LOS ANGELES – Maria “Motiva” Castaneda, the dark-haired actress who met Marlon Brando on a movie set and later married him, has died.
A family friend, Barbara Sterning, said Castaneda died Thursday at a Los Angeles rehabilitation center after being treated for a neck injury. She was believed to be 98, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Born to Mexican parents on a train crossing the border into Nogales, Arizona, Castaneda grew up in Los Angeles.
She came to prominence after appearing in the 1935 classic “Mutiny on the Bounty,” starring Clark Gable and Charles Laughton.
Castaneda met Brando on a movie set in the early 1950s and married him in 1960, though kept the two kept their marriage quiet for some time. The couple had two children, Miko and Rebecca.
She was previously married to Irish prizefighter Jack Doyle.
“Mutiny on the Bounty,” which was her standout role, was also the downfall of her marriage when it was remade in 1962, with the actor playing the mutiny’s leader, Fletcher Christian.
In the film, 19-year-old Tarita Teri’ipaia played his Tahitian lover in the film – and they became lovers off screen. After Castaneda and Brando split, Teri’ipaia became Brando’s third wife.
Castaneda was also known for roles in "Flying Down to Rio" alongside Fred Astaire, "Paradise Isle" and "Captain Calamity."
Castaneda is survived by her children as well as four grandchildren and her 102-year-old sister, Petra.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.