Illeana Douglas Talks Meeting Marlon Brando: “I Literally Just Burst Out Crying”

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He’s regarded as the greatest movie actor who ever lived, so it’s no surprise that when Illeana Douglas met Marlon Brando, it was one of the highlights of her life.

Douglas, who details the meeting in her autobiography I Blame Dennis Hopper: And Other Stories From a Life Lived In and Out of the Movies, opened up about their encounter in an interview with HuffPost Live on Monday, Dec. 7. 

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The meeting took place in 1996 in her director boyfriend Martin Scorsese‘s hotel suite in Beverly Hills.

“I actually tried to get out of meeting him,” the granddaughter of 1930s leading man Melvyn Douglas admitted. “I said, ‘It’s too much. I had a poster of him on my wall. I can’t do it. He’s the father of all acting — everything I want to be is because of him.'”

Marlon Brando
Marlon Brando died in 2004 at the age of 80. Mondadori Portfolio/Getty Images

But, according to the actress, Scorsese reassured her it would be fine and warned her, “Just don’t be a phony.”

When they did come face to face, Douglas, 50, couldn’t look at the Oscar winner, but when they finally did lock eyes, “I literally just burst out crying,” she said. “This flood of emotion came out. I said, ‘Everything I am and want to be is because of you.'”

Brando’s response? He burst into tears too.

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As they talked, Douglas asked the Godfather star about Marilyn Monroe, who he dated in the 1950s. And that’s when he made what she described as a “shocking revelation.”

“He made a kind of an odd comment. He said, ‘I most certainly killed her,'” she said. “It was just like a very quiet moment and out of respect. I was just so stunned. I said, ‘Do you really believe that is true?’ And he said, ‘Oh yes. Oh yes.'”

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Monroe died in 1962 of a barbiturate overdose, but her death has been the subject of speculation for more than 50 years.

“It’s stayed with me for the rest of my life because I always wondered,” Douglas said. “It does seem a little suspicious, what did happen to Marilyn Monroe, and he knew her and that was his opinion, so it holds some weight with me as to what may have happened to her.”

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