Brando back in Branch

GOOD MORNING: Guess who is a reinstated member of the Actors Branch in the Motion Picture Academy — Marlon Brando. He had been a member since 1958 — until 1981. Then, after he was nominated for best supporting actor in “A Dry White Season” in 1990, he was invited to reinstate. Nothing happened until 1993, when someone in Brando’s office inquired about the membership and was told he could be reinstated if he signed an acceptance card. The Academy received a signed card. “And we assume it was signed by him — and we’re delighted,” the Acad’s John Pavlik confirmed to me. But, Marlon sez, “I wouldn’t know about it — maybe it was done by my business manager.” As for his “missing Oscar” from “The Godfather,” awarded-and-refused March 27, 1973, Marlon’s friend, co-star and past Acad president Karl Malden says he met with the Acad’s Bruce Davis this week to talk about the whereabouts of that Brando Oscar. Malden says, “Bruce (Davis) and I traced it back”– and since it was not accepted by Brando, the statue was given to the winner of best dramatic musical score, “Limelight”– Charlie Chaplin! And that Oscar is in the Chaplin family estate, he reports. Further, Malden says that Davis told him if Marlon wants his (an) Oscar, “we’ll give it to him”– if he signs a release not to sell it. He can give it to his family or — ? But whoever gets it cannot sell or auction it, the Acad wants Brando to agree. Malden related the terms to Brando. “Do you want it?” “Yes,” he said. “I’d like to give it to the Indians.” Davis “called a meeting of the Acad execs,” said Malden, to relate the above. However, Brando laughingly, succinctly summed all of this up with, “I don’t give a fuck.”

UNFORGETTABLE — THAT’S WHAT IT IS. Although Maria Cole, children Natalie, Timolin, Casey and Carole were together at Capitol Records to celebrate the Tower of Achievement Award to Nat King Cole, there’s still some financial discord in the family. Maria told me she may “have to go to court.” Capitol’s Studio A was packed Wednesday night for the presentation by Gary Gersh, president and CEO of the label. He said the award was “in gratitude” for the great artist. Cole was signed to Capitol in 1942 by Johnny Mercer and his songs sold more than 25 million records in the U.S. alone. A retro film reel showed Cole and family backed by him singing tunes including “Mona Lisa,””Smile,””Route 66,””Straighten Up and Fly Right,”‘Rambling Rose,””Too Young” and, of course, “Unforgettable.” Wife Maria (who had sung with Duke Ellington) accepted the award and also paid tribute to Glenn Wallichs, who founded Capitol. Natalie Cole said it was an “extraordinary” day — Nat’s sister Evelyn had died that very day … Among longtime friends and admirers on hand: Tom Bradley; Sparky Tavares, who had been Cole’s road manager and valet for 18 years; Berle Adams and Henry Miller, Cole’s agents at MCA and GAC, respectively; Gene Norman, who played a Cole record nightly on his KFWB show 10-midnight starting back in 1944. And Bob Henry, who produced Cole’s 44 NBC-TV shows — until sponsors failed to continue backing a black artist. As Nat himself once said, “Madison Avenue is afraid of the dark”… Gene Norman’s GNP Crescendo Records will release the “Star Trek: Generations” CD ($ 13.95) cassette with a chromium cover! Neil Norman (Gene’s son) is exec producer and Dennis McCarthy composed the score. It’s the label’s 13th “Star Trek” album.

PRINCE CHARLES AND BARBRA STREISAND sandwiched in cocktails at the Bel-Air Hotel Thursday at 6:45 p.m. before he was scheduled to segue to the black-tie tented soiree at the Aaron Spellings. The royal protective force, Secret Service and LAPD were added to by Streisand’s security. The Bel-Air swans must have felt safe. Later, the dinner party guests walked through the regal hall of the Spellings out to a tent on the back lawn … Bruce Davison is joined by wife Lisa Pelikan, Carrie Snodgress and Zelda Rubenstein at La Mirada’s “To Kill a Mockingbird.” Pelikan took a break from the Odyssey’s “The Real Inspector Hound” for the Nov. 4-20 stand with her husband. Davison can afford to take a legit break — he has three pix in the can … Congrats to Dick Taylor, president of Hill & Knowlton’s entertainment division (formerly CEO of Rogers & Cowan), upped to H&K’s global president, business development and client services … A Leonard Feather memorial celebration for family and friends in the biz will be held at 8 p.m. Monday at UCLA’s Schoenberg Hall. Deejay Chuck Niles hosts the tribute … Legendary Anita O’Day, at the Catalina through Sunday, meets with K n’K Prods. on her autobiopic …”Star Trek’s” LeVar Burton is honored by the Color Me Bright Youth Foundation Sunday at the Olympic Collection Banquet Center.

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