Marlon Brando and James Dean were contemporaries– with a very contemptuous relationship. The were often compared, and neither one was appreciative. Brando publicly ridiculed Dean, accusing him of “wearing my last year’s wardrobe and using my last year’s talents…” Dean later responded– “I was riding a motorcycle long before I heard of Mr. Brando.” To Newsweek Dean said– “People were telling me I behaved like Brando before I knew who Brando was. I am neither disturbed by the comparison, nor am I flattered by it. I have my own personal rebellions and don’t have to rely on Brando’s.”
Brando has never been an easy man to know, and he is no more easily revealed at home than he is anywhere else. In 1954, describing his rented house in Benedict Canyon, Time related an anecdote in which a man delivering a vacuum cleaner to the actor said that what he really needed was a plow. Three months earlier, a reporter from The New York Times Magazine heard the “zoom of a vacuum cleaner zing[ing] through the open window.
There are as many different Brandos as there are Brando-watchers: The man whose pet raccoon (not housebroken) repelled one visitor offered another a luncheon of cold melons and meats, and paused, in mid-sentence, to pull “back into place an upholstered chair cuff that was about to slip off.” To one journalist the actor described his Benedict Canyon interiors as “Californian, circa 1925”; to another he said he had only three possessions that mattered: a large painted tom-tom, a recorder and a copy of Lady Chatterley’s Lover.