Legendary actor Marlon Brando never got along very well with celebrity photographers. In fact, the notoriously difficult thespian clocked "the Godfather of U.S. paparazzi culture," Ron Galella, after a taping of The Dick Cavett Show in 1973. Brando paid a $40K settlement to cover Galella's broken jaw and suffered an infected hand as the result of the incident.
Perhaps that's what drove him to seek refuge on hyper-remote Tetiaroa, a twelve-island Tahitian atoll he purchased in 1967 for $270K. Brando later constructed a rustic resort on the atoll, and once attempted to use a shipwrecked yacht's wooden hull as a bar before the irate owner salvaged the vessel. Mr. Mumbles was hardly the only A-lister to seek asylum on a private island.
Republished with permission from Curbed.com. Authored by Rob Bear. Image via The Brando Resort
According to Vanity Fair, it was Brando who told a young Johnny Depp to slow down. So, appropriately, Depp also chose an island as his escape from the pressures of Hollywood. The Pirates star chose Little Hall's Pond Cay, a 45-acre isle in the Bahamas, as his getaway, paying $3.6M in 2004. Depp accesses the island on his classic 156-foot yacht-which, naturally, flies the Jolly Roger-and plans to power all the structures with environmentally-friendly solar power.
[Image via The Definitive Depp]
While Brando might have touted the concept to other actors, he wasn't the first famous thespian to settle on a private island. Western legend John Wayne's penchant for fishing led him to purchase a private island, known as Taborcillo, off Panama's southern coast.
He was apparently well-liked by the locals, and gave Ronald Reagan an earful after the then-Presidental candidate opposed the Panama Canal Treaties in 1978. Today, the island, now dubbed John Wayne Island, has been redeveloped by an Austrian businessman as a resort, complete with a John Wayne suite and rooms named after other Hollywood stars like Brad Pitt, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Pam Anderson. There's no evidence that any of them (besides Wayne) ever spent a night on the island, but at least there's a Meet Joe Black poster in the Brad Pitt suite.
[Image via John Wayne Island]
Apparently celebs named John have a particular affinity for the private island. Beatle John Lennon purchased this island off the Irish coast in 1967 after reading an ad for the place in a London newspaper.
The songster paid just £1,700, the equivalent of $36K in today's dollars, and spent several years attempting to build a house on the remote isle. After a while, he turned the place over to a band of hippies who established a 25-person commune, but was reportedly planning to take up the private residence project again when he was shot dead outside the Dakota in 1980.
[Image via Dorinish]
More recently, longtime silver screen presence Gene Hackman bought, and then sold, this petite private bit of land in Washington's San Juan Islands. Adjacent to the facilities of one of the archipelago's largest members, Orcas Island, Fawn Island is only accessible by boat. After Hackman sold this place around 2008, he apparently picked up a different private island further north, in British Columbia, Canada.
[Image via Heidi Sicka/World is Round]