Marlon Brando's 'Rare' Breakup Letter to French Dancer to Be Auctioned: 'I Wish Not to Humiliate'

·3 min read
Marlon Brando; Solange Podell
Marlon Brando; Solange Podell

Bettmann Archive

A letter Marlon Brando once wrote to a French dancer and actress with whom he appeared to be romantically involved is up for auction.

Described by RR Auction as a "rare early 'breakup' letter" from Brando, the letter was sent to Solange Podell some time in the late 1940s and reveals some of the iconic actor's thoughts on a little-known relationship early in his career.

"In order that you won't think me a complete boor, I am writing you this letter to explain that because of an erratic, flighty, fly-by-night, temperament I wish not to humiliate and degrade your sentiments by seeing you only at my mood's conveinence [sic]," Brando wrote in the three-page letter, as published and transcribed by the auction house.

Podell, then a working actor in Los Angeles, met Brando during a 1947 visit to New York City, when she was told to go backstage during a production of A Streetcar Named Desire to meet the actor, according to the U.K.'s The Times and the auction house.

"He told me, 'Why don't you come each night so that I will be with someone to have supper after the performance?' " Podell told The Times in 2014.

Brando began spending time with Podell and her mother in New York City and even gave Podell money so she and her mother could move out of a hotel and into an apartment during their stay in the city, according to the outlet.

RELATED: Rita Moreno Says Marlon Brando 'Mistreated Me in So Many Ways': 'I Tried to End My Life'

Marlon Brando Autograph Letter Signed on Breakup with Solange Podell
Marlon Brando Autograph Letter Signed on Breakup with Solange Podell

Courtesy RR Auction

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The letter shows Brando eventually pulled out of the relationship; he wrote that his emotions were "unfortunately unstable" at the time.

"Please accept this letter with an open heart as it is written with fourthright [sic] sincerity," the future Godfather star wrote in the letter, per RR Auction.

"I'm sorry I could not have tried harder to be less self indulgent and therewith, a little more compatable [sic]," he continued. "My intuitions were flawlessly scroupulous [sic], but my emotions, unfortunately, unstable. I will remember you with fondness, regard, and appreciation."

"When we meet in France (perhaps in October) I trust my behavior will be a trifle more adult," the actor added as he finished his message. In a postscript, Brando asks Podell to "please give my kind acknowledgements to your mother, if she'll accept them."

Marlon Brando
Marlon Brando

Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images

Podell, who died in 2020, eventually worked as a photographer in Monaco, according to RR Auctions. Despite her and Brando's apparent relationship, the actor did not mention Podell in his 1994 memoir Songs My Mother Taught Me, where he did recall "there would be seven or eight girls waiting in my dressing room" after each show during his time on Broadway, per The Times.

The auction for the letter ends on Wednesday. Ten bids have been placed so far, with the highest bid at $3,390, according to the listing on RR Auction's website. The auction house's website indicates Brando's letter is ultimately expected to sell for over $15,000.

Brando died in 2004 at age 80. In 2022, Rita Moreno, who dated Brando for nearly eight years after they met in the early '50s, described the actor as "a bad guy when it came to women."