The actress who gave Brando’s speech at the Oscar Cannes 75 – The Hollywood Reporter

Sacheen Littlefeather (Apache/Yaqui/Ariz.), the Native American actress and activist who took to stage at the 1973 Academy Awards to reveal it Marlon Brando He won’t accept an Oscar for him The Godfather, Die. She was 75 years old.

Littlefeather died Sunday noon at her home in Novato, Northern California, surrounded by loved ones, according to a statement sent by her caretaker. Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences which Make up with Littlefeather in june and hosted a celebration In her honor just two weeks ago, she revealed the news on social media on Sunday evening.

Littlefeather revealed in March 2018 that she had been diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer, and it has spread in recent years.

Brando decided to boycott in March 1973 Oscars In protest of how Native Americans were portrayed on screen as well as to applaud the ongoing occupation at Wounded Knee, 200 members of the American Indian Movement (AIM) confronted thousands of US Rangers and other federal agents in the South Dakota town.

After presenters Liv Ullman and Roger Moore named the nominees for Best Actor and Ullman named Brando as the winner, the telecast was cut to Littlefeather, then 26 and donning a traditional Apache dress, walking to the stage from her seat at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion as the announcer explained, Accepting the award for Marlon Brando and The Godfather, Miss Sacheen Littlefeather. “

However, Little Feather raised her right hand to reject Moore’s statuette when she came to the podium and told Chandler’s audience and the 85 million viewers watching at home that Brando “unfortunately cannot accept this very generous award.”

She spoke in a measured tone but off the cuff—Brando, who had told her not to touch the cup, gave an eight-page written speech, but television producer Howard Koch told her she had no more than 60 seconds—she continued, “And the reasons for that are the film industry’s treatment of American Indians today.. …and on TV in movie reruns, and also with recent events in Wounded Knee.”

Littlefeather’s remarks on the premises were met with little boos and applause, but public sentiment in the immediate aftermath of her appearance was largely negative. Some media outlets questioned her original heritage (her father was Apache and Yaki and her mother was white) and claimed she had rented her costume for the ceremony, while conservative celebrities including John Wayne, Clint Eastwood and Charlton Heston — three actors who starred in many. A Western – criticized Brando and Littlefeather’s actions.

As it became an indelible part of the Oscars tradition, Wayne was “in the wings, ready to take me off the stage,” she told Los Angeles Times In 2016. “Six guards had to catch him.” Perhaps it was not so, Show investigation.

Regardless, nearly 50 years later, the Academy has issued an apology to her.

“The offense to which I was subjected by this statement was inexcusable and unjustifiable,” then-AMPAS President David Rubin wrote to her in a letter dated June 18. Can not be Fixed. For a very long time, the courage she showed was not recognized. For this, we offer our deepest apologies and sincere admiration.”

“I was shocked. I never thought I would live to see the day when I would hear this, and experience this,” Littlefeather Tell The Hollywood Reporter. “When I was on the podium in 1973, I stood there alone.”

Born Marie Louise Cruz on November 14, 1946 in the coastal city of Salinas, Northern California, Little Feather was raised primarily by her mother’s parents. She began exploring her original identity at California State University at Hayward and was involved in the original occupation of trying to reclaim Alcatraz Island in 1969, and it was her fellow activists who renamed it.

Shortly thereafter, Littlefeather received a full scholarship to study acting at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco. “Dancing and acting were an escape from reality,” she said. The Native American Times in 2010.

She’s had some work in radio and TV commercials (including Miss Vampire USA for a dark shades promoting soap operas) but found it difficult to get substantial parts in Hollywood: “Americans loved Sandra Dee’s blonde look… She got talking roles in Italian films because they liked Stranger Things.”

In 1972, she participated in the scheme play boy A filming titled “Ten Little Indians” was canceled prior to publication when the occupation began at Wounded Knee in February 1973. But after Littlefeather’s Oscar debut, play boy Her photos were printed as a standalone feature, further tarnishing her reputation in the eyes of some people.

She had first met Brando a few years ago when she was in Washington giving a presentation to the Federal Communications Commission on race and minorities.

