The Oscars academy has apologised to a Native American actress who famously took to the stage for Marlon Brando when he won the best actor award in 1973.

Brando sent Sacheen Littlefeather in his place as a protest against the treatment and stereotypical portrayal of Native Americans by the film industry. 

Littlefeather refused to accept the statuette from Roger Moore and was booed by some in the audience after her speech - although there was also clapping. 

The Academy of Motion Pictures has now apologised and acknowledged that it led to her being "professionally boycotted, personally attacked and harassed, against for the last 50 years". 

The academy's president, David Rubin, offered his "deepest apologies and sincere admiration". In an open letter to the 75-year-old, he praised her courage. 

In an open letter to the 75-year-old, he praised her courage and said the abuse she has suffered was "unwarranted and unjustified".