The Contender: The Story of Marlon Brando

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6.1 X 9.1 X 1.9 inches | 2.35 pounds

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About the Author

William J. Mann is the New York Times bestselling author of Kate: The Woman Who Was Hepburn; How to Be a Movie Star: Elizabeth Taylor in Hollywood; Hello, Gorgeous: Becoming Barbra Streisand; and Wisecracker: The Life and Times of William Haines, winner of the Lambda Literary Award. He divides his time between Connecticut and Cape Cod.


"An insightful and well-researched portrait of Marlon Brando. Taking a cinematic approach, Mann swoops in on pivotal moments in Brando's life. Though sympathetic to Brando, Mann doesn't shy away from his flaws, such as his often callous treatment of women. The result is a thoughtfully considered study of a supremely talented, observant, and imaginative man who became a reluctant cultural icon."--Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Marlon Brando reigned over Hollywood in an era before it was possible to know every little thing about an actor's life -- but this biography [changes] that. Mann went through Brando's personal archives to craft a story that covers not only his behind-the-scenes persona but the way in which he led the charge for a merging of Hollywood and protest culture."--Entertainment Weekly, Big Books of Fall Preview
"Structuring his biography like a film, Mann jumps from one key moment in Brando's life to another--the dysfunctional family life, the great movie roles, the tempestuous and often callous relationships with lovers, the tragedies that befell his children--and, while the book brings something new and often revelatory to all of these familiar aspects of the Brando saga, Mann is at his best when he digs into Brando's tortured relationship with acting itself... A compelling biography, rich in complexity and irony."--Booklist (starred review)
"William J. Mann sets out in The Contender: The Story of Marlon Brando to give the actor the dominant voice in his own story, serving as the advocate Brando is often denied in articles and books... Mann's book presents a necessary re-examination of Brando and his tumultuous life...The Contender is a standout biography, providing an empathetic look at Brando's struggle with himself."--Associated Press
"Mann is a dogged investigator who is fixed on establishing truths. Over and over again in his long book he dispels fantastic stories, unstitches embroidered truths and pins Brando down. Mann is an experienced writer about Tinseltown....His research is exhaustive. His tone is agreeably respectful. As Hollywood biographies go, this is as nice and as intelligent as can be."--The Times (UK)
" Big, sprawling, meticulously researched...Tells us everything we ever wanted to know about the man and then some."--Washington Post
"Remarkably ambitious ... Mann's book is continuously fascinating, vivid, and full of new information; for anyone interested in Brando, it is indispensable."--Air Mail
"[THE CONTENDER] is a humanizing portrait that doesn't shy away from the complexity of one of Hollywood's greatest stars."--AARP Magazine
" Deeply engaging and perceptive from page one...A thoroughly enjoyable, illuminating read."--Library Journal (starred review)
" William J. Mann masterfully captures Brando's allure, his psychological complexity and the epic arc of his career...From Mann, Brando receives a biography every bit as compelling and powerful as his own stage presence."--BookPage
"Mann uses painstaking years of research, conversations with those who knew Brando best, and his own knack for delving into the lives of Hollywood luminaries to offer fans up a staggeringly comprehensive tale of Brando's life."--Entertainment Weekly