By Brooke Kennedy
Marlon Brando’s handwritten and autographed break-up letter to actress Solange Podell sold for $10,000 at RR Auction’s February 8th, 2023 auction night. Marlon Brando first met Solange Podell while he was acting in the broadway show A Streetcar Named Desire in 1947. In this production, Marlon Brando played the character of Stanley Kowalski opposite Jessica Tandy, who played Blanche DuBois.
In this letter he writes, “In order that you won’t think me a complete boor, I am writing you this letter to explain that because of an erratic, flighty, fly-by-night, temperament I wish not to humiliate and degrade your sentiments by seeing you only at my mood’s convenience. Please accept this letter with an open heart as it is written with forthright sincerity. I’m sorry I could not have tried harder to be less self indulgent and therewith, a little more compatable.”
Despite Solange Podell and Marlon Brando taking different paths, this handwritten and autographed letter gives audiences a look into the mind of the then-young actor. Marlon Brando’s heartfelt emotion and remorseful demeanor can be felt through his written words. The language Marlon Brando uses evokes a feeling of maturity, a stark contrast to his young age and the spelling mistakes.
Later on Marlon Brando writes, “I will remember you with fondness, regard, and appreciation. When we meet in France (perhaps in October) I trust my behavior will be a trifle more adult.” RR Auction received worldwide media attention for this piece of Hollywood memorabilia from outlets such as CNN, People, and Robb Report.
After their break-up, Marlon Brando continued to pursue his acting career, moving from the Broadway stage to Hollywood. Several years later he reprised his role as Stanley Kowlaski and the film adaptation of A Streetcar Named Desire in 1951. He was also awarded two Oscars for his performances in 1954’s On the Waterfront and 1972’s The Godfather. While Marlon Brando may best be known today for his turn as Vito Corleone, the start of his career is linked to his beginnings on Broadway. By extension, it is also linked to his relationship with Solange Podell.
Despite this fact, Marlon Brando did not mention Solange Podell in his 1994 memoir Songs My Mother Taught Me. In his memoir he stated that after each show, “there would be seven or eight girls waiting in my dressing room.” Solange Podell tells a different story in a 2014 interview with The Times where she states, “He told me, ‘Why don’t you come each night so that I will be with someone to have supper after the performance?’” Another letter written by Brando consigned to RR Auction confirms her story. In this letter Brando writes, “My Dear Solange, I have tickets in the box office for you for Wednesday (tomorrow) if you could come back after the show we could have dinner together.” Due to Solange Podell’s omission from his memoir her relationship to Brando likely would have been forgotten. This rare handwritten and autographed letter brings some hidden history to light. RR Auction was grateful for the opportunity to auction off this rare and revealing piece.
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