Patricia Bosworth, Marlon Brando Biographer and Former Actress, Dies at 86

Bosworth acted alongside Audrey Hepburn in “The Nun’s Story” and had a second act writing best-selling celebrity bios

Patricia Bosworth
Photo credit: Getty Images

Actress Patricia Bosworth, who later chronicled Hollywood’s Golden Age and wrote a bestselling biography of Marlon Brando, died Thursday of coronavirus complications. She was 86. Bosworth’s death was announced by the Actors Studio, of which she was a longtime member and board member.

Bosworth acted alongside Audrey Hepburn in “The Nun’s Story” and had a second act writing bestselling celebrity bios. In addition to covering Brando’s life, Bosworth also wrote bestselling biographies about Montgomery Clift, Jane Fonda and Diane Arbus, for whom she had modeled in a Greyhound bus advertisement earlier in her career.

“Patti was more than a great writer. She was an inspiration and a pillar of support to so many wonderful people. And she was so dear to me,” her friend Ray Leslee wrote on Facebook. “She was the youngest and most vibrant 86-year-old I know. I last spoke to her on March 10th. She had just returned from a week’s travels, researching for her new book about Paul Robeson…The deadly virus came on very quickly and she’s gone.”

Born Patricia Chum in Oakland, California, Bosworth moved to New York as a teenager with her family and began modeling after graduating Sarah Lawrence College. Bosworth then studied acting under Lee Strasberg at the Actors Studio alongside Paul Newman, Marilyn Monroe, Steve McQueen and Jane Fonda. Bosworth later acted on Broadway and in television shows including “The Patty Duke Show” and “Naked City.”

Bosworth gave up acting in the 1960s to focus on journalism and wrote features for The New York Times and New York Magazine. She later became senior editor of McCall’s and managing editor of Harper’s Bazaar.

Bosworth’s most recent book was the memoir “The Men in My Life: A Memoir of Love and Art in 1950s Manhattan.”

Bosworth was predeceased by husbands Mel Arrighi and Tom Palumbo. She had no children.