Maria "Movita" Castaneda (April 12, 1916 – February 12, 2015) was an American actress best known for having been the second wife of actor Marlon Brando. She was eight years older than Brando. In films, she played exotic women/singers, such as in Flying Down to Rio (1933) and Mutiny on the Bounty (1935), of which she was the last surviving cast member. She is the mother of Miko Castaneda Brando (b. 1961) and Rebecca Brando Kotlizky (b. 1966).
Movita, a Mexican American, was born in Nogales, Arizona, on a train travelling between Mexico and Arizona. Movita began her acting career singing the Carioca to Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire's first dance number in the first film in which the famous duo appeared together, Flying Down to Rio (1933). She continued playing exotic women in American and Spanish language films in the 1930s, most notably as a Tahitian girl, Tehanni in Mutiny on the Bounty (1935) alongside Clark Gable and Franchot Tone. She played another island girl in Paradise Isle (1937), and starred in two films alongside John Carroll, Rose of the Rio Grande (1938) and Wolf Call (1939), and then in Girl from Rio (1939) with Warren Hull. She starred in the British thriller Tower of Terror (1941) alongside Wilfrid Lawson and Michael Rennie. After a break, she appeared as Henry Fonda's cook in Fort Apache (1948), then starred with Tim Holt in two further westerns: The Mysterious Desperado (1949) and Saddle Legion (1951).
In the early 1940s, Movita married the Irish boxer, singer and actor Jack Doyle (known as the Gorgeous Gael). Doyle was noted for disappearing on drinking bouts and lost several important fights while intoxicated. The marriage did not endure.
After appearing in a few more minor westerns and a few television parts, she met the actor Marlon Brando in the late 1950s, after his breakup with Anna Kashfi. They married in 1960, and she had two children with Brando: Miko Brando and Rebecca Brando. Brando played the role of Fletcher Christian in the 1962 remake of the 1935 film in which Movita had played a Tahitian girl, Tehanni. Brando then married his co-star Tarita Teriipaia, who played Christian's Tahitian wife Maimiti in the film, with whom he also had two children. After a small role on television in 1977, Movita appeared as Ana in 17 episodes of Knots Landing from October 1987 to May 1989.
Castaneda died on February 12, 2015, after being hospitalized for a neck injury. She was 98. Castaneda was survived by her two children and four grandchildren, as well as a great-grandchild.
|Relation name||Relation type||Description|
|3||Jocelyn Brando||Sister in-law|
|6||Harry Carey Jr.||Coworker|
|21||David Ogden Stiers||Familiar|
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