“He looked like he’d just visited hell”: Frank Sinatra Showed Marlon Brando He Was The Real Godfather by Scaring Him to Brink of Death After Oscar Winner Crossed a Line

On-set feuds are typical of Hollywood endeavours, but the one between Marlon Brando and Frank Sinatra remains the most shocking.

Frank Sinatra Showed Marlon Brando He Was The Real Godfather by Scaring Him to Brink of Death After Oscar Winner Crossed a Line


  • Marlon Brando, dubbed Hollywood's "bad boy," was no stranger to on-set squabbles.
  • However, The Godfather star's feud with Frank Sinatra proved the most detrimental.
  • What began with harmless taunts and outrageous antics soon evolved into Marlon Brando's reported abduction.
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Marlon Brando’s Hollywood career can be described as a rollercoaster ride. Throughout his reign, there were several instances where the actor’s reputation took a hit. His “bad boy” standing in the industry was birthed from on-set antics, public outbursts, and feuds with several eminent personalities.

Marlon Brando and Frank Sinatra
Marlon Brando and Frank Sinatra

Read also: Al Pacino Embarrassed Himself on The Godfather Sets Every Time He Ran Into Marlon Brando!

There were many squabbles that Brando took center stage in, but it was his astonishing on-set wrangle with renowned signer Frank Sinatra during the production of Guys and Dolls (1955) that shocked the world. The latter, who had been lobbying for the role of Sky Masterson, was reportedly disappointed when the part went to Brando.


While this may have birthed the feud, there was soon more to come that would sour things between the two—including an alleged abduction!

How Did The Feud Between Marlon Brando And Frank Sinatra Begin?

Guys and Dolls (1955)
Guys and Dolls (1955)

Even before Guys and Dolls began production, Sinatra and Brando’s reported feud had gained momentum. According to IndieWire, in On The Waterfront, while Brando eventually played the lead part, Terry Malloy, Sinatra was initially cast for the role. Producer Sam Spiegel had convinced The Godfather alum to participate. Losing the opportunity ignited the flames of one-sided resentment.

In Guys and Dolls, where the two would share the screen, Sinatra had again had his eyes set on the leading character of the endeavor, Sky Masterson. As per Express, the film’s producer, Samuel Goldwyn, had sought many competent actors of the time for the role, including Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas, Cary Grant, Gene Kelly, etc.

Guys and Dolls, starring Marlon Brando
Guys and Dolls, starring Marlon Brando

Initially hesitant to take the lead in a musical comedy, Brando refused the offer. But later, according to some reports mentioned by Express, Cary Grant called him on the phone to say, “I suggested you for the part… Frank Sinatra desperately wants the role. I heard you don’t like Sinatra. Take the role to p**s him off.”

The actor eventually agreed to the part. As per IMDb, the non-singing Brando was nicknamed “Mumbles” by Frank Sinatra, who loathed him for nabbing the starring role in the musical premise. In possible retaliation, Brando made Sinatra undergo a hellishly hilarious nightmare. The latter, known for getting the job done in a few takes, was met with the Apocalypse Now star’s on-set shenanigans.

The infamous "cheesecake scene"
The infamous “cheesecake scene”

Read also: Mads Mikkelsen Has No Interest In Becoming The Next Marlon Brando


As explained by Express, in one scene, Sinatra had to eat cheesecake—which he hated. Brando would purposefully mess up his lines, so they would have to re-do the scene constantly, with Sinatra being forced to eat more slices of cheesecake. Nauseated, the singer allegedly had an outburst. 

While these were relatively harmless back-and-forth jabs, there would come a time when things got extremely dangerous.

Did The Feud Lead To Marlon Brando’s Abduction?

Marlon Brando as Vito Corleone in The Godfather
Marlon Brando in The Godfather

When you learn what happened to Brando during the feud, his involvement in The Godfather would seem ironic. The actor’s friend Carlo Fiore, via Express, revealed details of the Superman alum’s reported abduction. The former said of the on-set dispute, “It got so bad I feared Sinatra was going to order his goons to beat up Marlon.”


The escalation point was when Sinatra’s former wife, Ava Gardner, became involved. Gardner allegedly spent time in Brando’s dressing room when the singer wasn’t around. 

Something terrible soon befell Marlon Brando

The actor was abducted by individuals who many believed to be Sinatra’s mobster associates. Fiore’s description when Brando vanished one night while he was out riding his motorcycle appeared in Darwin Porter’s biography Brando Unzipped. Brando told his friend three men had confronted him at a rest area. They pushed him into a black car after one pulled out a firearm. 

Marlon Brando
Marlon Brando

Related: Marlon Brando’s Daring Antic Put Him in Real Danger!

Upon witnessing the star’s distressed disposition following his return, Fiore recounted the following, according to Express:

“He looked like he’d just visited hell and escaped with his life… Marlon told me, ‘One of the goons told me he was going to offer me a choice. He could kill me, a quick and easy death with a bullet in the heart. Or else he’d let me live. If he let me live, he’d castrate me and carve up my face so that no plastic surgeon could ever repair it…”

Brando’s friend Carlo Fiore was convinced this was Sinatra’s doing, stating, “I’m sure Sinatra was behind this whole thing. He threatened and intimidated other people in his life – or so I hear. Why not Marlon? His arch-enemy number one…”


It is believed that this incident led Marlon Brando to hire a bodyguard and avoid Sinatra at all costs.

Guys and Dolls proved successful endeavor. But the feud between Sinatra and Brandon is what most people now associate with the blockbuster.


Written by Debdipta Bhattacharya

Articles Published: 659

Debdipta Bhattacharya is a content writer at FandomWire, where she has written more than 500 articles on various topics of interest. She possesses a sincere passion for popular culture, anime, film production, and the evolving world of YouTube and streaming culture which has allowed her to be a devoted and well-informed writer. Debdipta holds a bachelor's degree in Mass Communication. She has honed her skills and expertise in content writing with over two years of experience and strives to learn and grow daily.