The Native American activist who declined Marlon Brando’s 1973 Academy Award for The Godfather on his behalf in a memorable protest has died.
Brando’s Oscar speaker Littlefeather dies
Sacheen Littlefeather, the actress and activist who declined Marlon Brando’s 1973 Academy Award for The Godfather on his behalf in an indelible protest of Hollywood’s portrayal of Native Americans, has died aged 75.
Littlefeather’s niece, Calina Lawrence, confirmed that she died peacefully on Sunday, surrounded by loved ones at her Marin County, California, home. The cause was breast cancer, the family said.
Littlefeather’s appearance at the 1973 Oscars would become one of the award show’s most famous moments. Clad in buckskin dress and moccasins, Littlefeather took the stage when presenter Roger Moore read Brando’s name as the winner for best actor.
Speaking to the audience, Littlefeather cited Native American stereotypes in film and the then-ongoing weekslong protest at Wounded Knee in South Dakota as the reason for Brando’s absence.