Marlon Brando and James Dean, on the set of "East of Eden"

After the heady days of the GTOs and a break up with Don Johnson, our Pamela became fixated on/with Marlon Brando and began writing him love letters and leaving messages on his answering machine. One night, he picked up the phone and…read on!

These were diary entries from 1972, copies of which were sent to Marlon Brando:

October 2, 1972

Dear Marlon,

Greetings Dear Journal,

I’ve thoroughly fallen in love with the exquisite Marlon Brando ever since seeing him in One Eyed Jacks the other night. What an actor, what a MAN! Here I am, 24 years of age, acting like I did over Paul McCartney! I’ve been checking it all out – he’s only 45 years old, lives in Beverly Hills alongside Jack Nicholson. He’s in the middle of a divorce from Terita, and I found out he has an answering service. Remember when I had photos taken at his house? He wasn’t in town, but Miss Andee (photographer) knows him and I even spoke to him on the phone once when he called her a few years ago. I just know I’ll meet him some fine day.

Later… I just threw the I Ching for Marlon – “Ten pairs of tortoises cannot oppose it. Constant perseverance brings good fortune.” How do you like that?

Well, it didn’t take me long to get hold of Brando’s private phone number. The first time I called, I was stunned to hear a recording of his oh-so-recognizable voice on the other end of the line. “Leave me a message,” he mumbled Marlonly. Zowie! I didn’t even know such a new-fangled device existed, but I did what he asked and started leaving long-winded messages, day after day, night after night. I’d recently had a heartachy break up with one of my true loves, Don Johnson, and glommed onto the idea of merging with Marlon. Oh, why not?

Despite my energetic ongoing meanderings and subtle pleadings for a meeting, Marlon didn’t pick up the phone. Maybe he was out of town on a movie, relaxing under a palm tree on his Tahitian island? It didn’t take me long to get ahold of his address, and—over the next year or so—I started writing him copious fact-filled letters, in hopes upon his return, the world’s greatest actor would be intrigued by Pamela Miller of Reseda, California. 

Dear Marlon,

I’ve been calling you almost every night, saying stuff into your tape machine for over a month. I suppose that isn’t very long for a romantic quest. I am getting impatient, however. There is positively no time to waste, so let’s get down to the facts here. My name is Pamela Miller and I’m 24 years old (which is astounding to me as I still look and feel teenage!). I also feel like a million bucks which is why I am writing all this down for you. No matter how much of a Biggie Wow Wow I was, I’d have a great time reading the life story of someone who adored me. I’ll tell you about a few things I dig, so you can get some kind of idea about who I am. I was a part of a rock and roll band, The GTOs, (Girls Together Outrageously) for four years, who were (and still are, minus one) a bunch of freaks from various parts of Hollyweird, who joined forces to display the insanity, in hopes of luring some people across that fine line. Miss Christine, the one who’s missing now, worked for Frank Zappa as a governess at the Log Cabin, on the corner of Lookout Mt and Laurel Canyon (the house was built by cowboy star Tom Mix and his Wonder horse is buried under the bowling alley in the basement). We all hung out there in outrageous garb, with tits exposed when it wasn’t fashionable and Frank thought we were pretty commersh and he signed us to his new record label. He was always ahead of his time. We went into the studio to record our album, complete with big perverted rock stars (Jeff Beck for one) and assumed we were going to be the next rage. We became somewhat infamous, in fact I still hear the little groupies of today speak of us with either hatred or awe. The album didn’t sell too well but I’m sure it will go down in history as an exquisite social comment.

I didn’t go berserk when I found Miss Christine had left us here. I was almost kind of proud of her. You know how jerks talk about killing themselves all the time, the ones who almost did it and talk about it for months? Miss Christine never even mentioned it, and then she was gone. It’s really a sad touching story. I’ll write about it when I’m in a sad touching mood.

Miss Andee (you know her) took me and Miss Mercy up to your gorgeous pad one windy afternoon to take some pictures with infra-red film. I knew you were there ‘cause I listened by the bedroom door and heard exciting sounds being made. Miss Andee taught me a lot about weird finesse and secretive trips. She took some beautiful pictures of me that day at your house.

I feel so joyous I could embrace this world. I have truly done some TOO MUCH things this time around, and it’s just beginning! Yay!

