Brando Scores Despite Being Absent

07/13/2001 AT 05:03 PM EDT

Marlon Brando wasn't there, but he's hardly ever attended a movie premiere in his half-century in Hollywood. So "The Score," the legend's latest, had to be kicked off without him at its Manhattan debut Wednesday night, reports PEOPLE. Then again, his costars, Robert De Niro and Edward Norton, weren't there, either. But the heist caper's Angela Bassett was, as were tycoon Donald Trump, Salvatore Pastore (of "The Sopranos") and respected actress Cicely Tyson, 67, who called it "the most suspenseful movie I have ever seen." Pastore, who played Big Pussy on the HBO mob series, told PEOPLE, "I don't know who was better, De Niro, Norton or Brando." The movie's director, Frank Oz, 57, couldn't say, either. As a matter of fact, Oz admitted to a kind of amnesia when it comes to working on movies. ("The Score" is his 10th.) "I'm so focused on what I'm doing," he says, "I have no memory of anything else." Still, those who do wish to see Brando in the considerable flesh may have their chance. The Associated Press reports that the icon, 77, will make a special presentation to Michael Jackson at a Sept. 7 tribute concert at Madison Square Garden. Brando and Jackson have been friends for more than 20 years, event organizers said.

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