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Jocelyn Brando, 86; Film, TV Actress Was Sister of Marlon

November 29, 2005|Myrna Oliver | Times Staff Writer

Jocelyn Brando, the actress sister of the late Marlon Brando who made her own splash on Broadway in "Mister Roberts" at the same time he was stunning audiences in "A Streetcar Named Desire," has died. She was 86.

Brando, whose married surname was Pennebaker, died Sunday night of natural causes at her Santa Monica home, said her son, Martin Asinof of Tillamook, Ore.

Close to her younger brother, Jocelyn Brando was at his side when he died at age 80 of lung failure in Los Angeles on July 1, 2004.

The actress appeared in more than a dozen motion pictures, beginning with Fritz Lang's "The Big Heat" opposite Glenn Ford in 1953 and "China Venture" the same year.

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Wednesday November 30, 2005 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 32 words Type of Material: Correction
Jocelyn Brando -- The obituary for actress Jocelyn Brando in Tuesday's California section described Pennebaker, the surname she used in private life, as a married name. Pennebaker was her mother's maiden name.

Her last major film was "Mommie Dearest," which starred Faye Dunaway as movie queen Joan Crawford in 1981.

Brando appeared with her far-better-known brother in "The Ugly American" in 1963 and "The Chase" in 1966.

The actress also appeared in more than 50 television programs, ranging from "Actor's Studio" live dramas in 1948 to a recurring role as Mrs. Reeves in episodes of "Dallas" for several years.

Other popular small-screen series where she found work over her three-decade career included "Richard Diamond, Private Detective," "Alfred Hitchcock Presents," "Wagon Train," "The Virginian," "Little House on the Prairie" and "Kojak."

Born Nov. 18, 1919, in San Francisco, Brando grew up on a family farm near Evanston, Ill., her son said.

She made her Broadway debut before her brother did, appearing in Arnold Sungaard's ill-fated "The First Crocus," which ran for only five performances in January 1942.

Her other Broadway plays included "Desire Under the Elms" and "The Golden State." But her best known role was as the leading female nurse in the predominantly male cast of "Mister Roberts."

That Broadway hit opened some two months after her brother strode into dramatic history as Stanley Kowalski in "Streetcar" on Dec. 3, 1947.

Marlon Brando, however, got to Hollywood before his sister.

When she arrived to make her motion picture debut in 1953, she told The Times: "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."

She remained a staunch defender of her meteoric and controversial brother throughout his life, objecting to negative media reports about him and praising his acting and strong ties to his family.

In addition to Asinof, Brando is survived by another son, Gahan Hanmer of Escondido.

No services are planned.

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