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Brando Leaves Hospital

July 22, 1963 - Actor Marlon Brando left St. John’s Hospital in Santa Monica today but was ordered to remain under strict medical supervision at home for two weeks before joining Negro civil rights demonstrations in the South. Hospital charts of the 39-year-old actor’s illness belied rumors that he was malingering to avoid participating in the demonstrations or to dodge a paternity suit filed against him while he was in the hospital. “I meant everything I said,” Brando told the Los Angeles Times, “and I want to talk to the people in the civil rights movement to rearrange my plans.” Before leaving St. John’s, Brando paused at the bedsides of two young patients he’d met there. “You’re one of the prettiest girls I’ve ever seen,” he informed Laura Gallagher, 9, who was to undergo foot surgery for the fourth time. “I’m going to leave now, but don’t be afraid,” he told her. He gave her a gift and kissed her, and she planted a kiss on him. The actor also dropped in on Ernest Smith, 14, suffering from an asthma attack. Brando and the boy exchanged stories on surfing experiences. Brando later said he’d received about 250 letters in the hospital — about 90% of them favorable — the other 10% suggesting that he ought to “drop dead,” the actor laughed.


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