Arts and Entertainment
Sacheen Littlefeather says John Wayne charged towards her at 1973 Oscars
Los Angeles, Aug. 19 (IANS): American actress and Native American civil rights activist Sacheen Littlefeather has been grabbing the headlines ever since the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences issued a formal apology to her over the mistreatment she faced at the 1973 Oscars.
Littlefeather has made another revelation about True Grit’s actor John Wayne charging towards her to physically assault her at the 1973 ceremony, reports ‘Variety’.
Back then, Littlefeather, who was 26 years old at the ceremony, took to the stage on behalf of Marlon Brando, who was named best actor for ‘The Godfather’, and declined the award for him. According to ‘Variety’, Brando cited Hollywood’s problematic portrayal of “Native American Indian people in film and television” as his reason for rejecting the Oscar.
To mark the news of the Academy’s apology, plus an upcoming special programme to be held in her honour at the Academy Museum in September, Littlefeather gave an in-depth interview to the Academy in which she recalled in detail what happened the night she declined Brando’s Oscar.
Littlefeather walked up to the Oscars stage and said, “I’m Sacheen Littlefeather. I’m Marlon Brando’s official representative here this evening. Unfortunately, he cannot receive this Academy Award because of the image of Native American Indian people in film and television today.”
“That’s when people started booing, and the other half started cheering,” Littlefeather remembered. “And that’s when all the people started getting into commotion in the audience.”
Littlefeather said that when she left the stage, she spotted John Wayne, who was furious about her speech and approached her in such a way that she thought he would assault her.
“(John Wayne) did not like what I was saying up at the podium,” Littlefeather said, quoted by ‘Variety’. “So, he came forth in a rage to physically assault and take me off the stage. And he had to be restrained by six security men in order for that not to happen.”
“It was interesting because some people were giving me the tomahawk chop. I thought, ‘This is very racist. Very racist indeed.’ And I just gracefully walked and ignored them,” Littlefeather continued.
“They put two armed guards around me, and said they were going to take me to these different press rooms. One was for television press, radio press and international press. And I would have about 10 minutes in each press room, and that was it. And then, I was escorted out the door.”