Odd Couple: Hollywood version

Neil Simon wrote a play about two men badly matched but still great friends.  He called it the Odd Couple.  So popular was the play, movie and TV shows bearing this name, the title became a descriptive for any oddly matched twosome.

I read about a real life Odd Couple who were opposite types:  Actors Marlon Brando and Wally Cox.  Something about their strange friendship worked.   Brando was rugged, sex appeal mixed with raw anger, and Cox was Hollywood’s career Mr. Milquetoast.  Brando was a gifted method actor while Cox was doomed to play weak, but usually intelligent, male doormats.

The way they met was classic.  Cox was being pummeled by local school yard bullies.  Brando interrupted the beat down; threw an arm around the much smaller boy – Cox - and said, “I’m your new best friend”.  They were so close that Wally Cox became the only person who could correct Brando in a way the great actor would tolerate.

Brando once said, “I wished Wally Cox were a woman so I could marry him.”  When together they were comfortable and secure.  They stayed close friends until Wally died in 1973.  Marlon secured Cox’s ashes so the two men could have their ashes scattered together.  This was accomplished 31 years later.  During the time between, Brando would dine with Cox’s urn of ashes and use his gift for mimicry to voice his role and his friend’s.

I am slightly attracted to this story because of the wide differences in the two men, but more so because it tells a story about how a single act of kindness can be the start of a lifelong friendship.

Mr. Peepers and Stanley Kowalski?  Who would have figured that?

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