Rita Moreno Recalls Relationship with Marlon Brando - Actors on Actors

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has apologised to actor and activist Sacheen Littlefeather 50 years later.

The then-26-year-old took to the stage to decline Marlon Brando's Oscar for Best Actor for his role in The Godfather on his behalf.

Littlefeather led with an improvised but meaningful speech on the the depiction of Native Americans in Hollywood films, saying: "I'm representing Marlon Brando this evening,

"He would very regretfully cannot accept this very generous award, and the reasons for this being are the treatments of American Indians today by the film industry."

The 1973 Oscars were during a time when approximately 200 Oglala Lakota (sometimes referred to as Oglala Sioux) and followers of the American Indian Movement (AIM) seized and occupied the town of Wounded Knee, South Dakota.

Littlefeather, now 75, was instantly subject to abuse and heckling – and some cheers.

John Wayne had to be restrained from storming the stage to physically attack her, she told The Hollywood Reporter. The events had impacted her career in Hollywood too. She said the federal government threatened to shut down any talk shows or productions that put her on the air.

"I was stunned. I never thought I’d live to see the day I would be hearing this, experiencing this," Littlefeather told the outlet. "When I was at the podium in 1973, I stood there alone."

Littlefeather said the Academy’s statement was first presented to her in June.

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Marlon Brando's Oscar® win for "The Godfather"www.youtube.com

The apology, from then-Academy president David Rubin, read: "The abuse you endured because of this statement was unwarranted and unjustified,”

“The emotional burden you have lived through and the cost to your own career in our industry are irreparable. For too long the courage you showed has been unacknowledged. For this, we offer both our deepest apologies and our sincere admiration."

The apology will be read in full at the Academy Museum event in Los Angeles on September 17.

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