You have something graceful and tender and feminine

When he wrote the following letter in 1966, Marlon Brando was above the Atlantic Ocean flying from New York to London. Also on that plane was the letter’s recipient — a senior air stewardess who, having taken care of another passenger following a sudden downturn in health mid-flight, had spent much of the journey sitting directly in front of the enigmatic actor.

She had clearly made an impression. As Brando left the aircraft, he handed her this letter.

Much-needed transcript follows.

(Letter kindly supplied by the lovely folks at Christie’s; thanks also to Helen Hall at the wonderful Dig Gallery. Image of Brando via Acid Cow.)


Dear Lady —

There is something not quite definable in your face — something lovely, not pretty in a conventionally thought of way. You have something graceful and tender and feminine (sp). You seem to be a woman who has been loved in her childhood, or else, somehow by the mystery of genetic phenomena you have been visited by the gifts of refinement, dignity and poise. Perhaps you cannot be accredited with all that.

Irrespective of your gothic aspects, you have passed something on in terms of your expression, mien and general comportment that is unusual and rewarding.

It’s been a pleasant if brief encounter and I wish you well and I hope we shall have occasion to cross eyes again sometime.

Best wishes

Marlon Brando