Dear Marlon,

      When I was 16 I wanted to run for cheerleader so badly, but no one would even nominate me. It was so sad. I felt I had been cheated in the tit department, so stuffed my big huge padded bras with scarves. (they felt realer when a guy touched them than tissue paper…it crunched). In fact, I went steady with a guy for about 2 years when I was teenage and I saw him recently with my tits of today, and I’m sure he kept wondering where the boobies went (the ones that he thought were there). His name is Bobby Martini which is pretty cool. When he went away to New York for a couple months, I became a bit of a freak, and when he returned, chaos followed. A guy who is now called The Mascara Snake went to my high school, praise the Lord. I used to do my damndest to run into him the halls just so he would speak my name. I guess Victor was my first guru. I made a drastic physical change (I did hold onto those phony tits, though reduced their size a bit) to meet with what I thought were his qualifications. I no longer wanted to look like the popular girls at school, got rid of all my matching sweaters and skirts, stopped ratting my hair, and ceased following the Dodger games so I could stand out in Victor’s eyes. I went from the Beatles to the Stones, and Mick Jagger’s grubby sexual raunchiness. I was really too tame for the greaser scene, even though I wore black leather, teased my hair until it was a rat’s nest, and said ‘bitchen’ but my heart wasn’t in it. I’d even pretended real hard to be into the surfer trip, parting my hair on the side and wearing culottes, but felt like a phony ‘cause I couldn’t surf. So I had finally found my niche. My greaser guy couldn’t dig it and waited outside Victor’s house to beat him up, and Vic had no time at all for physical violence. Actually, I think he was a celibate, and I wasted all that horny teenage time on him. He certainly taught me a lot though. If it weren’t for Victor, I’d probably do all my shopping at K Mart and have a jerky kid in the first grade with a crew cut. He introduced me to his cousin Captain Beefheart after he decided I might be able to be cool. I met him at the Teenage Fair at the Hollywood Palladium wearing my neato keen baggy corduroy coat (just like the one Victor had) and he told me I was “a gas.” I went out immediately to find out exactly what that was. It’s taken me awhile.

 My poor Bobby tried to win me back by being a groovy hippie. He took tons of acid and flipped out. Once he took a bunch of downers at a dance contest at the local greaser pizza parlor, and he fell on the floor. I couldn’t imagine what was happening as we always won. (I once won some cheapo suntan oil in the winter) I had to pick him up and he drooled on me, confessing that he’d taken reds and I was chagrined. Teenagers are so funny. He had a friend I called Frankie Baloney that my girlfriend jacked off in her backyard. I thought she was terribly fast. I was pretty late starting my sex trip. I rubbed Bobby’s boner over his undies for ages and hardly looked at it before we got down to business. I used to say it looked like a rocket with an eraser on top of it.

Marlon Brando and James Dean on a Hollywood set
Marlon Brando and James Dean on a Hollywood set

Even though I was so close with my best friend in high school at the time, and we even farted for each other on the phone, she’s doing that normal thing I told you that Beefheart spared me from. As soon as I started flipping for the Beatles, she looked down her nose at me, telling me to Grow up. But I really became a pulsing girl when I fell in love with Paul McCartney. I made out with my girlfriend, even though we placed our hands in front of our mouths and pretended they were Ringo’s and Paul’s lips. I was Ringo the same time my friend Linda was Paul. How Skitzo. I had my first orgasms then but didn’t know it at the time. I recall one weekend we spent at my aunt Edna’s house, like in another world, and we really perved off. We fantasized the whole weekend, day and night – she was definitely Paul, and I was positively Ringo. I have a three-hundred-page story that my friend Iva wrote, and my favorite chapters were the ones when the other three Beatles came on to me and I sneaked out on Paul, which shows you where I’m at. I was Beatle berserk, sending Paul an aerogram every day for about a year, and had to eat a Sweet Tart before I fell asleep every night while seeing his face in my mind. I had to write his name down every time I farted or it was bad luck. I carried the list around with me till it was into the thousands until I finally decided it was perverted. Jeez it sounds as if I have a tit and fart complex. Maybe I do.

I made a movie with Ringo Starr about 2 years ago [200 Motels, 1971], and even did my big scene in front of him. He came up to me afterwards, put his arm around me and told me I was a fine actress. I calmly said Oh Thank you! And went back to the dressing room and went wildly ding-dong, remembering BEING him, making out with Linda on Aunt Edna’s patio. It was a dream beyond all dreams, and my whole life seems to be turning out that way.

I hid out behind the Bel Air house where the Beatles stayed on their first US trip in 50 million weeds all night, and John Lennon finally saw me and my Beatlefriends, shoving a big pot of flowers in front of us so we couldn’t watch them swim. Then the cops took us away in a squad car. I know every line of A Hard Day’s Night. My favorite is “I’d be quite prepared for that eventuality.” George said it.

 Dear Marlon,

Tonight I am a bozo, but I must tell you a few things. This year is going to be a stunner. Bright yellow. I’ve seen all the signs.

