Brando's Biography (Part 4: Personal Life)

Brando became known as much for his crusades for civil rights, Native American rights and other political causes as he was for his acting. He also earned a "bad boy" reputation for his public outbursts and antics. In June 1973, Brando broke paparazzo Ron Galella's jaw. His hand became infected as a result. In the following year, Galella wore a football helmet when snapping photos of Brando.

In Songs My Mother Taught Me, Brando claimed he met Marilyn Monroe at a party as she played piano, unnoticed by anybody else there, and they started an affair that lasted many years until her death, receiving a telephone call from her several days before she died. He also claimed numerous other romances, although he did not discuss his marriages, his wives, or his children in his autobiography.

He married actress Anna Kashfi in 1957. Kashfi was born in Calcutta and moved to Wales at the end of British rule in India in 1947. She is said to have been the daughter of a Welsh steel worker of Irish descent, William O'Callaghan, who had been superintendent on the Indian State railways. However, in her book, Brando for Breakfast, she claimed that she really is half Indian and that the press incorrectly thought that her stepfather, O'Callaghan, was her real father. She said her real father was Indian and that she was the result of an "unregistered alliance" between her parents. Others present during the Brando-Kashfi relationship, however, claimed that Kashfi merely convinced Brando she was part Indian, having learned of his attraction to exotic women. In 1959, Brando and Kashfi divorced following the birth of their son, Christian Brando, on May 11, 1958.

In 1960, Brando married Movita Castaneda, a Mexican actress seven years his senior; they were divorced in 1962. Castaneda had appeared in the first Mutiny on the Bounty film in 1935, some twenty-seven years before the 1962 remake with Brando as Fletcher Christian. Brando's behavior during the filming of Bounty seemed to bolster his reputation as a difficult star. He was blamed for a change in director and a runaway budget, though he disclaimed responsibility for either.

The Bounty experience affected Brando's life in a profound way. He fell in love with Tahiti and its people. He bought a twelve island atoll, Tetiaroa, which he intended to make part environmental laboratory and part resort. Tahitian beauty Tarita Teriipia, who played Fletcher Christian's love interest, became Brando's third wife on August 10, 1962. At just 20 years old, Tarita was 18 years younger than Brando. A 1961 article on Teriipia in the fan magazine Motion Picture described Brando's delight at how naïve and unsophisticated she was. Teriipia became the mother of two of his children. They divorced in July 1972. Brando eventually had a hotel built on Tetiaroa. It went through many redesigns due to changes demanded by Brando over the years, but is now closed. A new hotel consisting of thirty deluxe villas is due to open in 2008.

Due to his third wife Tarita Teriipia being a French speaker, Brando became fluent in French and gave numerous interviews in French.

No comments: