Marlon Brando (1924-2004) was an Academy Award-winning film actor known for his method acting and intensity of performance, as well as his continual mumbling throughout his career and his rapid weight gain in later years. The actor first made a name for himself with his portrayal of Stanley in the stage production of A Streetcar Named Desire, a role he reprised on film in 1951. In addition to a spate of biographical roles in the 1950s (including Emiliano Zapata, Marc Antony, and Napoleon Bonaparte), Brando starred as Johnny Strabler in the 1953 biker film The Wild One. A year later, he played Terry Molloy in the gritty On the Waterfront (which included his famous "I could have been a contender" speech), winning his first Oscar for Best Actor.
In 1972, following a string of lesser films, the older, heavier Brando made a career comeback as Don Vito Corleone in The Godfather, a role which would become as iconic as his Wild One persona. This was followed by Jor-El in Superman and Col. Kurtz in Apocalypse Now, and then another lull. He spoofed his Godfather persona in The Freshman (1990, with Matthew Broderick and Paul Benedict), and worked with Frank Oz for his final on-camera appearance, as Max in The Score (2001). The temperamental Brando derided his work on both films.
Oz recalled the difficulties on The Score in an interview with Australian paper Herald Sun: "I stayed away from Marlon more towards the end because, honestly, we didn't get along after a while... We had creative differences, but he came around to do it the way we felt, and God bless him. Even so, it was a difficult situation." According to other newspaper accounts, the situation was even worse, with Brando referring to the director as "Miss Piggy". In a more dubious claim, The New Zealand Herald and Associate Press wires transcribed an alleged anonymous eye-witness account, claiming that Brando went so far as to say, "I bet you wish I was a puppet so you could stick your hand up my ass and make me do what you want."
- In a 1992 episode of Sesame Street, a woman named Doris tries to pick up her toaster from the Fix-It Shop, but Maria says the three toasters on the table belong to "Redford, [Jack] Nicholson, and Marlon [Brando]."
- Rowlf appeared in Brando's role as The Dogfather in a parody calendar image.
- Kermit the Frog later appeared in the role of Don Corleone in a short produced for The Odyssey Channel.
- In Muppet Classic Theater, when Gonzo asks Rizzo to take over narration while he stars in a segment, Rizzo sarcastically refers to him as "Mr. Brando."
- In Muppet Treasure Island, during the song "A Professional Pirate," Black Eyed Pea delivers a vocal Brando impression, saying "I coulda been a contender" (in a line looped by Bill Barretta).
- In episode 12 of From the Balcony...
- Waldorf: (referring to narration from a movie trailer), "Did they just reference The Godfather?"
- Statler: "If he were still alive, Marlon Brando would be embarrassed."