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This story first appeared in the August 3 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
Beginning in late 2013, visitors to Tahiti can loll about on Marlon Brando‘s former private island when a luxury eco-resort called The Brando opens there. The late actor fell in love with the South Pacific country — and his third wife, French Polynesian actress Tarita Teriipia — after shooting 1962’s Mutiny on the Bounty there.
Three years later, he purchased a 12-island atoll called Tetiaroa 20 miles north of the main island of Tahiti that would prove to be a sanctuary for him for three decades. He and Teriipia even opened a hotel on one of the islands. But after tragedy struck in 1990 when his son Christian killed Dag Drollet, the boyfriend of Brando’s daughter Cheyenne (who five years later committed suicide in Tahiti), Brando never returned to his beloved spot.
And when Brando died in 2004, his executors, who included producer Mike Medavoy, gave permission to build a hotel to a Tahitian developer, Richard Bailey, who had discussed creating an eco-sensitive resort on Tetiaroa with Brando. It’s not been without controversy. When it was first announced in the mid-2000s, some friends of Brando’s decried the project as something he would never have wanted.
Nonetheless, it was approved by his heirs, who sold an initial interest in the atoll to Bailey for $2 million and will profit from yearly rent and a cut of proceeds. The goal of the resort is that its energy needs be 100 percent renewable (via solar, deep ocean-water cooling and coconut oil biofuel) and that the 35 villas be set back from the beach — not situated over the water — in accordance with the star’s wishes.
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