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Sunday, January 27, 2008

Christian Brando has died at 49

Christian Brando, the troubled eldest son of the late actor Marlon Brando, died from pneumonia on Saturday morning at Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center in Los Angeles. He was 49. He had been admitted to the hospital on January 11th.

Born on May 11, 1958, Brando was a high school dropout and never had much of a career. He had small roles in a handful of movies, including 1968's "I Love You, Alice B. Toklas!" but he was better known for his brushes with the law.

He spent five years in prison after pleading guilty to manslaughter in 1990 for killing his sister's boyfriend, Dag Drollet, at the Brando family's hilltop estate. Brando said he accidentally shot Drollet as they struggled for a gun during an argument over whether Drollet, 26, had beaten Brando's pregnant half-sister, Cheyenne.

Cheyenne, who later gave birth to Drollet's son but lost custody of the child, committed suicide in 1995. She was 25. Family associates said she had been distraught since her boyfriend's death. In a 1991 interview with the Los Angeles Times, Brando said he never intended to kill Drollet, but wanted to scare him. "I just sat there and watched the life go out of this guy," Brando said.

At his son's trial, Marlon Brando pleaded for leniency, telling the court: "I think that perhaps I failed as a father."

Brando's ex-wife, Deborah Brando, sued him for domestic violence in 2005. She claimed that shortly after their 2004 marriage, Brando repeatedly beat her and threatened to kill her in the presence of her teenage daughter. Brando countersued, alleging that his ex-wife broke into his home and beat him because he wanted to annul their marriage only 10 weeks after exchanging vows. The lawsuits were settled last year on undisclosed terms.

Brando was charged January 2005 with two counts of spousal abuse and he later pleaded no contest. He was placed on three years' probation and ordered to drug and alcohol rehabilitation as well as a spousal-abuse prevention program.

Brando also was the one-time lover of Bonnie Lee Bakley, who was shot to death in 2001. At one time, Bakley claimed Brando had fathered her child but tests showed it belonged to actor Robert Blake, whom she later married. Blake was tried for her murder and acquitted but later ordered to pay $30 million in a wrongful death lawsuit. During that civil case, Blake's lawyer suggested Brando was the killer, although police never implicated him.

Brando, who had denied any involvement, invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination on the stand during the trial.

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2 Comments:

Blogger Hill said...

Marlon Brando pleaded for leniency, telling the court: "I think that perhaps I failed as a father."

Ya think?!?

This family defined "dysfunctional."

:)

title="comment permalink">January 28, 2008 12:12 AM  
Blogger John Good said...

*I* was wondering just exactly how many 40-somethings in southern California die from pneumonia. . .

title="comment permalink">January 28, 2008 7:54 PM  

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