Private Tapes Uncovered After Marlon Brando’s Death Expose His Deepest Thoughts

Marlon Brando was maybe the most enigmatic actor in Hollywood history. He was an intensely private man, yet he was often thrust into the public spotlight when his personal quirks and family struggles became possible to ignore. Brando didn’t often speak about his troubles, but it turns out he kept an audio diary that explored many of his deepest secrets. These tapes sat for decades collecting dust, but they were eventually recovered as part of an exciting project. Their contents are nothing short of profound.

Brought out of storage

The contents of the tapes were revealed to the world in the 2015 documentary Listen to Me Marlon. Curiously, the director of that project, Stevan Riley, had known little about Brando when he was first asked to make it in 2012.

After landing the gig, however, the filmmaker immediately got to work researching and was amazed at what he found. This was not going to be a typical biography of a celebrity.

Audio evidence

In October 2015 Riley wrote for The Telegraph, “It was serendipitous that at the exact time I was doing my research, the estate was unpacking and logging Brando’s personal possessions that had been boxed in storage since his death in 2004.”

“Among this trove was a small collection of audio tapes and reels, to which I had the privilege of first listen,” the filmmaker revealed. The extraordinary tapes contained nothing but the legendary actor conversing with himself.

"Listen to my voice"

Riley continued, “What I heard on one tape provided my first clue about some buried trauma in Brando’s past. I eavesdropped on a private conversation he was having with himself. ‘Marlon, listen to my voice,’ he said.

"‘This is a voice that you can trust.’ It was the beginning of a regressive hypnotherapy session, in which he was accessing painful memories as a child,” Riley explained.

A difficult upbringing

But even before the documentary was made, many people knew that Brando had had a difficult childhood. In those days, he went by the nickname “Bud,” and times were hard.

His parents, Dorothy and Marlon Sr., were both heavy drinkers. Marlon Sr. cheated on his wife and was emotionally absent for the most part. The future icon knew from an early age that something was wrong.