Jocelyn Brando, the older sister of 'Marlon Brando' , was born Nov. 18, 1919, in San Francisco, California, to 'Marlon Brando Sr. ' andhis wife, the former Dorothy Pennebaker. Joceyln and Marlon and theirsister Frances grew up mostly on a farm near Evanston, Illinois, thoughthe family moved around during their childhoods.
The bane of thechildren's existence was the alcoholism of both parents, which wasparticularly acute with their mother. Her brother's friend'Karl Malden' believed that Jocelyn's promising career wasderailed by alcohol. Despite not living up to her promise, she manageda career that spanned five decades in the theater, film and television. Jocelyn Brando came to the stage naturally, first appearing in atheatrical production under the direction of her mother, who was aprincipal in an Omaha community theater group that included'Henry Fonda' . She made her Broadway debut soon after her 22rdbirthday, appearing in "The First Crocus" at the Longacre Theatre onJanuary 2, 1942.
The play was a resounding flop and closed after fiveperformances. Her next appearance on Broadway came two months after herkid brother Marlon made theatrical history as Stanley Kowalski in'Tennessee Williams' ' "A Streetcar Named Desire. " On February 18,1948, Jocelyn opened as Navy nurse Lt. Ann Girard in support of familyfriend Henry Fonda as the eponymous "Mister Roberts. " The play was asmash hit, running just shy of three years for a total of 1,157performances.
Jocelyn did not complete the run of the play, appearingin the comedy "The Golden State" in the 1950-51 season, a flop thatlasted but 25 performances. She rebounded in a success d'estime in'Eugene O'Neill (I)' 's "Desire Under the Elms" in 1952, though theplay only lasted 46 performances. One of her co-stars was'Colleen Dewhurst' , who would go on to rank as the greatestinterpreter of O'Neill's female characters. Jocelyn would later appearin support of Dewhurst in a Broadway revival of O'Neil's "MourningBecomes Electra", Back in uniform as a military officer, Jocelyn madeher film debut in 'Don Siegel' 's war drama China Venture (1953) . When she first arrived in Hollywood, shegave an interview with "The New York Times" in which she commented onher brother's advice--or lack of it--to the tyro film actress: "Marlonis a sweet fellow, and he works very hard.
I asked him for a tip aboutpictures, and he answered, 'Oh, I just say the words. That's all I knowabout picture acting'. He probably was smart at that to let me find myown way. " It was her second film that was her best-known movie role:detective 'Glenn Ford (I)' 's doomed wife in'Fritz Lang (I)' 's classic gangster movie The Big Heat (1953) . Jocelyn's character was blown to cinematickingdom come in an off-camera explosion when she starts the familyautomobile and detonates a bomb intended for screen hubby Ford.
Itremains one of the most famous moments in cinema. She eventuallyappeared in supporting roles in two of her brother's films, The Ugly American (1963) and The Chase (1966) . While hercareer in films never flourished, she had a healthy career intelevision from the 1940s through the 1980s, appearing in guest roleson scores of television shows, including "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" (1955) , "Wagon Train" (1957) and "Little House on the Prairie" (1974) . In the early 1970s sheappeared as Mrs. Krakauer on the daytime TV soap opera "Love of Life" (1951) .
She also had a recurring role as Mrs. Reeves on the prime-time potboiler "Dallas" (1978) for severalyears. Her last major film was Mommie Dearest (1981) , the'Joan Crawford (I)' roman a clef. Jocelyn vociferously defendedher superstar brother in the press throughout his half-century ofcelebrity, stressing his strong family ties. She was with the greatactor when he died at age 80 of lung failure at his Los Angeles home onJuly 1, 2004 (the same disease h;ad earlier claimed their sisterFrances, who was a painter).
Karl Malden, in his 1997 autobiography"When Do I Start?", recounts how circa 1979 he cautioned his friendMarlon about his own intake of alcohol. Malden reminded his youngerfriend, whom he had known at that point for 35 years, that alcohol haddestroyed his mother's life, had compromised that of his father andlikely was the reason that Jocelyn never became a major actress. Jocelyn Brando, who was twice married and had two sons, died of naturalcauses at her Santa Monica, California, home on November 20, 2005, twodays after her 86th birthday. If we take Karl Malden's word for it--whoknew her and her work and her promise--but for the fatal flaw that ranthrough the Brando-Pennebaker family, she might have had a career thatwould have taken her out of the shadows and elevated her to more thanjust a footnote in her brother's career. .
|1||Dark Night of the Scarecrow||1981||as Mrs. Ritter|
|2||Good Luck, Miss Wyckoff||1979||as Mrs. Hemmings|
|3||Movie Movie||1978||as Mama Popchik/Mrs. Updike|
|4||Alfred Hitchcock Presents||1955||as Julia Conrad|
|5||General Electric Theater||1953||as Margaret Hobbs|
|6||Love of Life||1951||as Anna Krakauer (1966-1967)|
|7||Richard Diamond, Private Detective||1957||as Wife|
|8||A Question of Love||1978||as Mrs. Hunnicutt|
|9||Bus Rileys Back in Town||1965||as Mrs. Riley|
|10||China Venture||1953||as Lt. Ellen Wilkins|
|11||Combat Fatigue Irritability||1945||as Sue|
|12||Mommie Dearest||1981||as Barbara Bennett|
|13||Nightfall||1957||as Laura Fraser|
|14||Starflight: The Plane That Couldnt Land||1983||as Mrs. Harvey|
|15||Step Down to Terror||1958||as Lily Kirby|
|16||Ten Wanted Men||1955||as Corinne Michaels|
|17||The Big Heat||1953||as Katie Bannion|
|18||The Chase||1966||as Mrs. Briggs|
|19||The Explosive Generation||1961||as Mrs. Ryker|
|20||The Rebels: Marlon Brando||1981||as Herself|
|21||The Ugly American||1963||as Emma Atkins|
|22||Why Would I Lie?||1980||as Mrs. Crumpe|
|23||87th Precinct||1961||as Mrs. Mason|
|24||Alcoa Premiere||1961||as Nurse Slater|
|25||Arrest and Trial||1963||as Mrs. Ware|
|26||Buckskin||1958||as Lucy Corkle|
|27||Checkmate||1960||as Sarah Talbot|
|28||Coronado 9||1960||as Amy Loomis|
|29||Dallas||1978||as Mrs. Reeves|
|30||Darkroom||1981||as Mrs. Mingle|
|31||Dr. Kildare||1961||as Doris Phillips|
|32||Frontier Circus||1961||as Mrs. Phyllis Jordan|
|33||Heres Hollywood||1960||as Herself|
|34||Ironside||1967||as Etta Gibbs|
|35||Kojak||1973||as Mrs. Newfield|
|36||Laramie||1959||as Julia Hansen|
|37||Little House on the Prairie||1974||as Woman|
|38||Lux Playhouse||1958||as Madge|
|39||M Squad||1957||as Mrs. Esther Bonsel|
|40||Markham||1959||as Mary Copeland|