When my fave Byrd started the band the Flying Burrito Brothers with Gram Parsons, I made him my first cowboy shirt, Merle Haggard came to life, and I wrote my first country song. To impress my teenage dream, I decided to learn to play the fiddle – a good one, given to me by a friend of his – and stuck it in a paper sack and set out to visit my Aunt Margie in Kentucky. I was sure to find some hundred-year old magic fingered genius way down in the toolies who could turn me into the cowgirl of Chris’s heart. I also thought it would impress him that I was going to such a hick place, and I sent him lots of mountainous postcards, saying “Look at me in real true cowboyland!”

I really suppressed my insanity for him. I combed out my ringlets, peeled the sequins off my face and tried to be totally domestic. I had visions of cooking three meals a day, and I still dream about living with him on his ranch, riding around in a pick up truck. Anyway I stuck out my thumb and Hollywood and La Brea to get to Kentucky. We have to start somewhere, right? A couple picked me up who were going all the way to St. Louis, just 2 states away, and I was so elated that it took me awhile to realize that this guy was calling his wife “Silly’ and their swaddled baby never made a sound. I sat in the front seat and Silly and the thing rested on the floor in back where the seat should have been. In a trance about Hillman, I’d wake up to find the guy’s eyes ravaging me while Silly sat cross-eyed behind me cooing to the silent infant. Before we had gotten very far the car konked out, and like a nerd I waited in the boiling sun, sweating so hard I was sticking to the seat while they tried to fix the old klunker, finally getting it running. By the time we reached Arizona, I realized they were insane beyond my compute and got out in Flagstaff. I dumped myself in a four-dollar motel with cactus decals on the end tables and a 2-year-old horse calendar on the wall, relieved to be away from that sicko scene. I had recently learned how to play “What a Friend we Have in Jesus,” and decided to practice a bit, but when I opened my fiddle case, instead of my beautiful instrument, there rested an old white shaving razor. I looked at it for a full minute before I realized what had happened. Those motherfucking bums had weighed down my case with the shaver and had taken my fiddle to a pawn shop! I then spent one of the loneliest nights of my life. The next morning I had the straightest buzz-cut cops on earth take me around to the local pawn shops, dragging my empty case, tears flowing, to no avail. I sold the shaver for 5 bucks, then stuck out my thumb again.

While hitching, I was approached by a fellow who looked just like Gil Hodges, my favorite first baseman in the Dodgers. He asked if we could travel together, but when we reached New Mexico he wanted to stay in a cheesy motel together and “act like man and wife.” Adios, Gil. I was on my own again.

Marlon Brando and James Dean, on the set of "East of Eden"
Marlon Brando and James Dean on the set of “East of Eden”


Dear Marlon,

 My poor old uncle Carl trembles when he talks and grabs my ass in a sweet, lecherous old way. He’s reaching for the moon in his innermost heart. He chews tobacco right here in North Hollywood, spits gross brown juice into a spittoon and plays poker with my dad. His old wrinkly hand brushes against my tit and I just can’t be pissed off. He’s harmless on the outside but he’s being the sexy young guy in his head for that split second. Christmas day my Aunt Edna was giving me a gift of religious greeting cards, and he solemnly grabbed my ass in a Christmas greeting.

I remember when James Dean died. I had my head in my mom’s lap in the car. It was getting dark and we were riding along and the news came on the radio. I sat up and asked her who James Dean was. I became obsessed at that moment. You knew him, right? I know he revered you. So do I. I wonder if you secretly heaved a sigh when he died. He would have been your stiffest competition.

I am a product of the Entertainment TV Media Generation. Lucy was talking about Vita Veeta Vegemin to a zillion people and Ricky was singing Babalu, and it probably changed somebody’s life. I could tell you all the members from the Life of Riley Show from Peg to Junior, and sing every theme song. “Because they’re cousins, identical cousins…” etc. It astounds me what people watch every day, ignoring their own lives. On the Newlywed Game, those morons get up there and tell the Nation how Freda won’t love Leroy anymore unless a. He shaves off his beard.

  1. He cleans out the tub.
  2. hands her his paycheck every Friday.

Miss Christine wrote a nifty little tune for the GTOs album, Permanent Damage: I’m a television baby/My father’s a knob and my other’s a tube/ When I’m sad my horizontal skips/and my vertical dips/ When I’m glad/My brightness meter shouts brightest.

Dear Marlon,

 Here’s a poem I wrote awhile back.

 I will not look up into the sky

Reach out and grasp the sky

To ask what it is


I will not look out into the sea

Walk out and step into the sea

To ask what it is


I will not stare into the sun

Open my eyes wide and gaze into the sun

To ask what it is


I will not look into a tree

Reach out and touch the leaf of a tree

To ask what it is


I will not look into a glass

Take a chance and peer into the glass

To ask what I am.


I’m happy to tell you though, Marlon, that I’m starting to feel a little more fearless these days, and can look right into the damn mirror. Love or fear, right?

