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Marlon Brando, the Womanizer - Stories Behind The Screen
158    Dibyendu Banerjee    15/08/2022

Marlon Brando, considered one of the most handsome and influential actors of the 20th century, was the product of an unhappy family life. Both his parents were alcoholics and added to it, his father was hypercritical and abusive. On the other side of the coin, his mother was unconventional for her time, who smoked, wore pants and drove cars. Brando and his two elder sisters often had to bring back their drunk mother from the local bars. Brando grew up with a bad boy image, who challenged authority, declined to play by the rules and defied expectations. With his incomparable acting talent, he was firmly in the public eye for decades, but was reclusive and mysterious, although he did let the public have a glimpse of his private life in his autobiography.

marlon brando the womanizer

Known as a womaniser, Marlon Brando was infamous for his romantic exploits. He had a huge sexual appetite, habituated of having more than one lover at a time and slept with countless female and male co-stars. His long-time secretary Alice Marchak remembered seeing a woman in his bed with whom he spent the night and getting dressed in the morning for his wedding to Anna Kashfi, whom he married in 1957.

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However, although he kept meticulous notes on all his female conquests, he never wrote down the details of his secret meetings with men, the list of which is believed to contain the names of huge stars like James Dean, Cary Grant and Rock Hudson. Nevertheless, he told a French journalist in 1976, that he had homosexual experiences and he was not ashamed of that, as he never paid much attention to what people thought about him. While he bedded some of the greatest sex symbols of all time like Marilyn Monroe, Grace Kelly, Marlene Dietrich and hundreds more, he was also very particular about his likings and disliking. He clearly revealed his reasons for turning down some famous big screen beauties like Vivian Leigh, due to his respect for Laurence Olivier. He appeared with Elizabeth Taylor in Reflections in a Golden Eye (1967), but did not indent to sleep with her, as her ass was too small. He also did not toy with the idea of having sex with the voluptuous bombshell Sophia Loren while they were making A Countess From Hong Kong, because her breath was worse than that of a dinosaur and has long hairs growing out of her nose.

marlon brando the womanizer
The eight-year-old Marlon with his mother

Brando’s incessant hunger for sex was probably deep rooted in his addictive attachment to Ermi, his young Danish-Indonesian childhood caretaker, who used to sleep naked with her young charge. Much later he confessed that he was obsessed with her, as he kept looking at her undulating naked body, fondling her ample breasts, arranged himself on her and crawled over her. During those days he liked to believe that Ermi only belonged to him and him alone. Later he also confessed that probably they would have married later, if she knew of his blinding love for her.

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It was she, who shaped young Brando's taste for brunettes and women of Asian, East Indian, Hispanic, black or Jewish descent. When Ermi left the family after three years, Brando was devastated and could never form any lasting attachments. For a long time, it seemed the sexually fluid heartthrob would never settle down and even after he did, he did not excel at marital faithfulness. He wrote later that since the day Ermi left their household, he became estranged from the world and spent the rest of his life trying to find her.

marlon brando the womanizer
Reiko Sato

It is difficult to keep a chronological account of Brando's personal life, as he had the habit of being involved with several persons, both men and women, at the same time to satisfy his physical need. Sometime during the early 1950s, Marlon Brando met Reiko Sato, an American dancer of Japanese origin. While receiving personal coaching from him, they became involved in an affair and their relationship was even publicised by Dorothy Kilgallen, an American columnist, in June 1954. Although their romance ultimately cooled, the two remained close friends and companions till she died in her sleep at age 49 in Los Angeles from an aneurysm. Her body is discovered by Brando, who flew from California to find the reason for her not answering his calls for some days.

marlon brando the womanizer
Katy Jurado and Brando

However, while he was deeply involved with Sato, he was captivated by the enigmatic black eyes, pointing like fiery arrows of the Mexican beauty Katy Jurado in the 1952 American Western film High Noon. They met in the same year while filming Viva Zaptal in Mexico and their first date became the beginning of a prolonged affair that lasted many years and peaked while working together on One-Eyed Jacks in 1960, a film directed by Brando.

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Nevertheless, during that period he was also involved with Movita Castaneda, whom he met on a movie set in the early1950s, and was having a parallel relationship with Rita Moreno, whom he met in 1954. Strangely, during his affair with Moreno, Brando was married for two years to his first wife, Welsh actress Anna Kashfi.

marlon brando the womanizer
Rita Moreno

Brando spotted 22-year-old Rita Moreno on the cover of Life Magazine in 1954 and was immediately taken with the Latin beauty, who was just starting out in Hollywood, while he was seven years older than her and was already an established Hollywood star. In the same year, she was asked to visit Marlon on the set of his new film Désirée and later she admitted that although she had never thought about Marlon Brando, the moment she stepped into his dressing room and he looked at her, something terrible had happened inside her as she felt her body temperature skyrocket. As usual, Brando pursued her over the telephone and after their first date, they started to spend all their free time together, full of passionate fiery. However, Brando obsessively pursued women and although he was branded by many as a sex addict, he attributed this compulsion to the long term effect of being deserted by both his mother and nanny as a child. It made him unable to trust women and he drastically destroyed relationships before they could get a chance to destroy him. His inability to be faithful created an on-again, off-again relationship with Rita, which lasted eight years and during that time Marlon married two other women and had children with them.

