presenters made fun of her.

But listen to what Brando has to say about it. He makes a lot of sense.

Was it appropriate? I don’t know. I remember seeing the broadcast when I was a kid. I thought it was strange. It was several years before I understood why Marlon Brando is a cinema legend. But it wasn’t THAT strange. It was, as they say, a sign of the times.

It’s a sign of today’s times, also. Watch that Brando interview, and you realize that, sadly, not a lot has changed in Hollywood since 1973. The story goes that after Brando and Dick Cavett taped this interview, they were accosted by a paparazzo, who was assaulted by Brando.

Another good thing about this clip is that it shows why Dick Cavett was appreciated by the critics, if not by big wads of TV viewers. He actually let his guests talk. Cavett doesn’t press Brando to plug his next movie, he lets him talk.

For more, try the Who2 biography of Dick Cavett.

Or maybe the biography of Marlon Brando.

To read more about other oddball Oscar events, read our Common Bonds: Oscar Night Gaffes.

To read more about talk show hosts, read our Common Bonds: Tonight Show Hosts.

And, as a treat for trivia fans, here’s a very funny audio bit of Marlon Brando, on the set of Apocalypse Now, talking about why he hates Burt Reynolds.

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