Marlon Brando's Alter Ego Wally Cox
Do you recognize this man? No, it is not Marlon Brando. It is Marlon's alter ego, Wally Cox, the little man with the distinctly pronounced high-pitched voice and glasses too large for his face. If you were lucky enough to watch re-runs of Mr. Peepers from the early 50's, or Hollywood Squares from the mid 60's, you were fortunate enough to see a rare form of comedian. Always thought of as a mild, skinny and extremely introverted man, Wally said he was completely the opposite.
What has Wally Cox got to do with America's greatest contribution to the art of acting? Well, to say they were lifelong friends would be putting it mildly. Their beginning came in 1935 when they were neighbors in Evanston, Illinois. Marlon's mother and Wally's step-dad had known each other in Chicago and introduced the two kids to each other.
The rugged Brando protected the skinny kid from local bullying and they immediately became best pals. Even after prankster Marlon tied Wally to a tree and left him overnight they continued to be friends.
Marlon's family followed Wally's family to New York where Brando began his acting career and Wally began to hone his comedy routine. Wally was an overnight sensation as the whimsical Mr. Peepers and Brando took Broadway by storm as well. The two shared an apartment in the 50's in New York and naturally, rumors have always implied a relationship other than platonic. However, there has never been anything that has given validity to those premises.
Soon, they were both mega-stars in their own right and their friendship continued. They both married three times and continued their relationship throughout. They would take hikes into the mountains together collecting rocks and they shared their love of riding motorcycles.
Tragically, at only 49 years of age, Wally died of an accidental overdose of sedatives. Some, including Marlon say it was a heart attack. The two friends had planned to have their ashes scattered in Death Valley, California, so when Wally passed, Marlon asked Wally's current wife if he could have the ashes to carry out Wally's wish.
Instead, Brando kept the ashes in a closet for 31 years until his death and reportedly had daily conversations with the ashes. He also kept a pair of Wally's pajamas that Wally died in. Then, having left instructions with his son to do so, his and Wally's ashes were scattered together in the desert.
Marlon Brando once said, "If Wally had been a woman, I would have married him and we would have lived happily ever after".