Sachin Littlefeather, the activist and actress who refused to accept the best actor award on behalf of Marlon Brando at the 1973 Oscars, has died.
Her death was announced Sunday by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The cause of death is not known.
Her death came just weeks after the Academy apologized to Ms Littlefair for its treatment at the Oscars. In an interview in August, Ms. Littlefeather said: “I never thought I would live to hear this, experience this.”
Clad in a glittering gown, her appearance at the 45th Academy Awards, at the age of 26, was the first time a Native American woman had taken the stage at the ceremony. But the response and criticism was immediate.
Mrs. Littlefeather, whose birth name was Marie Cruz, was born on November 14, 1946, in Salinas, California.
Her acting career began at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco in the early 1970s. Roles in films such as “The Trial of Billy Jack” and “Winterhawk” followed.
In an interview with the Academy, Ms. Littlefeather said she had planned to watch the awards on television when she got a call the night before the ceremony from Brando, who had been nominated for his role as Vito Corleone in “The Godfather.”
The two became friends through her neighbor, director Francis Ford Coppola. Mr. Brando asked her to refuse the award on his behalf if she won, and gave her a speech to read just in case.
Because there were only about 15 minutes left in the program before Mrs. Littlefeather arrived. The Oscars producer noticed the papers in Ms Littlefeather’s hands and told her she would be arrested if her speech lasted more than 60 seconds.