“In the ’70s, you had AIM and the Indian Civil Rights Movement and that was the part I was in,” she said. “I was a spokesperson for, so to speak, the stereotype of Native Americans in film and television. All I was saying was, ‘We don’t want Chuck Connors to play Jeronimo.'”

When she mentioned to Brando that she doesn’t wear an evening dress to the Academy Awards, she said in the 2018 documentary, “Marlon told me to wear my suede.” Sachin: Break the silence.

Three months after the Oscars, Brando appeared Dick Cavett Show He said, “It was embarrassing for Sachin. She wasn’t able to say what she intended to say, and was sad because people booed, whistled, and stomped even though it might have been directed at me. They should have at least had the courtesy to listen.”

Although Brando’s stunt had the intended effect of renewing interest in knee injuries, Littlefeather said it endangered her life and killed her acting career, claiming she lost union membership and was banned from the industry. (In addition, the Academy prevented later winners from sending agents to accept — or decline — prizes on their behalf.)

“I was blacklisted — or, you might say, ‘I was redlisted,’” Little Feather said in her documentary. “Johnny Carson and Dick Cavett and others didn’t want me on their shows. … the doors were tightly closed, and never reopened.”

Littlefeather has managed to appear in a handful of films (Trial of Billy JackAnd the Johnny Firecloud And the winter hook Among them) before she left acting for good and earned a degree in holistic health from Antioch University with a minor in Native American Medicine. Her work in wellness has included writing a health column for the Kiowa newspaper in Oklahoma, teaching in the Traditional Indian Medicine program at St. Mary’s Hospital in Tucson, Arizona, and working with Mother Teresa on behalf of Bay Area AIDS patients. She will continue to serve as a founding board member of the American Indian AIDS Institute in San Francisco.

Littlefeather also continued to be involved in the arts, co-founding the non-profit National American Indian Performing Arts Registry in the early 1980s, advising on numerous PBS programs and continuing to be an advocate for the inclusion of Native Americans in Hollywood (appeared in the 2009 documentary) Real angoon).

Littlefeather said in SachinAt the time, Coretta Scott King and Cesar Chavez were among the few who publicly praised her Oscar speech.

But over the decades, her on-stage calling has proven to be a precursor to the conversation about diversity in Hollywood that continues today, and Jada Pinkett Smith cited her as the inspiration for her own 2016 Academy Awards interruption (#OscarsSoWhite Party).

The two exchanged emails at the time, with Smith writing, “Thank you for being one of the bravest and courageous to help pave the way for those of us who need a reminder of the importance of being honest.”

Littlefeather will be buried next to her husband Charles Koshiway (Otoe/Sac & Fox) in Red Rock, Oklahoma. Cushway died of leukemia in November 2021. The two met 32 ​​years ago at WOW POWs at the University of California, Davis.

“The night before we met, I had a dream that I was introduced to this good-looking Indian man, who lifted his Stetson’s white cowboy hat and spoke in a very soft Oklahoma accent: “How are you yew?” I told THR in August. “The next day, my roommate and I drove to UC Davis pow, and this handsome Indian man was under a white Stetson cowboy hat, and the first thing he did was raise his hat, look me in the eye and say, ‘”How’s the yew? That’s all it takes. The man of my dreams.”

Upon receiving the academy’s apology, Little Feather said of her late husband, “His spirit is still with me, and I know that what he has always wanted for me is justice and reconciliation.” And two weeks before her death, when I ascended to the Academy stage for the second time in her life, at the Museum’s celebration in her honor, I learned that her death was imminent: “I shall soon pass into the spirit world. And you know, I am not afraid to die. Because we come from who we are / we / Our society. We don’t come from a society of me/me/myself. And we learn to let go at a very young age. When we are honored, we give.”

A Catholic Mass for her will be held this month at St. Rita’s Church in Fairfax, California, with a reception following. Littlefeather requested that donations be made to American Indian Child Resource Center Auckland.

In her last public appearance, she spoke again on behalf of all indigenous peoples: “I hereby accept this apology, not only for me but as an acknowledgment, knowing that it was not only mine, but all our nations also need to hear and deserve this apology tonight. Look at our people Look at each other and be proud that we were all survivors. Please, when I’m gone, always remember that whenever you stand up for your truth, you will keep my voice and the voices of our nations and people alive.”

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