• Tarita Teriipaia is a former French Polynesian actress, best known for being Marlon Brando's third wife.
• She was born in Bora Bora and raised in a poor family.
• She made her only movie appearance as Maimiti in 1962's "Mutiny on the Bounty".
• After her divorce from Marlon, she withdrew from public life and currently lives in Papeete.
• Marlon Brando was an influential actor of the 20th century, best known for his roles in "The Godfather" and "On the Waterfront".
Who is Tarita Teriipaia?
A former French Polynesian actress, perhaps known best as the third wife of famous American actor Marlon Brando, Tarita Tumi Teriipaia, was born under the zodiac sign of Capricorn on 29 December 1941, in Bora Bora, French Polynesia, and comes from a family of Chinese descent. Tarita had signed a contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) studio, however, she acted in just one movie. She once said that Marlon didn’t let her continue her acting career, that he wanted her to stay at home and raise their children, although she wanted to be in more movies.
Early life and education
Tarita was born in a bamboo hut, in Bora Bora’s village of Vaitape, and had five brothers and asister; their father, Teriichira, was a fisherman, but Tarita hasn’t revealed her mother’s name, although it’s assumed that she was a housewife.
Being raised in a poor family, Tarita went school until she was 12 years old, and then started working to help her family financially. When she was 19, she started working as a dishwasher at a resort near Papeete, Tahiti, the biggest French Polynesian Island, and there she was discovered by talent agents who offered her a role in a movie.
Tarita made her first and last movie appearance as Maimiti, in the historic adventure drama “Mutiny on the Bounty” in 1962, starring Marlon Brando, Richard Harris and Trevor Howard. The movie had 13 award nominations, including for seven Oscars, Best Picture, Best Cinematography, Color, Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Color, Best Film Editing, Best Effects, Special Effects, Best Music, Original Song, and Best Music, Score-Substantially Original, and won three.
Tarita was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – in the movie, she portrayed a girl with whom the First Lieutenant, Fletcher Christian, portrayed by Marlon Brando, falls in love, and this on-screen match-up continued in the real life.
Marriage with Marlon Brando
Tarita and Marlon married on 10 August 1962 – she was 18 years younger than him, and reportedly Marlon was delighted by her naïveté.
Since she only spoke French, he learned the language, and later gave numerous interviews in French. In her memoir “Marlon, My Love, My Suffering”, Tarita wrote about their marriage, saying that at first he begged her to have his child, but when she became pregnant, Marlon told her to have an abortion. She didn’t, and on 30 May 1963, she gave birth to their first child, a son named Simon Teihotu Brando, and their second child, a daughter Tarita Zumi Cheyenne, was born on 13 February 1970.
Two years Cheyenne’s birth, Tarita and Marlon divorced, however, he bought an estate for Tarita on the beach of Papeete, where Tarita still lives. Their children lived with Tarita, and according to their daughter, Marlon visited them once a year.
Cheyenne became a fashion model, but her modeling career ended after she had a car accident, and sustained a broken jaw, torn ear, and a laceration under her eye – her father took her to Los Angeles, California where she underwent cosmetic and reconstructive surgery. She purposely smacked her car after her father didn’t let her visit him in Toronto, Canada, while he was filming, however, this wasn’t the end of the troubles with Cheyenne.
She was in a relationship with Dag Drollet, a son of Jacques Drollet, who was a member of the Assembly of French Polynesia, and when she became pregnant with him, Marlon requested that the two of them come to live in his home in the US.
Marlon’s son from his first marriage, and Cheyenne’s half-brother, Christian shot Dag after Cheyenne told him that he was physically abusing her. Christian maintained that the shooting was accidental, however, after he was arrested, Cheyenne flew to Tahiti and refused to testify; Christian was sentenced to ten years in prison. On 26 June 1990, a month after her fiancée was killed, Cheyenne gave birth to their son, Tuki, and soon after she attempted suicide.
In the following years, she was formally diagnosed with schizophrenia, and since she was mentally unstable, she lost custody of her son, who was then raised by her mother, Tarita. On 16 April 1995, Cheyenne hanged herself in her mother’s house.
Where is she now?
After her divorce from Marlon, Tarita withdrew from public life, and there isn’t much known about her life, however, in 1977, she gave birth to a daughter, named Maimiti, whose father’s name Tarita hasn’t disclosed, but it’s known that Marlon adopted the girl; besides Maimiti, Marlon also adopted Tarita’s niece, Raiatua, born in 1982.
Tarita said in her book that although they were thousands of miles apart, Marlon always loomed over her life.
Nowadays, Tarita is 80 years old, and lives a peaceful life in her home in Papeete, enjoying the success of her grandson, Tuki, who has become a famous model, and the face of Versace menswear. He often shares photos featuring himself and Tarita, saying how grateful he is for her love and support.
There is no information about Tarita’s net worth, however, according to sources, the movie in which she starred, brought her over $1 million; at the time of Marlon’s death, her ex-husband’s his net worth was estimated at $100 million, in which she presumably shared.
In the ‘60s, Marlon bought an atoll, Teti’aroa, and the islets are under a 99-year lease contracted by Marlon Brando; in the ’70s he built a small village, and used it as a getaway from his hectic life in Los Angeles.
Who was Marlon Brando?
One of the most influential actors of the 20th century, Marlon Brando Junior, was born on 3 April 1924, in Omaha, Nebraska USA, into a family of German, Dutch, English and Irish descent, as the youngest child of Marlon Brando Senior and Dorothy Julia Pennebaker.
Marlon made his acting debut in 1949, in an episode of the series “Actor’s Studio”, and in the following year made his first movie appearance as Ken Wilocek in “The Men”, followed by his roles in “A Streetcar Named Desire”, “Julius Caesar”, “The Wild One” and “On the Waterfront”, which brought him his first Oscar award, for Best Actor in a Leading Role in 1954, and he then portrayed Napoleon Bonaparte in “Désirée”, which had two Oscar nomination for Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Color, and Best Costume Design, Color.
In the following years, Marlon was seen in several hit movies, including “Guys and Dolls”, “The Teahouse of the August Moon”, “Sayonara”, and “The Ugly American”, among others, and then in 1972, Marlon played his most notable role as Don Vito Corleone in “The Godfather”, an epic crime drama which won three Oscars for Best Picture, Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium, and Marlon won his second Oscar award for Best Actor in a Leading Role.
The list of Marlon’s roles is too long to enumerate, so we will mention his most notable, such as his role in “Last Tango in Paris” in 1972, “Superman” in ’78, “Apocalypse Now” in ’79, “The Formula” in ’80, and then after a decade, he was seen in “The Freshman”.
In the early ’90s, Marlon starred in “Don Juan DeMarco”, “The Brave”, “Free Money”, and then portrayed Max in “The Score”, which was his last role before his death on 1 July 2004. He was cremated, and his ashes scattered partly in Tahiti and partly in Death Valley, USA.