Native American actress and activist Sacheen Littlefeather, who rejected the Academy Award for Best Actor on behalf of Marlon Brando, has died at the age of 75.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced her death in a post shared on Twitter on Monday.
The tweet, accompanied by photos of the Apache and Yaqui actresses, read: “Sacheen Littlefeather, Native American civil rights activist who rejected Marlon Brando’s 1973 Academy Award for Best Actor, dies at 75.”
While no cause of death was immediately given, Littlefeather revealed in a Facebook post last January that she had metastatic breast cancer.
Littlefeather made history when she stepped on stage at the 1973 Oscars on behalf of “The Godfather” star Brando, who decided to boycott the award ceremony in protest at the portrayal of Native Americans on the big screen. Brando was also reacting to the response of federal law enforcement to the occupation of the South Dakota town of Wounded Knee by members of the American Indian Movement.
Her short speech, for which she wore a buckskin dress and moccasins, was met with a mixture of boos and applause. It cost the budding actress, whose film credits included “Winterhawk,” “Shoot the Sun Down” and “The Trial of Billy Jack,” her career as she was soon blacklisted from the film industry and shunned by the entertainment world.