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James Dean's considered a Hollywood icon because he appeared in lots of films like 'East of Eden' and 'Rebel without a Cause' where he played a young, dangerous guy. Um, something that a lot of teenagers of the time wanted to be. He had fast cars and a leather jacket and lots of things that made him seem rebellious and dangerous. So, I think that that helped his popularity in those films. I think part of the reason that James Dean is considered a Hollywood icon is because he died young. Um, in his youth, he played lots of characters that were young and dangerous and rebellious. And because he died, we never saw him as an actor grow older and so, part of his mystery is that we've never seen what could've been. Would he have kept that rebellious nature all through his life or would he have gotten old and mellow through the ages? I don't know.
The story of Elizabeth Taylor is an interesting one because she started out a child actress. And then she became an adult actress famous for her beauty and her beautiful eyes. Many people think that Cleopatra was her best film, but for me her greatest performance was in 'Who's afraid of Virginia Woolf?' - Who's afraid of Virginia....?
She was the first movie star ever to be paid a million dollars for her role in a film. She's been married seven times. Sorry, I think that's eight times, to seven husbands!
The reason that I think Marilyn Monroe is a fantastic icon is um... that, even now, people are still, er... taking from her. People like Madonna, Kylie, you know. They were inspired by Marilyn Monroe. I think the best film that Marilyn Monroe did was 'Some Like It Hot' And she actually won a Golden Globe.
Everyone talks about Marilyn Monroe as this...um…icon..., and of course, she was very beautiful, and had a very tragic existence, ...very, very brief... But my personal only experience of Marilyn Monroe has been watching 'Gentleman Prefer Blondes'. It was a very long time ago, so I'm not sure if I've got this right. But what I noticed about that film which I found really funny, was... umm, she had this way of just like going up to a guy, um, and saying like asking a really banal question in a very, very husky voice, um, and not, she would never stop moving her lips, even, even when she was not talking she would still move her lips. So she'd go up to someone , and she'd say 'Excuse me Sir ... Can I use the bathroom?' like this, and forever moving her lips, and I couldn't understand it. As a like a guy growing up in the twentieth century, it's the 21st century now, I don't understand how that works but it would leave all these guys in these films absolutely flabbergasted, and they'd go crazy and you know I'm sure back in the fifties, you know it was absolutely outrageous but now it's, I just find it funny.
I think Marlon Brando is such a fantastic actor and rightly called a Hollywood icon. Because of the range of roles that he's played. You know he's been in Hollywood since his teens and stayed there making great films all the way through to his fifties and his sixties. I suppose the first time I saw him was in The Godfather where he played Don Corleone who was the head of an Italian Mafia family based in New York and it was such a quiet and sinister role. He had this gentle serene look about him, but at the same time the words that were coming out of his mouth and the things that he would do were quite shocking. It was a very disturbing film to watch.
Well, the thing that struck me most about Marlon Brando was that when you watch a lot of his movies ...especially the ones made in the fifties, was when he started out, it's very striking, that often the other actors are very bad, they're very poor actors. I remember very distinctly, I think even 'Street Car Named Desire' , thinking 'wow this is really corny', and then the moment Brando steps onto the scene, it's 'Oh, now it seems natural.'