Marlon Brando: Remembering the Legendary Actor With Tumultuous Life Story

THE WILD ONE, Marlon Brando, 1954
Everett Collection

Hollywood legend Marlon Brando was known as much for his incredible acting as his very tumultuous personal life.

Born to two alcoholics and shipped off to military school at 16, which he then got kicked out of, Brando’s upbringing was not an easy one. Who knew that a decision to join his sisters in New York would result in the creation of one of the greatest actors of the century? Under the wing of Stella Adler, Brando learned how to become a performer and was soon cast in the Oscar-winning classic A Streetcar Named Desire. It was only his second film and earned him his first of many Oscar nominations. More would come soon, though he only won for On the Waterfront and The Godfather, possibly his most memorable role to date, although Brando refused to accept the Oscar due to American treatment of Native Americans.

There is no question of Brando’s historic talent; however, he was known to be difficult to work with and had many public outbursts. He also kept journalism alive singlehandedly with the amount of personal drama that would constantly surround him.

In addition to having married three times, Brando admitted to many, many affairs throughout his life, with both men and women, including one with his housekeeper, with whom he had three children; Marilyn Monroe; and an on-again, off-again romance with actress Rita Moreno. Brando fathered 11 total children — though biographers believe there are likely more — none of whom he seemed to spend much time with.

072316 01: Mug shot of Christian Brando, the son of Marlon Brando, after being arrested in Los Angeles, CA, May 17, 1990.


In 1990, one of his children, Christian Brando, shot the boyfriend of his half-sister Cheyenne Brando at one of Brando’s properties. Christian also may have been involved in the murder of Robert Blake’s wife, who he’d had a relationship with prior to her death. (What? Quite the tangled web here!) For the death of Cheyenne’s boyfriend, who was also the father of her only son, Christian went to prison for five years. Cheyenne’s mental health had devolved so dramatically by the time this went to trial, she was deemed incapable of testifying, and as she had been the only witness to the murder they cut a deal. Christian got out in 1995, returning to a life of drinking and drug addiction, a problem he shared with Cheyenne. Cheyenne took her own life in 1995, only a few years after giving birth to her son, Tuki, who would also become a model. In 2005, Christian was charged with spousal abuse and died three years later from pneumonia.

Hopefully the other children have fared better!

Classic Hollywood Hunks
Want More?

Classic Hollywood Hunks

September 2019

Cary Grant, Sean Connery, Rock Hudson and Paul Newman, smoldered onscreen and, in addition to being smokin’ hot, they were effortlessly cool.

Buy This Issue