marlon brando the womanizer
With Anna Kashfi

Despite his deep involvement with Rita Moreno, a Puerto Rican actress, dancer and singer, Brando married Calcutta born Welsh actress Anna Kashfi on 11 October 1957. Although known as the daughter of William O'Callaghan, a superintendent on the Indian State Railways and his Welsh wife Phoebe, Anna Kashfi claimed in her book Brando for Breakfast that she was half Indian as her biological father was Indian. William was her stepfather and that she was the result of an unregistered alliance between her parents. She also remarked that she was always aware that Brando preferred Rita Moreno over her. However, she had a son with Brando, Christian Brando on 11 May 1958, before they divorced on 22 April 1959.

marlon brando the womanizer
Movita Castaneda

Within a year of the divorce, Brando married Motiva Castaneda, an American of Mexican descent, eight years older than him, in 1960. However, the marriage was not publicly disclosed, until 1968, when she won an annulment from Brando and the newspapers announced the end of their eight-year marriage, which ended as it began mysteriously. But between the beginning and the end, the couple had two children together, a boy and a girl.

marlon brando the womanizer
With Rita Moreno in The Night Of The Following Day

Even then, Marlon and Rita always came back to each other. Rita later admitted that winning him back over and over again became a thrill for her and a proven way to win back Marlon was to make him jealous. That is why she even dated Elvis Presley because she knew it would drive Marlon crazy. But things reached the peak when, after all those years of this irregular and intermittent relationship, Rita became pregnant and she thought that this time Marlon would marry her and they could be a family. However, to her utter surprise and disbelief, Marlon was stern and arranged for an abortion, not even picked her up after it was done, but sent a friend to do it. As luck would have it, the abortion was not properly done and Rita had to be rushed to the hospital again. What hurt Rita even more, was that her lover’s only repercussion in the matter was that he wanted the money back from the abortionist.

marlon brando the womanizer

After the incident, Brando fell for his co-star, the 19-year-old Polynesian beauty Tarita Teriipia, while filming Mutiny on the Bounty in Tahiti and began a relationship. However, immediately after his return to Hollywood, he called Rita to come over. Rita could not turn down his call, but while waiting for him in his house, she felt deep pangs and humiliation of the past eight years, hated herself for putting up with him and running back to him time and again, but she could not stand the idea of being without him. After spending the night with Marlon, she took a handful of his sleeping pills in the morning, to be discovered by one of the men of Brando, just in time. After surviving the attempt, the therapist begged Rita Moreno never to see Brando again, because it would kill her and accordingly, she made her sharpest turn back, which Brando had never witnessed before. However, Marlon had been an obsession for Moreno and it took a long time for her to heal. They did not see or speak to each other for two years. By that time, Brando married Tarita in 1962, while in 1965 Rita married cardiologist Leonard Gordon. Nevertheless, although Teriipia agreed to marry Brando in 1962 and eventually gave birth to Rebecca, Simon and Cheyenne, Brando reportedly needed six months to seduce her, as she thought he was a bad man. Subsequently, Brando and Rita reunited in 1968, when Brando requested Rita to co-star as his lover in The Night of the Following Day. Rita later confessed that on the first day of their meeting on the set, she felt the familiar heat flush through her body, which made her embarrassed. Filming was not completed without complications and troubles, especially the fight scene between the two in bed was not scripted. However, eventually, they became friends and always kept in touch.

marlon brando the womanizer
Jill Banner

Brando also had a long-term unbridled relationship with actress Jill Banner throughout the late 1960s and into the early 1980s. Through the 1970s, he romanced half a dozen women, including Yachio Tsubaki, the daughter of a Zen master. Since 1988, Brando was involved in a long-term relationship for 14 years with his Guatemalan housekeeper Maria Cristina Ruiz, with whom he had three children: Although Brando bought her a $450,000 home and a Mercedes, she filed a $100 million palimony lawsuit against him in 2002, which was settled. Even, after Brando's death, the daughter of actress Cynthia Lynn claimed that her mother had a short-lived affair with Brando, while they were working together in Bedtime Story (1964) and their affair resulted in her birth. Author and actress Jackie Collins claimed she had a very brief but fabulous affair with Brando in the early ‘50s, which caused some turbulence between Collins and her older sister, Joan, who was also rumoured to have had a relationship with Brando. While he was credited with nine children, biographer Peter Manso believes Brando may have left as many as 15 children and also paid for numerous abortions.

marlon brando the womanizer
Ingrid Bergman and Her Lovers Jodie Foster, the Lion and the Lovers
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Author Details
Dibyendu Banerjee
Ex student of Scottish Church College. Served a Nationalised Bank for nearly 35 years. Authored novels in Bengali. Translated into Bengali novels/short stories of Leo Tolstoy, Eric Maria Remarque, D.H.Lawrence, Harold Robbins, Guy de Maupassant, Somerset Maugham and others. Also compiled collections of short stories from Africa and Third World. Interested in literature, history, music, sports and international films.
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