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Marlon Brando (1924-2004) was an Academy Award winning film actor known for his method acting, intensity of performance, the rapid weight gain in later years, and the continual mumbling throughout his career. The actor first made a name for himself with his portrayal of Stanley in the stage production of A Streetcar Named Desire, a role he reprised on film in 1951. In addition to a spate of biographical roles in the 1950s (including Emiliano Zapata, Marc Antony, and Napoleon Bonaparte), Brando starred as Terry Molloy in the gritty On the Waterfront (which included his famous "I could have been a contender" speech), for which he won his first Oscar for Best Actor, and in the biker film The Wild One.
In 1972, following a string of lesser films, the older, heavier Brando made a career comeback as Don Vito Corleone in The Godfather, a role which would become as iconic as his "Wild One" persona. This was followed by Jor-El in Superman and Col. Kurtz in Apocalypse Now, and then another lull. He spoofed his Godfather persona in The Freshman (1990, with Matthew Broderick and Paul Benedict), and worked with Frank Oz for his final on-camera appearance, as Max in The Score (2001). The temperamental Brando derided his work on both films.
Oz recalled the difficulties on The Score in an interview with Australian paper Herald Sun: "I stayed away from Marlon more towards the end because, honestly, we didn't get along after a while... We had creative differences, but he came around to do it the way we felt, and God bless him. Even so, it was a difficult situation." According to other newspaper accounts, the situation was even worse, with Brando referring to the director as "Miss Piggy". In a more dubious claim, The New Zealand Herald and Associate Press wires transcribed an alleged anonymous eye-witness account, claiming that Brando went so far as to say, "I bet you wish I was a puppet so you could stick your hand up my ass and make me do what you want."
- Rowlf appeared in Brando's role as The Dogfather in a parody calendar image.
- Kermit the Frog later appeared in the role of Don Corleone in a short produced for The Odyssey Channel.
- In Muppet Classic Theater, when Gonzo asks Rizzo to take over narration while he stars in a segment, Rizzo sarcastically refers to him as "Mr. Brando."
- In Muppet Treasure Island, during the song "A Professional Pirate," Black Eyed Pea delivers a vocal Brando impression, saying "I coulda been a contender" (in a line looped by Bill Barretta).
- In episode 12 of From the Balcony...
- Waldorf: (referring to narration from a movie trailer), "Did they just reference The Godfather?"
- Statler: "If he were still alive, Marlon Brando would be embarrassed."
- In a special features interview on the DVD for CinderElmo, actor French Stewart lists Elmo behind only Pacino, Brando and Streep in terms of talent.