Jocelyn Brando

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Jocelyn Brando
Brando in The Big Heat (1953)
Born(1919-11-18)November 18, 1919[1]
DiedNovember 27, 2005(2005-11-27) (aged 86)
Years active1942–1983
(div. 1950)
(m. 1950; div. 1955)
RelativesMarlon Brando (brother)

Jocelyn Brando (November 18, 1919 – November 27, 2005) was an American actress and writer. She is best known for her role as Katie Bannion in the film noir The Big Heat (1953).

Early life[edit]

Brando, the older sister of Marlon Brando,[2] was born in San Francisco, California.[3] She attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts.[4]


Brando came to the stage naturally, first appearing in a theatrical production under the direction of her mother, who was a principal in an Omaha community theater group. Her mother, Dorothy Brando, had given Henry Fonda his start in theater in this same group in October 1925 in the play "You and I".[5][6] She made her Broadway debut in The First Crocus[3] at the Longacre Theatre on January 2, 1942; the play closed after five performances. Her next appearance on Broadway came two months after her younger brother began his role as Stanley Kowalski in Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire.[7]

But even before that, in the fall of 1947, Jocelyn and Marlon became two of the first 50 or so members of New York's newly formed Actors Studio, Jocelyn studying with Elia Kazan, Marlon with Robert Lewis.[8]

On February 18, 1948, she appeared in her second role on Broadway. She played Navy nurse Lieutenant Ann Girard in Mister Roberts, which starred family friend Henry Fonda in the title role. The play was a smash hit, running about three years (1,157 performances).[9]

Brando did not complete the run of the play, appearing in the comedy The Golden State in the 1950-51 season, a flop that lasted only 25 performances, followed by a critically acclaimed but commercially unsuccessful 1952 revival of Eugene O'Neill's Desire Under the Elms, which ran for only 46 performances. Brando later appeared in a Broadway revival of O'Neill's Mourning Becomes Electra.[10]

Back in uniform as a military officer, she made her film debut in Don Siegel's war drama China Venture (1953). When she first arrived in Hollywood, she gave an interview in which she commented on her brother's advice, or lack of it, to her: "Marlon is a sweet fellow, and he works very hard. I asked him for a tip about pictures, and he answered, 'Oh, I just say the words. That's all I know about picture acting.' He probably was smart at that to let me find my own way."[3]

Brando's second film was her best-known role: detective Glenn Ford's wife in Fritz Lang's The Big Heat (1953). She also appeared in supporting roles in two of her brother's films, The Ugly American (1963) and The Chase (1966).

In the late 1960s, Brando joined the cast of the CBS soap opera Love of Life, where she created the role of Mrs. Krakauer, mother of Tess (Toni Bull Bua) and Mickey (Alan Feinstein). On primetime television, she played the recurring role of Mrs. Reeves on Dallas. Other TV series that featured her include Richard Diamond, Private Detective, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Wagon Train (as Ada Meyers, a lonely woman on the train who finally finds love with an Irish sailor in S6E26’s “The Michael Magoo Story” in 1963; in S1E28’s “The Sally Potter Story” aired April 9, 1958 as Millie Bennett, mother of Johnny Crawford’s Jimmy Bennett; and as Grace Lefton in The Martin Gatsby Story, which aired Oct. 10, 1962), Riverboat, The Virginian, Kojak, and Little House on the Prairie.[3] Her final film role was in Mommie Dearest.[11]

Personal life and death[edit]

Brando was divorced from actor Don Hanmer on April 4, 1950.[12] On April 13, 1950, she married author Eliot T. Asinof in Tarrytown, New York.[13] She had two sons, Gahan Hanmer and Martin Asinof.[3] She died at her Santa Monica home on November 27, 2005, at age 86, from natural causes.[11]


Year Title Role Notes
1953 China Venture Lt. Ellen Wilkins
1953 The Big Heat Katie Bannion
1955 Ten Wanted Men Corinne Michaels
1956 Nightfall Laura Fraser
1957 Official Detective Thelma TV series, 1 episode
1958 Step Down to Terror Lily Kirby
1959 One Step Beyond Ellen Larrabee TV series, S1E3 "Emergency Only"
1961 The Explosive Generation Mrs. Ryker Uncredited
1963 The Ugly American Emma Atkins
1965 Bus Riley's Back in Town Mrs. Riley
1966 The Chase Mrs. Briggs
1967 A Welcoming Town Ida Martin
1978 A Question of Love Mrs. Hunnicutt TV movie
1978 Movie Movie Mama Popchik
Mrs. Updike
(segment "Dynamite Hands")
(segment "Baxter's Beauties of 1933")
1979 Good Luck, Miss Wyckoff Mrs. Hemmings
1980 Why Would I Lie? Mrs. Crumpe
1981 Mommie Dearest Barbara Bennett
1981 Dark Night of the Scarecrow Mrs. Ritter TV movie
1981 Darkroom Mrs. Mingle segment "Catnip"
1983 Starflight: The Plane That Couldn't Land Mrs. Harvey TV movie, (final film role)


  1. ^ Porter, Darwin (2006). Brando Unzipped. Blood Moon Productions, Ltd. p. 37. ISBN 978-0-9748118-2-6. Retrieved October 5, 2020.
  2. ^ "Brando's Tragic Family Values". New York Magazine. New York Media, LLC: 9. 1 May 1995. Retrieved October 5, 2020.
  3. ^ a b c d e Oliver, Myrna (December 4, 2005). "Jocelyn Brando, 86, actress on film, TV, Marlon's sister". The Boston Globe. The Los Angeles Times. p. 49. Retrieved October 5, 2020 – via
  4. ^ Roberts, Paul G. (2 October 2014). Style Icons Vol 1 Golden Boys. Fashion Industry Broadcast. p. 25. ISBN 978-1-62776-032-4. Retrieved October 5, 2020.
  5. ^ "The History of Omaha Community Playhouse". Omaha Community Playhouse. Retrieved 2022-06-19.
  6. ^ "Henry Fonda". The Central High School Foundation. Retrieved 2022-06-19.
  7. ^ Oliver, Myrna (November 29, 2005). "Jocelyn Brando, 86; Film, TV Actress Was Sister of Marlon". Los Angeles Times. pp. A2. Retrieved June 18, 2022.
  8. ^ Robert Lewis (1996) [1984]. "Actors Studio, 1947". Slings and Arrows: Theater in My Life. New York: Applause Books. p. 183. ISBN 1-55783-244-7.
  9. ^ "Playbill - Mister Roberts". Playbill. Retrieved June 18, 2022.
  10. ^ "Playbill - Jocelyn Brando". Playbill. Retrieved June 18, 2022.
  11. ^ a b The Associated Press (November 30, 2005). "Jocelyn Brando, Actress, Is Dead at 86". The New York Times. Archived from the original on December 5, 2019. Retrieved October 5, 2020.
  12. ^ "Jocelyn Brando to Be Wed". The New York Times. April 6, 1950. p. 43. ProQuest 111458423. Retrieved October 5, 2020 – via ProQuest.
  13. ^ "Jocelyn Brando Married". The New York Times. April 15, 1950. p. 10. ProQuest 111328299. Retrieved October 5, 2020 – via ProQuest.

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