Marlon Brando and James Dean, on the set of "East of Eden"
Marlon Brando and James Dean, on the set of “East of Eden”


My dear Marlon

Today is your 48th birthday, and I just have to tell you how grand I feel. It’s such a thrill to be alive when you are aware of the prospects. There is no limit to what we humans can do. I took my first peyote trip yesterday expecting psychedelia, and all that came over me was an exquisite sense of pleasure and unfettered joy. I was with a group of like-minded souls and I’m sure we’ve known each other many times in previous lives. There was no lack of communication, beautiful willowy girls and lovely men all talking on the same level. I know that we are on the same mission, you and me, Marlon. There is a world of hungry people on this planet, and they need us to tell them, to remind them, that there is a way out of the mire they’ve created. No time to wallow in the mire, as my old friend Jim Morrison once shouted out loud. We create our reality and YOU have certainly created one for the books. I only hope we can comingle our energies one day. To look into each others’ eyes, to touch. Especially to touch.


Somehow I wound up with only these few pages of the reams of goofy thoughts I sent to Marlon Brando’s house in the early ‘70s. Little snippets of my life sent to a movie star who moved me, along with several photos of myself, half nude, come-hither all over my face. I can’t even describe how much I wanted his hands on me.

One incredibly drunken night, when I sat alone in the theater, except for a bottle of Kahlua in my lap, I came home from a screening of Last Tango in Paris, picked up the phone as I often did, and spewed to Marlon’s answering machine as usual, oh so horny, still stunned by where you could stick a stick of butter.

As I raved on about his alarmingly brave, steamy performance, I heard a click, and Marlon’s unmistakable voice was speaking my name, “Pamela,” he said, “Don’t hang up.” How did he know that’s exactly what I’d do? Aaaahhhhhh! My poor heart was hammering, and I could barely breathe, but after a few more swigs of syrupy coffee-flavored confidence, I called him back.

I wish I could tell you my pleading, cajoling, and begging him to let me come over RIGHT NOW worked, but oh no, Mr. Brando was in a high-falutin’ cosmic state of mind. My preposterous pleas of lust led to a beautiful speech. “Look to yourself for the answers,” he insisted wisely, adding that all I needed to know was inside of me and couldn’t be found anywhere else, then launched into several anecdotes about the times HE had searched for answers elsewhere only to discover they were already nestled right inside his very own heart. His Marlon freaking Brando I-coulda-been-a-contender-I-coulda-been-somebody heart. We spoke for about an hour, and even though I could feel him almost relenting at one point (maybe he was looking at my half naked photos), he stood firm and said it would be better for me spiritually if we never met. “Remember,” he said finally, “Look to yourself!”


Pamela Des Barres
Pamela Des Barres

Eighteen years later, I was interviewing former nightclub owner, Helena Kallianiotes, about her spectacular stint as the mama hen maven to Hollywood’s elite, when she stopped mid-story, “Wasn’t that the gate?” Hmmmmm.

Helena lived smack dab in the middle of the elite in an enclosed compound on Mulholland Drive, her house sitting in between Jack Nicholson’s and Marlon Brando’s. I knew Jack was out of town filming, so….. could it be?

The screen door opened, and in strode the man who’d shouted “Stella!” in a ripped white tee-shirt that changed men’s fashion forever. Now a few years older, a few pounds heavier, wearing sweats, Marlon Brando stopped in front of me, his head tilted, looking down at me curiously. “Who’s this, Helena? She’s very pretty.” We were introduced and instead of bleating breathlessly like a dunderhead, I peeped out “Pleased to meet you,” and Marlon sat down with us, excitedly telling us about a new joint on Ventura Boulevard that had tasty fat-free ice cream. I was wearing a Jack Kerouac tee, which started a lively literary conversation, and we soon discovered our mutual favorite author was Toni Morrison. As we marveled about the exquisite prose in Beloved, I pondered asking if Marlon remembered the reams of gush and half naked photos that came in the mail, the endless phone messages, and our final Look-to-yourself-for-the-answers phone call. But since I was in the middle of an interview, I decided it wouldn’t be professional to dredge up my youthful, yearning faux pas in front of Helena, so kept my youthful tomfoolery to myself.

letters Pamela Des Barres wrote to Marlon Brando
Letters Pamela Des Barres wrote to Marlon Brando

Marlon was whip-smart, friendly, open, charming, quirky and challenging, just as I’d imagined, his mind still very much on fire. Before he left us, he said, “I’ll bet I can tell you exactly how old you are. Hold out your arm.” I was 42 at this point, but happily didn’t look my age, so when I complied, he grabbed ahold of the flesh on my elbow and yanked on it, counting the seconds until the skin folded back into place. “You’re 42 years old!” he exclaimed, grinning like a kid, and I shook my head in wonder.

It wasn’t exactly what I had swooned, hoped and dreamed about, but I’d finally been touched by Marlon Brando.