Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
July 4, 2004
POP CULTURE: Walk Like Brando Right Into the Sun

One thing I was thinking about this week with the death of Marlon Brado - in the mid/late 50s, four of the biggest stars in Hollywood, were Brando, James Dean, Elizabeth Taylor and Marilyn Monroe. At the time, they were all about the same level and type of star, although Monroe had probably been a star the longest (excluding Taylor's original incarnation as a child star). They were all considered steamy sex symbols.

We know how the story went from there; Brando and Taylor went on to greater artistic heights but eventually decended into self-parody, getting fat, old, batty and beset by tragedies great and small; Dean and Monroe died young and beautiful, but left behind less of a comprehensive body of work, at least compared to Brando. Dean and Monrore, though, have an aura that nutty old Liz and Marlon gradually dissipated.

Which makes you wonder about how images change; who Taylor and Brando were in the 50s hasn't changed, yet their memory is much clouded by who they became. You wonder, if they had died and Dean and Monroe had lived, how different the memories would be.

As for Brando, in a way, his image is liberated by his death, free again to be remembered for his best work; you can see that already in the tributes. Maybe, in the long view, the better part of his life will reclaim center stage.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 10:56 PM | Pop Culture | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
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