- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 6, 2004

LOS ANGELES (Agence France-Presse) — Late Hollywood legend Marlon Brando was laid to rest over the weekend under secrecy befitting of the reluctant star’s intensely private life, said his longtime friend Jay Kanter.

Mr. Brando, who died of lung failure Thursday at age 80, had a private memorial in Los Angeles attended only by close family.

“The funeral took place over the weekend in Los Angeles,” Mr. Kanter said. “Marlon was cremated in Los Angeles.

“It was very private. Just family was present,” he said of the arrangements that Mr. Brando had dictated.

Mr. Kanter, who was a friend of Mr. Brando’s for about 50 years, said he did not know what would become of the reluctant star’s ashes amid speculation that they may be sprinkled on his private island in Tahiti.

“I don’t know what the plans are,” he said of Mr. Brando, who withdrew from the spotlight more than three decades before his death, living as a virtual recluse either behind the walls of his Los Angeles home or on his Tahitian island.

Mr. Brando has been hailed as one of the greatest actors in movie history who inspired a generation of stars including James Dean, Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Paul Newman and, later, Sean Penn, but his life was overshadowed by personal tragedy and torment.

The brooding, lusty, raw and emotionally honest Method actor ignited classics including “On the Waterfront” (1954), “The Godfather” (1972), “A Streetcar Named Desire” (1951), and “Julius Caesar” (1953).

But he regarded his craft simply as a job that could earn him cash. Critics say that although he was one of the 20th century’s greatest actors, he wasted his huge potential by making a string of well-paid but bad movies.

The actor was praised as a “charismatic rebel” and a “poet” after his death, which was announced early Friday and mourned by Hollywood.

Mr. Brando was considered the definitive “Method” actor — a style that allows the actor to behave naturally, with gestures and characterization coming from the actor’s own experience.

Mr. Brando had a dramatic personal life, marked by dizzying highs and great tragedy, notably the 1995 suicide of his daughter, Cheyenne, and the manslaughter conviction of his son, Christian, for killing Cheyenne’s abusive fiance in 1990.

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