Harking back to a Golden Age of Hollywood when movie stars were all the best of friends and phone numbers were kept on glamorous, spinning index cards, Marlon Brando’s personal Rolodex is set to appear at auction this week via Nate D. Sanders, offering an incredible artifact of film history that you can use to harass scores of elderly celebrities. The late Godfather star was, of course, legendary for owning a phone, and his list of contacts offers testament to his Stella Adler-taught belief that an actor should always call a person by using their actual number, in the moment—not some phone number dredged up from the actor’s own experiences, like that hack Lee Strasberg would teach. This is a serious, method Rolodex for the serious, method phone-dialer, and it can be yours at a starting bid of just $7,500.
While there have been similar celebrity address books to hit the marketplace, adding to the unique allure of Brando’s one-of-kind collection is the fact that some of these people aren’t dead. Among the living people you could conceivably call up and pester are Jack Nicholson, Peter Fonda, Jane Fonda, Barbra Streisand, Bob Dylan, and Robert Redford—though of course, this particular Rolodex dates from the 1970s-1980s, meaning many of those lines are likely to be disconnected.
But if they’re not, whoa nelly, just imagine! You could be talking to Jack Nicholson! How cool would that be? He’d probably be so impressed with your chutzpah, he’d invite you over to his place to chat, and you’d soon become best friends, with Jack saying you should just move into his guest house and be his live-in assistant! Not in a romantic way, of course—just two people, appreciative of each other’s company and counsel, there for each other at any hour of the night. You could finally quit your job! Man, they all laughed at you when you bid thousands of dollars on Marlon Brando’s old Rolodex, but look who’s moving into Jack Nicholson’s house now! Yeah, that’s right! Fuck them! Fuck all those fucking assholes!
Others listed in Brando’s Rolodex, however, are not so lucky, with numerous entries for his fellow late celebrities Johnny Carson, Frank Sinatra, Jacques Costeau, Orson Welles, George C. Scott, Sidney Lumet, and “Mohammed [sic] Ali.” You could attempt to prank call them, I suppose, but really, you would only be taunting death. One does not beckon the shadows in jest. You should not ding-dong-ditch the door of Hades.
Beyond his fellow movie stars, Brando’s contacts also include numerous politicians and journalists, all in varying states of being alive. Governor Jerry Brown, Walter Cronkite, Coretta Scott King, Ted Kennedy, William Hearst, Barry Goldwater, Carl Bernstein’s direct line at The Washington Post, and even Watergate conspirator John Ehrlichman—they’re all here, their presence reflecting the actor’s decades of activism, as well as his decades of giving them the finest, most charismatic phone calls of their lives. Even in his later years, there was no mistaking a Marlon Brando phone call. Simply magnetic. You couldn’t take your ear off the phone.
There are also dozens of entries related to Brando’s advocacy for Native Americans, most notably a card for Sacheen Littlefeather, who spoke on Brando’s behalf at the 1973 Oscars. Littlefeather is now 70 years old and surely not tired at all of talking about those two-and-half-minutes of her life, so definitely give her a ring. She may even invite you over to chat about it further, and you’d soon become best friends, with Sacheen saying you should just stay in her guest house and be her live-in assistant! Not in a romantic way—just two people, appreciative of each other’s company and counsel, there for each other at any hour of the night they might want to talk about the 1973 Oscars and stuff. You could finally quit your job! Those fucking assholes!
Finally, there are also entire sections for ham radio (“of which Brando was an active user”) and Catholic bishops, plus many “interesting cards for his various doctors,” if you’d prefer just the normal, down-to-earth, ghoulish pleasures of rifling through a dead old man’s stuff.