FILE - At the 1973 Academy Awards, Sacheen Littlefeather refuses the Academy Award for Best Actor on behalf of Marlon Brando who won for his role in "The Godfather." She carries a letter from Brando in which he explains he refused the award in protes LOS ANGELES - Sacheen Littlefeather, a Native American activist who famously refused to accept the Academy Award for best actor on behalf of Marlon Brando in 1973, has died. She was 75. Littlefeather’s death was announced on Sunday by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
While a cause of death was not immediately shared, Littlefeather revealed in a Facebook post in early 2021 that she had metastasized breast cancer.Her death came just weeks after the academy apologized to Littlefeather for the abuse she endured.When Brando won best actor for "The Godfather" in 1973, 26-year-old Littlefeather — wearing buckskin dress and moccasins — took the stage and became the first Native American woman ever to do so at the Academy Awards. In a 60-second speech, she explained that Brando could not accept the award due to "the treatment of American Indians today by the film industry."But some in the audience booed her.
John Wayne, who was backstage at the time, was reportedly furious. The 1973 Oscars were held during the American Indian Movement’s two-month occupation of Wounded Knee in South Dakota.
In the years since, Littlefeather said she had been mocked, discriminated against, and personally attacked for her brief Academy Awards appearance.FILE - Native American Sacheen Littlefeather speaks at the 45th Academy Awards. (Getty Images) Last month, the Academy Museum shared a letter sent June 18 to Littlefeather by David Rubin, academy president, about the iconic Oscar moment.
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