Sacheen Littlefeather, actress who declined Oscar on Marlon Brando's behalf, dead at 75

Weeks after receiving an apology from the Oscars for the rude and threatening treatment she received at the 1973 awards show, Native American activist Sacheen Littlefeather is dead at 75. Littlefeather was sent by actor Marlon Brando to decline his Best Actor award and to deliver a speech on Native Americans' poor treatment by the motion picture industry.

She was subjected to jeers and racist abuse by the audience. Producer Howard W. Koch threatened to have her arrested. Roger Moore, who presented the award, had to escort her off-stage to prevent her being physically attacked by avowed white supremacist John Wayne.

She was also blacklisted, reports the BBC:

"I went up there, like a proud Indian woman with dignity, with courage, with grace, and with humility," she remembered at the recent event. "I knew that I had to speak the truth. Some people may accept it. And some people may not."

Screen Actors Guild member Littlefeather struggled to get work in the industry afterwards but said it was "never too late for an apology… it's never too late for forgiveness." … Littlefeather featured in films like The Trial of Billy Jack, Johnny Firecloud and Counselor at Crime, but said she returned to San Francisco after being blacklisted by the industry, to continue her activism and work in health care and the theatre.