Marlon Brando & James Dean S&M Relationship: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

James Dean and Marlon Brando reportedly had “a secret sadomasochistic relationship” sparked by Brando’s “desire for control,” according to a new book.

Daily Mail reported that the unidentified book states that the two actors would partake in “master and servant style sex sessions.”

In 2006’s Brandon Unzipped, Darwin Porter presented Brando to readers in a different light, revealing that the bisexual thespian slept with several male actors and directors. Porter claimed that Brando — aside from Dean — also had gay relationships with Cary Grant, Montgomery Clift and John Gielgud. However, Porter wrote that — out of all the relationships — Dean was Brando’s “most lasting yet troubled” one.

Here’s what you need to know:

1. Dean Reportedly Asked Brando to Burn Him With Cigarettes

Marlon Brando & James Dean, Marlon Brando & James Dean Gay Lover, Marlon Brando & James Dean Sexual Relationship


When Dean would meet up with Brando, he would reportedly request to be “burned by cigarettes,” reported Daily Mail. The site also reported that Brando — the older and dominant one in the relationship — would make Dean view him having sex with strangers; all part of “a twisted mind game.”

The two were said to have a turbulent relationship for several years. According to Contact Music, Brando and Dean had a major public fight — over Brando’s other male romantic interests — at a Santa Monica, California party. Brando elaborated on his predicament.

Marlon had a bit of a fling with Cary Grant, spending a weekend with him in San Francisco. Cary was also pursuing the actor Stewart Granger, who became another of Marlon’s conquests. Marlon admired John Gielgud but they didn’t have a relationship, rather, Brando performed sexual favours for Gielgud and told friends, ‘I owed it to him because he really helped me with lines in Julius Caesar.

2. Brando Reportedly Had a Desire to Be in Control

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Daily Mail reported that Brando loved to play a “cat-and-mouse game” with Dean for his own entertainment.
Brando — notorious for having a large sexual appetite — reportedly had up to five lovers at a time, according to Daily Mail.

In Brando’s Smile, Susan L. Mizruchi writes that Brando — who was also into women — “was an epic womanizer and his need for sex with women was an addiction.”

3. Dean Would Reportedly ‘Loiter Outside Brando’s Apartment’ Like a ‘Puppy Dog’

Friends of Dean reportedly stated that he would wait around in the cold weather for Brando outside the latter’s apartment like a “puppy dog,” hoping that The Godfather actor would invite him “in for sex,” according to the site.

4. Dean & Brando’s Personal Demons Are Reportedly What Brought Them Together

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Brando wrote in his book — Songs My Mother Taught Me — that he first met Dean in 1954. They both continuously battled individual demons.

In Listen To Me Marlon — a movie compiled from 200 hours of Brando’s tapes — the actor admits to hating his father and his work in A Streetcar Named Desire almost leading to him having a breakdown.

In Songs My Mother Taught Me, Brando wrote about his old man’s emotionally abusive tendencies:

“I was his namesake, but nothing I did ever pleased or even interested him. He enjoyed telling me I couldn’t do anything right. He had a habit of telling me I would never amount to anything.”

Dean’s personal demons were something he fought with up until his fatal car accident on September 30, 1955. They were apparent in a letter he stated the following in to then-girlfriend Barbara Glenn:


Click here to view the transcript of the April 24, 1954 letter.

5. They Both Studied Under the Same Acting Coach

Dean and Brando — considered icons in the world of acting — were both trained by acting coach Lee Strasberg and discovered by director Elia Kazan. The two actors starred together in East of Eden in 1955.

However, the two actors met when Brando made an appearance on the Actors Studio; a place he had frequented under Strasburg’s tutelage. In Songs My Mother Taught Me, Brando stated that Dean — from the rear of the audience — must’ve felt Brando’s “skin burning” from staring at him so intensely. Brando thought Dean was “in love with him” and was “childlike” in a genuine way. Later, Dean introduced himself to Brando as his “greatest fan.”

In the book, composer Alec Wilder — who met Brando and Dean — stated that Dean was more fond of Brando then Brando was of him.

I really believe that Jimmy fell in love with Brando that year. As for Brando, I don’t think he ever loved Jimmy, I met Brando only three times and each time he was with Jimmy. In my opinion, Brando was in love with Brando.

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