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Tetiaroa Island Marlon Brando

The filming of Mutiny on the Bounty changed Marlon Brando’s life. After he fell in love with Tahiti and its people, he bought the 12 island atoll of Tetiaroa and married a Tahitian woman.

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Brando lived on his South Pacific island on and off, when the spotlight got too bright. Brando was often bothered by all the attention that came with celebrity. On Tetiaroa, Brandon felt he could be himself. Tetiaroa is a Polynesian word meaning “who stands apart” or “keeps its distance”. At various times he talked of plans to develop a resort on the island, but the enormous costs involved made it financially impossible for him to carry through on his ideas.

Brando’s best known onscreen role is probably the Godfather. Critics consider his portrayal of crime boss Vito Corleone among Brando’s greatest performances. The Godfather was the most commercially successful film of all time when it was released, earning Brando his second academy award. Brando was notorious for his mumbling and raw animal magnetism. Most agree that Brando was one of the best actors of the 20th century.

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The Brando Hotel

Nearly a decade after his death, Marlon Brando’s eight children are building an eco-resort on the Tetiaroa atoll, with a luxury hotel called “The Brando”. Brando’s family and friends believe the environmentally sensitive complex is aligned with Brando’s wishes for his beloved atoll. Before his death in 2004, Brando entertained the idea of building a hotel on the blue lagoon and white sand of the atoll. He saw the potential of exploiting solar and wind power to realize his dream, such as an air conditioning system powered by ocean water. He also wanted to create a nursery for sea turtles drawing scientists from around the world.

With construction of The Brando now underway, plans include 47 villas and revolutionary green technology. The development is also investing in ecological and marine research. The Brando resort is slated to open in 2013. Development has been slow going because the island lacks infrastructure like power, gas and water. The air strip has been rebuilt to meet official regulations.

Site of The Brando Resort