“Forgotten Hollywood”- An Apology Before Death…

Posted on October 2, 2022 by raideoman1 | No Comments

Manny P. here…

“`Sacheen Littlefeather was an actress and Native American civil rights activist. On Marlon Brando’s behalf at the 45th Academy Awards in 1973,  she declined a Best Actor award he earned for his performance in The Godfather. Brando boycotted the ceremony in protest against Hollywood’s portrayal of Native Americans and to draw attention to the standoff at Wounded Knee. During her speech, the audience’s response was split between booing and applause.

“`In interviews, Littlefeather had described a difficult childhood. As a young adult, she moved to the San Francisco Bay Area to pursue a modeling career with a portfolio of photos taken by Kenneth Cook. Aspiring to become an actress, she worked in radio and television commercials and joined the Screen Actors Guild.

“`To celebrate her heritage, she joined the United Bay Indian Council and participated in the occupation of Alcatraz in 1970. As a spokesperson for the National American Indian Council, she protested President Nixon’s budget cuts to federal Indian programs in 1973.

“`Littlefeather auditioned for Francis Ford Coppola who then referred her to Brando. At the time of the Oscars, she had known the actor for almost a year.  She was in the audience just before the Best Actor was announced. She was joined by Brando’s assistant Alice Marchak and wore an Apache buckskin dress. Producer Howard Koch allowed her to make her speech.

“`The Best Actor trophy was presented by Liv Ullmann and Roger Moore. They declared Brando as the winner. Littlefeather appeared on stage and declined the Oscar. Koch and director Marty Pasetta both later recalled that John Wayne was in the wings and was restrained by six security guards to keep him from forcing her off stage.

“`Brando’s actions were considered inappropriate for the awards ceremony. She visited the actor’s house after the Academy Awards and shots were fired into his front door while they were talking. SACHEEN LITTLEFEATHER –>

“`Littlefeather was blacklisted by the Hollywood community and received threats. The federal government encouraged blacklisting to abate Native American activism after Wounded Knee. She continued her activism and became a respected member of California’s Native American community.

“`In June 2022, the Academy finally sent Littlefeather a statement of apology. It read in part:

 The abuse you endured was unwarranted and unjustified. The emotional burden you have lived through and the cost to your own career in our industry are irreparable. For too long the courage you showed has been unacknowledged. For this, we offer our deepest apologies and our sincere admiration. 

“`An Evening with Sacheen Littlefeather was held on September 17th, an event honoring the activist. She also recorded an episode for the Academy Museum podcast and a visual history for the Academy Oral History Projects.

“`Sacheen Littlefeather was seventy-five.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

This entry was posted on Sunday, October 2nd, 2022 at 11:07 pm and is filed under Blog by Manny Pacheco. You can follow any comments to this post through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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