Family and friends are mourning the loss of Sacheen Littlefeather.
The Native American activist and actress, who famously declined an Oscar win on behalf of actor Marlon Brando at the 1973 Academy Awards, has died at the age of 75. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences shared the news to their official Twitter account on Oct. 2.
Nearly 50 years ago to date, Littlefeather, born Marie Cruz, took to the stage to deliver a speech at the 1973 Academy Awards, rejecting an Oscar win on behalf of Brando. The actor, who won Best Actor for his role in The Godfather, boycotted the ceremony in protest of Hollywood’s portrayal of Native Americans onscreen.
Although her speech (an eight-page speech typed by the actor) was met a mix of boos and applause from the in-person audience, Littlefeather faced backlash and career decline in the show’s aftermath. Earlier this year, the Academy issued a public apology to the actress.