Saturday, January 26, 2008

Christian Brando, Son of Marlon Brando, Dies at 49

Christian Brando, eldest son of the legendary actor Marlon Brando, died of pneumonia on Saturday at the age of 49. His ex-wife said he had been in a hospital since January 11 with pneumonia, and that he had been comatose and on a respirator.

Christian Brando gained notoriety in 1990 when he killed Dag Drollet, the boyfriend of his half-sister Cheyenne Brando, when Cheyenne told Christian that Drollet had been beating her.

The trial made headlines around the world, especially when Marlon Brando pleaded with tears in his eyes for leniency for his son. Christian Brando was sentenced to 10 years in prison but was released after five years. He claimed he didn't mean to shoot Drollet, and that the gun went off accidentally when he and Drollet were struggling.

In another Brando familiy tragedy, Cheyenne Brando hung herself in 1995. She was 25.

Marlon Brando was one of the most acclaimed actors of all time, appearing in many iconic roles in classic films from "A Streetcar Named Desire" in 1951 to "On the Waterfront," "The Godfather," and "Mutiny on the Bounty," He also appeared in "Superman." Marlon Brando died at the age of 80 in 2004.

In a twist related to another celebrity murder trial, Christian Brando once dated Bonnie Lee Blakely, later the wife of actor Robert Blake. Blake's defense suggested at one point that Brando could have been the murderer, but Brando was cleared of any involvement in that crime.

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