Movita Castaneda, Actress and Wife of Marlon Brando, Dies at 98

Maria "Movita" Castaneda 1930 - P 2015
Courtesy Everett Collection

Maria "Movita" Castaneda 1930 - P 2015

She appeared in the original 'Mutiny on the Bounty,' as well as in 'Fort Apache,' 'Girl From Rio' and 'Knots Landing.'

Actress Movita Castaneda — the second of Marlon Brando’s three wives, who appeared in such films as Mutiny on the Bounty opposite Clark Gable and Fort Apache with John Wayne — has died. She was believed to be 98.

Castaneda died Thursday in a Los Angeles rehabilitation center after suffering a neck injury, a family friend told the Los Angeles Times

Castaneda played Tehani, a beautiful Tahitian who marries one of the insurgent sailors, in the 1935 version of Mutiny on the Bounty. The film was remade in 1962 with Brando, then Castaneda’s husband, playing the Gable role of Fletcher Christian.

In the remake, Bora Bora native Tarita Teriipaia portrayed Brando’s Tahitian lover, and those two would wed in 1962.

Castaneda and Brando met on a movie set in the early 1950s, and they did not publicly disclose their marriage until the actor was asked about it in court, the Times reported. In 1968, she won an annulment from Brando, with the newspaper writing that the “eight-year marriage … has ended as it began: mysteriously.”

The couple had a son, Sergio (known as Miko, he became a close friend of Michael Jackson), and a daughter, Rebecca. Brando’s marriage to Teriipaia lasted until 1972, and he died in July 2004.

Maria Luisa Castaneda, whose parents were from Mexico, was raised in Los Angeles. There is some debate as to what year she was born.

MGM executives gave her the stage name of Movita, and she starred in such films as Captain Calamity (1936), Paradise Isle (1937), The Hurricane (1937), Rose of the Rio Grande (1938), Girl From Rio (1939), The Mysterious Desperado (1949), The Furies (1950) and Dream Wife (1953).

She played Abby Ewing’s (Donna Mills) maid Ana in several episodes of the 1980s CBS primetime soap opera Knots Landing

Castaneda also was married to Irish boxer and singer Jack Doyle from 1939-44.

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