Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Christian Brando — A Hollywood Family Tragedy

Christian Comes Home

Book cover of  Marlon Brando autobiography Songs My Mother Taught Me
Book cover of
Marlon Brando
Songs My Mother
Taught Me

Christian also frequently visited his father's home on Mulholland Drive, although he was living on his own and working occasionally as a welder. His friends told reporters that Christian was abusing drugs and alcohol, and when under the influence had a nasty temper. Like his half-sister, Christian was struggling with the Brando identity, trying to establish his own life while enjoying the benefits of his father's wealth and fame. As is so often the case with wealthy drug abusers, Christian was surrounded by an entourage of friends, hangers-on and parasites who fed his ego while taking advantage of Marlon Brando's deep pockets.

Conflict entered Christian's life before he could walk, when his parents divorced. His mother was given custody, but by the time he had entered school, Kashfi's drug and alcohol problems forced Marlon to sue for custody of his son. He won the custody in a lengthy fight, but Kashfi kidnapped Christian when Marlon was filming Last Tango in Paris. She took him to a commune in California where he was located several months later and returned to his father.

Christian was a high-school dropout, and when he was 22 his father purchased a remote cabin where the younger Brando could practice his artistic welding. It was while he was living in the cabin in Washington that Christian married a longtime friend, Mary McKenna. Married life brought out Christian's temper, according to documents McKenna filed during divorce proceedings.

Mug shot of Christian Brando (AP)
Mug shot of Christian
Brando (AP)

In the heat of the divorce, McKenna reported that Brando had threatened to kill her and had been physically abusive.

At one point, she alleged that Christian had "worked himself into a rage and said, `You better call the police or get out of the house because I'm going to kill you if it's the last thing I do'". However, once Christian was arrested for Dag's slaying, Mary refused to comment on the divorce filings and insisted Christian was not the type of man to commit cold-blooded murder. "He is not a killer," McKenna Brando told the press. "There must have been a reason for it. He was very protective of his sister."

Other friends said later that Christian was a gun enthusiast and drug abuser, a potentially lethal combination. They also reported that once, in a blackout, Christian shot a close friend. The bullet grazed the man's face, requiring first aid. An inch or two difference would have put Christian behind bars for homicide. Emerging from the blackout, Christian reportedly had no recollection of the shooting or any incidents that preceded it.

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