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Christian Brando, 49, Troubled Son of Marlon Brando, Is Dead

Christian Brando, 49, Troubled Son of Marlon Brando, Is Dead
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Christian Brando, the troubled eldest son of Marlon Brando, died Saturday morning at a hospital in Los Angeles, a lawyer representing his father’s estate said Saturday. He was 49.

The cause was pneumonia, said the lawyer, David Seeley.

Mr. Seeley said Mr. Brando was taken to the hospital, Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center, on Jan. 11.

“This is a sad and difficult time for the family,” Mr. Seeley said.

Christian Brando was born May 11, 1958. His father, who died in 2004, was a reigning figure in Hollywood, and Christian Brando had small roles in a handful of movies. But he was better known for his brushes with the law.

He spent five years in prison after pleading guilty to manslaughter in 1990 for killing his half-sister’s boyfriend, Dag Drollet, at the Brando family’s estate.

Mr. Brando said he had accidentally shot Mr. Drollet as they struggled for a gun during an argument over whether Mr. Drollet, 26, had beaten the half-sister, Cheyenne Brando, who was pregnant.

Ms. Brando, who later gave birth to Mr. Drollet’s son, committed suicide in 1995 after losing custody. She was 25.

Mr. Brando’s ex-wife, Deborah Brando, sued him for domestic violence in 2005. She claimed that shortly after their 2004 marriage, Mr. Brando repeatedly beat her and threatened to kill her in the presence of her teenage daughter.

Mr. Brando countersued, alleging that his ex-wife broke into his home and beat him because he wanted to annul their marriage only 10 weeks after exchanging vows.

The lawsuits were settled last year on undisclosed terms.

Mr. Brando was charged Jan. 10, 2005, with two counts of spousal abuse, and he pleaded guilty. He was placed on three years’ probation and ordered to participate in drug and alcohol rehabilitation and in a spousal-abuse prevention program.

Mr. Brando also was the one-time lover of Bonnie Lee Bakley, who was shot to death in 2001. At one time, Ms. Bakley claimed Mr. Brando had fathered her child, but tests showed it belonged to the actor Robert Blake, whom she later married.

Mr. Blake was tried for her murder and acquitted, but was later ordered to pay $30 million in a wrongful death lawsuit. In the civil case, Mr. Blake’s lawyer suggested that Mr. Brando was the killer. Mr. Brando, who had denied any involvement, invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination on the stand during the trial.

Mr. Seeley said Mr. Brando was not married at the time of his death and did not leave any children.
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