Marlon Brando: Forever In Transit, Conclusion

Marlon Brando had a unique relationship with-- and perspective on--time. In the handful of telephone conversations we had, he would often apologize for having to abruptly end a call, then promise to call me "in a little bit." More often than not, "a little bit" meant two or three days. One afternoon in July of 1990, he again stated that he needed to run some errands, but promised to call me back "as soon as possible": Brando called me in March of 1992.

Brando called because he knew that I had been speaking to Elaine Stritch for Follies of God. I still do not know how he came to know of my meetings with Stritch, but Brando had eyes and ears all over Manhattan, and he also knew that I had recently accepted a position as an assistant to Ellis Rabb, who was  directing a production of Morning's At Seven for a revamped APA/Phoenix at SUNY/Purchase.

After letting me know that he knew of my "adventures," Brando let me know why he was calling: He did not feel he had been entirely, fully alive.

You look at your life, and you think back on the things you've done--and the things you wanted to do--and it all seems so short and swift. The living of a life seems, most of the time, to take so long, but to sit and think on it--life just roars past us.

I thought everything was owed to me, but I also believed that it was going to be taken away from me immediately. I never believed that I owned anything or deserved anything: It was all temporary; it was all a mistake; there would be a penalty for any pleasure or comfort or satisfaction I might have enjoyed. I never understood that the pleasure is simply there to be pleasure: it's not a statement or a judgment or a reward. It's just pleasure.

I never enjoyed the years of struggle and discovery as much as I should have, because I was looking for the goal, for the recognition: I wanted to avenge the past. Only now, thinking back, do I see how much greatness surrounded me. I was fortunate in those I knew and worked with.

Late in the day and all. Regrets.

I told you before to laugh and love and submit to whatever presents itself; to change what is bad; to enjoy what is good; to praise what others are doing. I didn't do that often enough, and so parts of my life feel as if I might not have even been there. Fully. I was there, but I wasn't fully there.

Be wherever you are, fully. 

Marlon, I asked, why are you telling me this? Now?

"Hell if I know," he said, laughing. "It was on my mind."

Marlon promised to call me again "as soon as possible."

He never phoned me again.


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