UNICEF History

Marlon Brando at UNICEF

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© UNICEF
Marlon Brando speaks soberly yet passionately at UNICEF's New York Headquarters (circa 1967) about the desperate needs of many of the world's children.

Marlon Brando had been interested in the work of UNICEF since the early 1960s, with inspiration from Danny Kaye. On the occasion of the UNICEF's 20th Anniversary, French Radio and TV and the UNICEF European Office organised a Gala Evening in Paris on 25 November 1966, involving a number of celebrities including Brando.

The broadcasts were seen or heard by an estimated 270,000,000 viewers. The event raised over $3,000,000, a significant sum at the time, and helped to kindle Brando's activist spirit. He went on to speak in other venues about UNICEF and its work (including at UNICEF Headquarters, as shown in the accompanying photo), as well as travelling to India, Pakistan, Lebanon and Egypt.

Here is what Marlon Brando had to say about his appearance on behalf of UNICEF in Paris (from an article in the Istanbul daily newspaper, Milliyet):

"Many people shirk their responsibilities in the social field. But I an pushed into social responsibilities because of my instincts. This is the reason for my taking part in UNICEF's campaign to save 800.000.000 children of the world who are suffering from hunger and malnutrition. I hope that many well known stars and authors will answer our appeal and participate in a TV show to be organized in Paris - and I hope that funds will flow in UNICEF after this show which will be watched by 270 million people."

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