BUD: The Brando I Knew by Carlo Fiore

BUD: The Brando I Knew

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Probably nobody but a poor boy from Brooklyn would have had the combination of street smarts, humor, and sympathy to both maintain a long relationship with Brando and to write this anti-sentimental (yet sentimental) history of their friendship, which dates from the beginning of Brando's career in 1944 at Edwin Piscator's Workshop until about five years ago, when their onagain off-again relationship finally went off for good. Carlo, then Frederick Stevens, more addicted to heroin than to acting, was with Brando in New York, Paris, Hollywood, and Japan, from the never-so-bad times to the very good, from Streetcar to One-Eyed Jacks -- variously as roommate, pal, critic, stand-in, and, rather unheroically, as procurer, quite often, and only occasionally protesting, of his own chicks. As a chronicler he achieves a rare mixture of kindness (generally changing names to protect the guilty) and honesty, a totally matter-of-fact unsalacious attitude both towards Marlon's compulsive sexuality and his ladies, most of whom, in personality and looks, were not to Carlo's taste (Marlon, Chauvinist Supreme -- ""Where my dick goes, I go,"" tended towards the old, the obese, the foreign, the hairy, the big-assed). Carlo is unequivocal in his feelings about Brando's greatness as an actor, his pettiness and his lies, his generosity, particularly in the earlier days of his success, to those who had helped him when he was young. Some-how or other, one comes out with respect for a man many consider America's finest actor, despite his often childish, obnoxious, and oppressive actions -- something which does credit not only to Brando's genius but also to his biographer's skill.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1974
Publisher: Delacorte