Sachin Littlefeather, the Apache activist and actress who refused to accept the Best Actor award on behalf of Marlon Brando at the 1973 Academy Awards, drawing ridicule on stage in an act that underscored her criticism of Hollywood’s portrayal of Native Americans, died Sunday at her home in Marin County, New York. California was 75 years old.
her death announced In a statement issued by her family and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Last year, Ms. Littlefeather . confirmed in Facebook She had breast cancer – “stage IV, terminal” – that had spread to the lung.
Her death came a few weeks after the academy I apologize to Mrs. Littlefeather About her treatment during the Oscars. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter In August, she said she was “shocked” by the apology.
“I never thought I would live to see the day when I would hear this, and experience it,” she said.
When 26-year-old Mrs. Little Feather raised her right hand that night inside the Dorothy Chandler Suite in Los Angeles—a sign to award presenters, the public and the millions watching on TV that, at Mr. Brando’s behest, she had no desire to accept the statue. Festively shiny gold – it was one of the most disruptive moments in Academy Awards history.
Mrs. Littlefeather said on the stage, after enduring a chorus of boos and some cheers from the crowd.
Her appearance at the 45th Academy Awards marked the first time a Native American woman stood on stage at the ceremony, wearing a sparkly suede dress, moccasins, and a hair tie. But the backlash and criticism was immediate. Actor John Wayne was very unstable This is a display productMarty Bassetta said security guards should restrain him from storming the stage.
Mrs. Littlefeather . said The Hollywood Reporter In August, “When I was on the podium in 1973, I stood there alone.”
Marie Cruz was born on November 14, 1946 in Salinas, California, to the White Mountains Apache and Yaki tribes in Arizona. Her mother was of French, German and Dutch ancestry, according to Ms. Little Feather website. After high school, she took the name Sacheen Littlefeather “to reflect her natural heritage,” the site states.
No information was immediately available on the survivors.
Mrs. Littlefeather’s website stated that she participated in Native American occupation of Alcatraz Islandwhich began in 1969 in defiance of a government that protesters said had long trampled on Native American rights.
Her acting career began in the early 1970s at the American Institute Theater in San Francisco. She went on to play roles in films such as “The Trial of Billy Jack” (1974) and “Winterhawk” (1975).
Ms. Little Feather said in an interview with the Academy that she was planning to watch the awards on television when, the night before the ceremony, she received a call from Mr. Brando, who had been nominated for his performance as Vito Corleone in “The Godfather.”
The two became friends through her neighbor Frances Ford Coppola, who directed the film. Mr. Brando asked her to refuse the award on his behalf if he won and gave it Speech Read only in case.
With only about 15 minutes remaining on the program, Mrs. Little Feather arrived at the party with little information on how the night would have worked, she said.
An Academy Awards producer noticed the pages in Mrs. Little Feather’s hand and told her she would be arrested if her comments lasted more than 60 seconds.
Then Mr. Brando won.
In the speech, Ms. Little Feather drew attention to the federal government Confrontation with Native American Protesters Then it happened in Wounded Knee, SD, the site of a massacre perpetrated by American forces a century ago.
She later recalled that while giving the speech—she never completed it—”I focused on the mouths and jaws that were opening to the audience, and there were very few.”
She recalls that the audience, which included “very few people of color,” sounded like a “sea of Clorox.”
She said that some members of the public had done a so-called “tomahawk cut” on her and that when she went to Mr. Brando’s house later, people shot into the entrance where she was standing.
Last month, Mrs. Little Feather spoke on an Academy-hosted program titled “An evening with Sacheen Littlefeather,In which she remembered the Oscars and asserted that she stood for justice in all arts.
“I didn’t represent myself,” she said. “I was representing all the Aboriginal voices out there, all the Aboriginal people, because we’d never heard that way before.”
Applause erupted in the audience.
“I had to pay to get in, and that was fine,” she continued. “Because those doors have to be open.”
After learning that the academy would formally apologize to her, Ms Little Feather said it felt “like a big purge”.
“It is as if the sacred circle completes itself,” she said, “before I go on in this life.”
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