Kerouac’s Letter to Marlon Brando, ca. 1957

I picked up this item from the latest newsletter from the Beat Museum in San Francisco ( There’s a link to the Christie’s auction house site where you can see the letter from Jack Kerouac to Marlon Brando, urging the actor to acquire the film rights to Kerouac’s then-redhot novel “On the Road.” The letter is undated, but the novel was published in 1957. Brando’s Estate sold the letter.

The letter is fascinating, so click to enlarge the document when you get to the Christie’s site. You’ll be surprised to read what Kerouac had to say about his ambition, theatre and movies in America, and his vision for the “On the Road” film, which has finally been made. Here’s the item from the Beat Museum newsletter:

I mentioned in the last newsletter that Jack Kerouac wrote a letter to Marlon Brando in 1957 or 1958 (it’s not dated) detailing how Jack and Marlon should co-write a screenplay for On The Road and that Brando would play Neal Cassady (Dean Moriarty) and Jack would play himself (Sal Paradise).  So many people wrote to ask where they could see that letter that I thought I’d post a link to Christie’s website so you can see it for yourself. You’ll note the letter sold for $33,600.  A greater association between a writer and an actor is hard to find.  I especially like how Kerouac ended the letter: “Come on now, Marlon, put up your dukes and write!” – an obvious reference to “I coulda been a contender” from 1954’s “On The Waterfront”.  NOTE to anonymous buyer:  If you’d like to donate or loan this prize possession to The Beat Museum, we’ll put it on display for the world to see… much better than being locked up in your vault.

See the letter here and enlarge for reading.

One Response to Kerouac’s Letter to Marlon Brando, ca. 1957

  1. PaulM says:

    I fixed the link for the Kerouac-Brando letter. Sorry for the glitch in first posting. Try again.