Marlon Brando’s dream of building a resort on his precious Tahitian atoll of Tetiaroa, uninhabited except for his 42-year-old son, Teihotu, is about to come true nine months after his death. The pristine paradise with a crystal clear lagoon encircled by 13 tiny islets and a flourishing ecosystem that includes a sea turtle breeding ground and a designated bird sanctuary will become the home of 30 environmentally friendly villas. Brando fell in love with Tetiaroa and bought it while filming “Mutiny on the Bounty” in the Sixties. The 13 cottages he built then have fallen into disrepair. Marlon had been planning the project for the last three years and — surprise to no one — the hotel compound with be dubbed The Brando. The villas will be nearly invisible from the water and the rest of the atoll will be set aside as a private nature preserve. This project is scheduled to open in 2008 and Marlon’s family says it will be done exactly the way he wanted it.

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Big how-dee-do, superbig how-dee-do when the Houston Grand Opera celebrates its 50th anniversary, the Golden Jubilee Gala, on April 30 in the Wortham Theater Center. It has to be a pretty fancy party to live up to its invitation, which is an opulent thing of gold ribbon, gold tassels and a lot of golden names taking part. Lynn Wyatt, perhaps Houston’s most well known and certainly most prolific hostess and socialite, is a big, beautiful chairman and the honorary committee is just chock-full of such big shots as Nancy Reagan, Jesse Norman, Barry Diller and Diane von Furstenberg, the Duchess of York, Elton John, Roger Moore, Renee Fleming, Carolina and Reinaldo Herrera, Prince Albert of Monaco, Karl Lagerfeld, the British Ambassador Christopher and Lady Meyer and Houston’s mayor, Bill White. The Board of Governors and the Board of Trustees of the Houston Grand Opera are also hosting the gala. There will be all sorts of entertainment with such artists as Renee Fleming, Elton John, Frederica von Stade, Bryn Terfel and Denyce Graves singing their hearts out in concert. There will be a dinner and dancing in the grand foyer after the music.

This story first appeared in the March 23, 2005 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

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As for Elton John, he, Sting and Victoria and David Beckham are talking about starting a chain of boutique hotels. They already have their eyes on a nine-bedroom, $8 million beach house in a small village on the coast of South Africa. The three-story mansion has floor-to- ceiling windows and sweeping ocean views, perfect for a romantic getaway. Or so Elton John, Sting and Victoria and David Beckham hope.

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Sandra Bullock will reunite with Keanu Reeves, her co-star in her 1994 breakaway film, “Speed.” In their new flick, “Il Mare,” they will play lovers who meet at a mailbox. How absolutely twee. Costarring will be such superb actors as Jeremy Irons and Christopher Plummer. After that’s all done, Keanu will play a cop in the Spike Lee movie “The Nightwatchman,” and then he will follow in the illustrious footsteps of Douglas Fairbanks Jr. and Gene Kelly playing Sinbad, the sailor of song and story. He will be surrounded on his search for Aladdin’s lamp by beautiful enchantresses and mythical beings with magical powers along the way. I can wait if you can.

John Travolta got an early introduction to the world of fashion and glamour. Blame it on his mummy. He says, “My mother would buy secondhand clothes. She said, ‘I can put my son in a Christian Dior suit for $10 at the Church of Atonement. If I buy it brand new, that would be $300. Or I could buy a really cheap suit for $20 that will fall apart.’ All my clothes were beautiful because they were wealthy people’s hand-me-downs. My mother was a smart woman.” Yes she was and it rubbed off on her son.

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Rachel Hunter wants $70 million to set Rod Stewart free so that he can make an honest woman of Penny Lancaster. This may explain why Rod, who keeps his money as close as he keeps Penny, has never gotten around to ridding himself of Rachel.

Along those lines, Jude Law has replaced his divorce lawyers because he’s upset that the proceedings are dragging out so long and Sadie Frost, the mother of his four children, might well end up with a settlement worth at least $20 million. Jude wants to set a date for his wedding to Sienna Miller and he’d like it to take place before the end of the year.

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You will be thrilled to hear that Orlando Bloom and Kate Bosworth are together again after putting their two-year romance on hold last January. The exact reason for the hiatus was unclear but it seemed to come right on the heels of the release of some photos of Orlando dancing with a young blonde at the Dubai International Film Festival.

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Although Jerry Hall has not written her autobiography yet, she has written, sung and recorded a song called “Around This Table,” which is said to refer to the dining table at her home in England that she shared with Mick Jagger. The lyrics include such adoring sentiments as “We make love on it/Our children scratch their names beneath/The fire lights our passion/And the wine has numbed our grief. You bring other women/While I’m out of town/And I can always see/When a stranger has sat down.” So pretty, so poetic. Jerry performed for a radio station in Austin, Tex., over the weekend. Move over, Stephen Sondheim.

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I just love it when movie celebrities share their  opinions with the rest of us. Ashton Kutcher has been following his sweetie Demi Moore’s lead, getting himself in peak physical shape. The dear boy says, “We went to see ‘Troy’ and I’m sitting there and it’s just me and Demi and a friend of hers. I think we’re going to see an action movie when actually we’re going to see a movie where Brad Pitt is naked most of the time. And Demi and her friend are making noises every time like, ‘Ooh!’ and ‘Ahh!’ and I’m like, ‘Baby I’m right here!’ So I went out and hired Brad Pitt’s trainer.” Now, that’s love.

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