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Photo: Ed Clark, Shutterstock

Marlon Brando relaxing with his grandmother's dachshund at her house in Van Nuys, CA in October 1949.

In 1949, Marlon Brando landed in Hollywood, two years following his stage-shattering performance in A Streetcar Named Desire to star in The Men, in which he played a crippled WWII vet. Reclusive and doggedly rebellious, he spurned star treatment as well as the Beverly Hills Hotel bungalow offered to him during his stay. Instead, he opted to bunk with his grandmother in her apartment in neighboring Van Nuys, not least of all because of his great affection for her dachshund, named Kurtze Beiner. In German, the name means "short legs," a testament to granny's sense of humor. She also knew that dachshunds are ideal apartment pets. Though small in stature, their personalities are famously big and engaging. Kurtze Beiner took a shine to Marlon and vice versa. He loved to nuzzle with Marlon, as evidenced in the photo. Although the movie he was there to make may not have proven a hit, Kurtze Beiner sure did. In subsequent years, dog-lover Marlon had numerous dogs, cherishing the immeasurable value of their primal, unconditional love. Particularly later in life, he was notorious for escaping the public eye and media attention, preferring to stay at home with his two English Mastiffs. His favorite, Doctor Tim, even made a brisk appearance in Marlon's infamous Larry King interview, where he specifically requested a close-up shot of his beloved companion, providing him his 15-seconds of fame. Marlon knew full well that, as 19th century journalist and humorist Josh Billings wrote, "A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself." Amen.

Terry Kidder
@terrykidder
Terry Kidder, veteran advertising creative director, specializes in journalistic features and corporate communications—creating content for such global juggernauts as Google, Coca-Cola, and L’Oreal.

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