Exclusive Interview: “My Father Marlon Brando Died A Broken Man”
Published on: July 4, 2014
Photography by: Getty
Ten years after MARLON BRANDO’s death, his oldest living son MIKO reveals how the Hollywood legend suffered a devastating breakdown in the 1990s and other intimate secrets about the troubled Brando family!
In an exclusive interview with The ENQUIRER, Miko Brando, 53, told how the screen superstar’s spirit was broken when his son Christian killed his daughter Cheyenne’s boyfriend Dag Drollet in 1990 at Marlon’s Mulholland Drive house in Los Angeles.
“My dad was in bad shape,” said Miko. “It was the first time that I really had to take care of him. He always took care of me.”
The “Godfather” Oscar winner – who battled diabetes and once weighed more than 300 pounds – also broke down in court on the witness stand before Christian pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
“What happened not only took Dag’s life but also wrecked Christian’s life and shattered my dad,” said Miko. “I was there for my dad because he needed me to be strong when he couldn’t.”
Miko is Brando’s son with his second wife, Mexican-American actress Movita Castaneda, now 97. He’s one of the late star’s 11 children, a brood that has endured a series of other heartbreaking tragedies, including his sister Cheyenne’s suicide in 1995. Miko also lost his first wife Jiselle in a car accident, and he was shattered by the death of his good friend Michael Jackson.
“He’s still here,” Miko said of Michael’s spirit. “And my dad is, too. He lives on. It’s amazing – two the icons of the 20th century are my closest intimates. And they themselves were best friends.”
Now, Miko is busy with a project that is a tribute to his father. In July, he’s opening The Brando, a resort on Tetiaroa, the stunning Polynesian island Marlon bought more than 50 years ago after starring in “Mutiny on the Bounty.” He not only fell in love with the South Pacific but also with his beautiful co-star Tarita, who became his third wife.
“This project has been in the works for a long time,” said Miko. “We’re going to have the opening on July 1. Tetiaroa is still in the family, but now we’ve created a hotel so others can come here.”
Managed by his dad’s friend Richard Bailey, the resort is solar-powered and green-certified.
“This makes a lot of sense, since it’s hard to get utilities in the middle of the Pacific Ocean,” said Miko. “Guests can fly right onto the island. My dad built an airstrip on Tetiaroa long ago because, growing up, we always used to go over by boat. But the seas could be brutal, and the waves so huge you would get sick. The Brando resort is 12 islands in a lagoon surrounded by a coral reef. The hotel consists of about 35 bungalows on one island, all on the beach. It’s breathtaking. There’s no place like it on earth. And the resort doesn’t interfere with any of our private family places on the island. We still retain all of that. We all have a lot of good memories from there.”
But Miko is also plagued by bad memories, like the tragic day in 1995 when he got word that young mom Cheyenne had hanged herself in Tahiti.
“I was on a boat in Hawaii in the middle of the ocean when I heard. I didn’t believe it,” he said. “Tarita raised Cheyenne’s baby son Tuki and did a good job. He’s in France right now, studying to be a doctor. He’s a model, too. I’m very proud of him.”
And he has bittersweet feelings about his father’s death on July 1, 2004.
“When my dad died, it really brought us all closer together,” he said. “Without him, we hold each other even tighter.
“But hard things continued. My brother Christian died in 2008 at age 49. He was fragile and I guess he just couldn’t make it. I miss him.”
Then, on June 25, 2009, 50-year-old Jackson died.
“Michael’s death was a terrible personal loss for me,” said Miko, who was not only a close friend but also served as the King of Pop’s bodyguard. “We were in the middle of getting ready to go on tour. I was at all the rehearsals and was with him that last day. When we were both leaving, we hugged, and he said, ‘Love you, see you tomorrow.’ Those were the last words he said to me.
“When I heard the news the next day, I went numb. I’m still numb. I think I’ll be numb forever about that.”
Miko also endured the agony of losing his wife Jiselle when their son Shane was a baby. But he found love again with his childhood sweetheart Karen and married her at Neverland ranch, with Michael serving as their best man.
AND Shane, now grown, is following in the footsteps of his grandfather. ess she appeared in “Shane chose to go into acting and he loves it,” said Miko. “He’s doing great work on stage. We’re proud of him.”
Miko also raves about his and florist Karen’s daughter Prudence, who’s “a special girl, a leader” and now in college.
Despite Miko’s parents splitting when he was just a baby, he said: “My father loved to have fun, loved to laugh, loved to tell jokes. He never said a bad thing about anyone, and that’s how we were taught and raised. He wanted us happy and healthy, and he gave us a lot of love. It’s how I live now with my own family.”