Marlon Brando and the family tragedy that marked his decline in Hollywood and led him to die in poverty

Marlon Brandothe man who ended up being considered by the magazine Time as “the best actor of the century” he died in 2004 and is gone a great legacy behind him. The Godfather (1972), Apocalypses now (1979), rebellion on board (1962) and The last tango in Paris (1972) are some of the hit titles that had him in their marquee. No matter how much time passes or which actors emerge, the one who introduced a method and won two Oscars will not be forgotten. However, behind its history of fame, awards and set designs hides a tough childhood, a complex family drama and a lonely ending that few imagined it would have.

Brando He had a difficult childhood. His mother suffered from bipolar disorder and the actor’s childhood is not summed up in good memories and joys. There are several testimony books of his biography and many agree that the woman too they have been physically abused by their partners in the presence of his son. When he was 17, Marlon was expelled from the Shattuck Military Academy and decided to join Stella Adler’s theater company, despite the discontent and even the fury of his father.

On more than one occasion Brando has assured that his childhood was marked by a dysfunctional and violent home
On more than one occasion Brando has assured that his childhood was marked by a dysfunctional and violent homeArchive

This is how, despite everything, he made his debut in the cinema in 1950 and only a year later his name appears in an important film: A tram called desire. To talk about his acting successes is to repeat something that is evidenced by the story. But what is most surprising in the film industry and the fans she has garnered throughout her career it is the difficult end who had his life. After crossing difficult years with her children and facing painful losses, she died with a single possession: a paradise island.

Marlon Brando in one of his most memorable roles: Vito Corleone in The Godfather
Marlon Brando in one of his most memorable roles: Vito Corleone in The Godfather

In 1990 Brando had already participated 34 Hollywood productions, He had two Oscars two Golden Globes, three BAFTAs and awards at the Cannes and Tokyo film festivals. In other words, his name spoke for itself and he had quite a public reputation and life. He was married three times and as a result of those marriages he had 11 children. In the midst of its consecration in the entertainment world, His family lived through a tragic episode that marked him forever and which, it is said, he was unable to overcome.

On May 16 of that year his son-in-law Drag Dollet (partner of his daughter Cheyenne) was murdered. The one who ended the man’s life was none other than Christian, Marlon’s eldest son. According to what was said at the time, he would have done it to defend his sister from a beating.

Marlon Brando with eldest son, Christian (Photo: Twitter / @ DrBuzz_Forensic)
Marlon Brando with eldest son, Christian (Photo: Twitter / @ DrBuzz_Forensic)

The trial for the crime tormented the clan for a long time and it was even said that the actor was complicit in the incident. However, the author confessed and was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Marlon Brando joins a su hijo Christian.  Photo by Barry King / Alamy Photo
Marlon Brando joins a su hijo Christian. Photo by Barry King / Alamy PhotoGrosby Group

With Christian in prison and a very complicated situation, Brando also had to deal with to several suicide attempts by his daughter. Unfortunately in 1995, and just as the authorities were soon to release their firstborn for “good behavior”, Cheyenne He ended his life by hanging himself in his home in Tahiti.. I was 25 years old. Aware of this, the actor He was rushed to a Los Angeles hospital. where he remained hospitalized for several days.

Cheyenne Brando died at the age of 25
Cheyenne Brando died at the age of 25

The episode of his children marked Brando’s life and left a wound that has never healed. He barely managed to end his acting career. From 1995 until his retirement in 2001 she participated in Just six productions and lent his voice so that, in 2006, they launched The Godfather: The Video Game. In his later years, despite all the money he got for his cards, he lived on social security, on the verge of misery and in full austerity.

Bernardo Bertolucci, Marlon Brando and Maria Schneider on the set of Last Tango in Paris
Bernardo Bertolucci, Marlon Brando and Maria Schneider on the set of Last Tango in ParisArchive

It was barely enough to pay for a room and consume basic necessities. His physical condition worsened, he began to withdraw from his family, friends and acquaintances and he ended his days in Los Angeles, the city that saw him become one of the greatest.

According to Patricia Ruiz’s book, Brando in the twilight, the actor even had overdue debts $ 20 millionsome of which were the product of the legal battle waged in 1990.

“He lived alone in a one-bedroom house called Frangipani on Mulholland Drive. It was a claustrophobic place, with a couple of curtains and some shabby furniture. ” described the portal The world on the details of the author’s publication.

The actor's final days were spent in isolation, in poor health and overweight;  he died in 2004 of pulmonary fibrosis
The actor’s last days were spent in isolation, in poor health and overweight; he died in 2004 of pulmonary fibrosis

Despite the cumbersome debts and the life far from the luxury she has always chosen, they were there a possession that never came away. When Brando participated in the filming of rebellion on board (1962) fell in love with French Polynesia and decided to buy an island which, according to rumors, it cost him $ 200,000. The place was undoubtedly a tropical paradise for him who enjoyed himself when he was away from Hollywood.

Until 2004, the island of Tetiaroa, located 60 kilometers from Tahiti and made up of a dozen islets, served as an ecological reserve and also as a refuge. “I can’t put into words the beauty of this place,” she insisted at all times. Nobody understands why he didn’t sell it when he was drowning in debt. On his death, the area remained in the hands of his son Simon Teihotu who – together with the company – transformed it into a luxurious resort open to tourism. In homage to his father, he called him The Brando.

Brando, the paradise island that Marlon Brando never wanted to sell
Brando, the paradise island that Marlon Brando never wanted to sellBBC

Without a doubt, Marlon Brando’s career will always speak for itself. From a difficult childhood and even more complex last days, his legacy lives on. His children, the island and his remembered films will always make the actor alive, no matter how much time passes.

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