The Way It's Never Been Done Before: My Friendship with Marlon Brando

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9780060786304: The Way It's Never Been Done Before: My Friendship with Marlon Brando

Marlon Brando was the brightest, boldest, and most iconoclastic acting talent of our time. But while his courage and imagination as an artist brought applause and attention from around the world, Brando shunned nearly everything that goes with celebrity status. He was one of the most reclusive personalities in modern times and a legend beyond compare. He was also an equal opportunity provocateur -- a dazzling baffler -- be it on stage, on screen, or in his private life. Always true to his nature, he never failed to surprise. He did things his way -- The Way It's Never Been Done Before.

No one shared as much of Brando's private fields as his lifelong friend and business confidant, George Englund. For more than five decades, Brando and Englund were each other's most trusted ally and closest compadre. Even at their first meeting, at a Hollywood party in 1956 -- the kind of occasion where Brando was most on guard against any who would attempt to get close to him -- he and Englund forged close ties. From that initial meeting right up to the eve of the superstar's death in the summer of 2004, Brando and Englund were in nearly constant contact. They traveled together, worked together, and played together. They consoled and cajoled each other through their marriages and divorces, the births and tragic deaths of their children, good and bad business deals, and the onset of aging, concluding with Brando's death at the age of eighty.

"I remembered what Mark Twain wrote," Englund says, "'that everybody is a moon with a dark side he doesn't show anyone else.' I felt this was an appropriate hour for a book that looked at the other side of Marlon, that told of the man and friend and father he was. There has not been such a book in Marlon's lifetime, even including his autobiography, and I felt that after our long years of friendship, perhaps I should attempt to write it. I knew the difficulty I would encounter; to write about Marlon is to work with delicate glass, for he was, without question, the most complicated personality I ever met or knew about.

"I once thought what a grand time he and I would have writing the book about our friendship together. That possibility has passed away, for Marlon is gone now -- I must make the attempt to write of us alone. I summon to the task the sacredness, which, when we were at our best, Marlon and I laid upon our friendship."

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