First Report On As A Father—Marlon Brando
Anna and Marlon Brando live in one of California’s most extraordinary houses—a modern Japanese style house, high on a hilltop. It’s not large in comparison to mansions—three bedrooms, two baths—but it’s one of the finest of its type in this country. From somewhere I recall reading about the house and the phrase mysticalbeauty was used in describing it. There is a very unusual bed in Anna and Marlon’s bedroom. It’s a huge double one, very low, just inches from the floor. It’s a real gem of a house if one likes Oriental art, and Marlon does. This home is the perfect setting for him.
When they first moved to the house, Anna and Marlon hired a housekeeper. Since the baby’s birth, a nurse has been added.
Because of the baby, and perhaps because of their own preference, their entertaining has been very informal. Most of the time they just have their good friends Kathy and Lou L’Amour, the Joe Cantors and Phyllis Hudson over informally. Phyllis, Anna and Kathy spend a lot of time together in the daytimes. Shopping, etc. Phyllis calls Anna Bones. The nickname originated from a joke long ago and has hung on. Brando has no nickname for her, calls her Anna.
Marlon loves to play his bongo drums. Evenings home alone with Anna, he always has a go at them.
A typical leisure day at the Brandos’ is spent around the pool with one of the above-mentioned friends dropping in, maybe staying for dinner, maybe not. Nothing planned.
If Anna and Marlon accept a dinner invitation, it’s a toss-up whether Marlon will appear or not. Some say that Marlon is equally casual about his marriage, and that it’s a toss-up whether or not he will keep it.
But certainly the baby has made a very big difference in his life.
After Christian was born, Marlon was at the hospital every possible moment. Marlon is now described as a doting father. It goes beyond casual father pride. He’s become one of these guys who is interested in every detail about his baby and takes an active part in his care.
He was tremendously elated at the birth. While Anna and the baby were at the hospital, Marlon would return again and again to look adoringly through the glass wall of the nursery to see his son.
He was terrifically buoyed up by fatherhood and in a fine-friendly mood. He made friends with all the hospital staff and other new parents on Anna’s floor.
The prescribed time for a new mother to stay home after having a baby is four weeks. Anna went out one evening, three weeks after Christian was born. She wanted to see The Purging of Simon Madden, a new play a friend of hers was producing. Marlon couldn’t go. He had business to take care of. He drove her to Phyllis Hudson’s and Anna went with her. She looked lovely, slim and beautiful in a black early summer dress with a deep red, full-blown rose design. There was a party after the play but Anna skipped it to go home to Marlon and the baby.
Only five days later, Anna started feeling ill. Slowly her temperature began to rise. By the time they called the doctor it was obvious she was really ill. It was a kidney infection and she was rushed back to the hospital. Kidney infections aren’t too unusual after childbirth and unless complications set in, modern drugs cure them. But it’s painful and a very difficult thing for a young mother to go through. Far more than the pain, it’s bitterly difficult for a new mother to leave her infant when it’s only three and a half weeks old.
It was no easy set-up for Marlon either. Even though there is the housekeeper and the nurse, it’s not like having the mother or some member of one’s own family around. The nurse has been there only since the baby’s birth. No matter how it’s twisted, Marlon had the main responsibility of Christian when Anna was hospitalized. He visited her often. She needed his cheering up and every snitch of news about the baby was important to her.
Marlon was so entranced with his new son he didn’t mind. In fact it was a labor of love in the true sense. Housekeepers and nurses have days off, Marlon didn’t.
There’s a new Brando at the hill-top house. Those who think of him as an aloof genius should see him tenderly steadying the tiny wobbly head, gently comforting the infant son. He knows about vitamins and formulas.
Christian’s nursery looks like a toy shop. Marlon had a heyday buying toys for him in the weeks after he was born and before Anna got sick.
Marlon has been slowly changing in recent years. There are many evidences. His more conservative clothes and more conventional public behavior. Everything about him. is more tempered. His car is no high-powered Mercedes Benz. It’s a family-type Chrysler. When he bought Anna a car as a gift it was a Ford.
Some men seem to be born fathers. A child seems to give meaning to their lives and they are willing to give of themselves unendingly. So far Marlon Brando seems to be emerging as that sort of a man. While marriage didn’t seem to change him drastically, a little boy named Christian has!
Marlon is now starring in THE YOUNG LIONS for 20th-Fox.
It is a quote. MODERN SCREEN MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 1958