Plus - Letter to the editor

Did Marlon Brando ever visit Ceylon?

Marlon Brando, unlike other Hollywood heavyweights such as Elizabeth Taylor, Gregory Peck, Alec Guinness, Harrison Ford (we won't go into the Bollywood ones) never made a movie in Sri Lanka. What a shame the island wasn't chosen as the location of Apocalypse Now!

Nevertheless, Brando's colourful imagination for some reason chose Ceylon as a part of his early existence, prior to stardom. As Gary Carey asserts in Marlon Brando: The Only Contender, "Back in the heyday of Hollywood, studios manufactured biographies to fit stars. Not so with Brando. He had his own fantasy factory.

Sometimes he altered the facts to colour an outwardly unexceptional, though frequently troubled, childhood; other times he did it to hoodwink the prying eyes of interviewers.

Following the information he supplied, the press agents prepared some of the most outrageous biographical sketches ever concocted.

Here is one account of Marlon's life as it appeared in a 1946 Playbill: 'Born in Bangkok, Siam the son of an etymologist now affiliated with the Field Museum in Chicago, Mr Brando passed his early years in Calcutta, Indo-china, The Mongolian Desert and Ceylon . . .'"

Richard Boyle

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