Sacheen Littlefeather, Who Declined Marlon Brandos Oscar, Died 3 Months After Academys Apology

The Native American actress and activist, who delivered Marlon’s rejection speech on his behalf in 1973, passed away at age 75 after battling stage 4 breast cancer.

AceShowbizSacheen Littlefeather, who famously declined an Oscar for Marlon Brando at the 1973 Academy Awards, has passed away. The actress died on Sunday, October 2, the Academy of Motion Pictures has confirmed.

Sacheen died at noon Sunday at her home in the Northern California city of Novato surrounded by her loved ones, according to a statement sent out by her caretaker. She was 75. The Native America actress and activist disclosed in March 2018 that she had been diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer and it had metastasized in recent years.

Sacheen was booed onstage at the 1973 Oscars when she delivered Marlon’s rejection speech. The actor, who won the Best Actor for his role in “The Godfather”, decided to send her out instead as he boycotted the ceremony as a protest against Hollywood’s portrayal of Native Americans. At the ceremony, Sacheen was only given 60 seconds to read her speech on Native American rights, and was then escorted off the stage with audience members booing.

Almost 50 years later, she received a formal apology from the Academy, which was first privately presented to her in June. Academy president David Rubin said in a letter to Sacheen, “The abuse you endured because of this statement was unwarranted and unjustified. The emotional burden you have lived through and the cost to your own career in our industry are irreparable. For too long the courage you showed has been unacknowledged. For this, we offer both our deepest apologies and our sincere admiration.”

In September, Sacheen spoke of accepting the apology. “I am here accepting this apology. Not only for me alone, but as acknowledgement, knowing that it was not only for me but for all our nations that also need to hear and deserve this apology tonight,” she said at the “An Evening with Sacheen Littlefeather” event at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in Los Angeles.

She continued, “Now, I would like all the Indian people in this audience to stand. Look at our people, look at each other and be proud that we stand as survivors, all of us. Please, when I’m gone, always be reminded that wherever you stand for your truth, you will be keeping my voice and the voices of our nations and our people alive. I remain Sacheen Littlefeather. Thank you.”

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