Los Angeles, June 24: Before there was Don Corleone, there was this, scrawled on the back of a script: “Through the nose”, “High voice”, “Nose broken early in youth to account for difficulty”.
Marlon Brando, it turns out, was a jotter. Also a doodler, a book lover, and a bit of a packrat, at least when it came to sun hats and baseball caps.
A trove of the legendary actor’s personal effects is to be auctioned next week at Christie’s in New York.
To glance through the catalogue is to feel a voyeur’s sense of poking through the closets and drawers at the late actor’s Mulholland Drive home.
There are childhood school yearbooks and summer camp medals, correspondence from co-stars and directors such as Karl Malden, Elia Kazan and Francis Ford Coppola. There are three pages of facial caricatures Brando doodled back in the 1980s, along with handmade furniture, bongo and conga drums, harmonicas, boxing gloves and a foosball table (also known as table soccer).
Among the more mundane trophies: two California driver’s licences, priced from $300 to $500, and six store cards and charge cards for $300 to $500. There’s also a collection of approximately 25 sun hats and baseball caps, including two novelty solar-powered fan caps that Brando wore while on location in Australia during the filming of The Island of Dr Moreau priced at $400 to $600.
One item speaks volumes about the reclusive side of the Oscar-winning actor’s lifestyle. Brando’s son Miko chuckled as he recalled the warning sign that hung for years outside his father’s home, which was recently purchased by Brando’s neighbour, Jack Nicholson. The sign, red letters on a white background, read: “Do not leave car. Sound horn. Attack guard dog on property.”
“We had those dogs up there, and if you didn’t know them or they know you, you would have to wait in your car until someone escorted you to the house,” the son recalled.
Helen Bailey, the head of pop arts at Christie’s, estimates the auction could bring in $400,000 to $500,000, conservatively.