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Ray Pride

By Ray Pride

Picturing unknown Brando

wheels up 2_LIFE.jpg
Sixty years ago today Marlon Brando’s first feature, The Men, was released. LIFE’s published a gallery of the “the brilliant brat,” from which these are drawn, here.
“Accompanying Ed Clark’s images in LIFE’s archives were meticulous notes about Brando written by Theodore Strauss, who would ultimately write the magazine’s 1950 profile coinciding with the release of The Men. Strauss details every quirk of the actor: what he wore, how he ate, what he read, how he shunned any sort of red carpet that might have been laid out for him when he came to town. “Stanley Kramer, producer of The Men, had intended on putting Brando in a good hotel, but Brando would have none of it,” Strauss writes. “First of all he insisted on living with the paraplegics in Birmingham Veterans Hospital during the four weeks before production began. This, he felt, was necessary to giving a completely knowledgeable and valid performance in his role. At the hospital he was given a bed in a 32-bed ward, where he was treated almost like any other patient.” Pictured: On the grounds of the hospital, Brando attempts to tip back and balance his wheelchair.” First photo: Margaret Bourke-White. Second, Credit: Edward Clark/TIME & LIFE Pictures

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