June 24, 2005

Brando's personal effects at auction in NY

NEW YORK - The personal effects of Hollywood legend Marlon Brando -- from his driver's licenses to a fake bloody finger -- go on sale next week in an auction that may provide clues to the life of the private, eccentric actor.

The more than 300 lots in Thursday's auction at Christie's are being sold by Brando's estate and are expected to sell for more than $1 million.

Many of the lots feature scripts, pictures, clothing and other materials from Brando's movies, including 36 pages of Brando's notes on "Mutiny On The Bounty." Also included are a note from "The Godfather" author Mario Puzo appealing to Brando to take the starring role in the movie, a telegram to Marilyn Monroe when she was hospitalized for depression, his old wallets, credit cards and a medical alert tag listing his allergy to penicillin.

Brando biographer Peter Manso called the auction "grossly insensitive."

The actor would be "turning over in his grave" to know that his personal possessions were being put up for sale, the author of "Brando: The Biography" told Reuters.

According to Manso, Brando left instructions that his bedroom be sealed with a padlock after his death, saying, "They will steal the buttons off my shirt."

Other items up for auction include correspondence between Brando and civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., "Godfather" director
Francis Ford Coppola, writer Jack Kerouac, singer Joan Baez and actress-singer
Barbra Streisand.

Four Japanese lacquer boxes are filled with jokes and magic tricks, including a fake severed finger. Also up for bid are Brando's garden furniture, books, several wide cotton kimonos and awards he won at summer camp in his youth.

On stage and screen, Brando was known for iconic portrayals of brutish male ego in "A Streetcar Named Desire" and of brooding menace as a Mafia kingpin in "The Godfather."

He lived a lifestyle that intrigued his fans, shunning mainstream Hollywood, advocating environmental and Native American causes and buying an atoll in French Polynesia. When he died in July at the age of 80, Brando left an estate valued at more than $20 million split among nine of his children.

Brando won Oscars for his role in "On the Waterfront" in 1954 and his role in "The Godfather" in 1972.

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