Marlon Brando – genius and madness


Marlon Brando still casts a considerable shadow even fifteen years after his death. On top form as an actor in ‘The Godfather’ and ‘On the Waterfront’ he was matchless and he lived his life as a full-on drama. When he died at 80 in 2004 he had fathered at least 11 children from a run of spectacularly disastrous marriages. He was often presented as a wasted talent for the stacks of forgettable films he made for the paycheques. But he did good with his social activism, first in support of a post-war Jewish state, then with Martin Luther King and his support of American Indians. A recent biography by William J Mann charts his life in sympathetic detail cutting through the often self-created lies and fantasies he wove round his mythology.

He was born 3 April 1924 11pm Omaha, Nebraska, with two alcoholics as parents, which fuelled a rage and sense of victimhood he never lost despite years of therapy. He had an Aries New Moon in the performing 5th house square Mars in Capricorn in his financial 2nd house opposition Pluto in the 8th – which is an extraordinarily tough burden to carry of compacted anger and overwhelming frustration. He must have felt as a child that the universe and his parents were trying to destroy him and in later life he tried to self-destruct through obesity. He had lifelong mood swings, dark depressions and was a compulsive womanizer as well as an over-eater.

The Times reviewer of the biography remarks: “He was – utterly egocentric and therefore crushingly obtuse about other people’s feelings. His rages, sulks and destructiveness were monstrous.” His Sun on the point of a T Square would make him narcissistic and attention seeking; the focal point Moon would make his emotional sensitivities more acute. Mars Pluto would ramp all that up to def con levels.

He also had an entrepreneurial Fire Grand Trine of Jupiter in Sagittarius trine Neptune trine His Sun Moon – so would be confident, inspired and self-involved.

His Pluto in the 8th, a placing often found with superstars who have an ability to project an aura, was trine Uranus on his IC, a relic of an unpredictable childhood where his parents often ended up in jail. He had Venus in Capricorn in the 6th – perhaps a pointer to his eating indulgences.

His strongest Harmonic is his creative 7H, which can be psychologically on the edge as well as being a seeking soul – and shows the cruelty of his life both done to and doing clearly. His breakthrough-genius is also notable.

It’s a miracle he made it to 80.

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