Native American actress and activist Sacheen Littlefeather, who turned down the best actor award on behalf of Marlon Brando during a protest for the Oscars in 1973, has died at the age of 75, the Academy announced Monday. movie theater.
Littlefeather, who Hollywood journalist Said who died at her home in California on Sunday surrounded by loved ones, was catapulted to fame when her friend Brando boycotted the 45th Academy Awards over what he saw as the stereotypical portrayal of Native Americans in movies and on TV.
Taking the stage in a traditional buckskin dress to turn down the Oscar – awarded for Brando’s portrayal of Vito Corleone in “The Godfather” – in her place, she delivered a critical speech on the same issue, also drawing attention to a protest in Wounded Knee, South Dakota against the mistreatment of American Indians.
She was booed for her remarks and boycotted by the film industry for decades.
This year Littlefeather, who had been diagnosed with breast cancer, received a belated letter of apology from then Academy President David Rubin, and last month the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures organized an event in his honor.
“I was representing all the indigenous voices there, all the indigenous people, because we’ve never been heard that way before,” she said, thinking back to what happened in 1973.