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Brando Fortune Draws A Crowd

Three months after Oscar-winning actor Marlon Brando's death, a line is forming for those staking a claim on his $21.6-million estate.

Brando attorney David Seeley said he has received at least five letters notifying the estate of plans to file a claim against it. He declined to discuss the individual cases.

Among those seeking money is Air Moorea, a small airline that chartered tourists to and from Brando's private Polynesian island, Tetiaroa, the Los Angeles Times reported Thursday. Freddy Chanseau, the company's chief executive, said Brando owed his company at least $460,000.

And Joan "Toni" Petrone, a longtime friend of the actor, said she is making a $3,000 claim against the estate for an Art Deco platinum and diamond ring she said she lost in the garbage disposal at Brando's Los Angeles home, according to the paper.

Claims against estates of this size aren't unusual, but they can lead to lengthy lawsuits. The probate process is already complicated with nine children named as Brando's beneficiaries. The actor died July 1 in Los Angeles from lung failure. He was 80.

Air Moorea brought its claim after it stopped flying its twin-engine, 19-seat turboprops to Brando's island earlier this year, Chanseau said. He told The Los Angeles Times that the island's only runway was not regulation length, prohibiting him from landing there with more than two passengers. Air Moorea eventually canceled the flights.

The airline has hired Santa Monica attorney Barry Leigh Weissman, who says the total debt accrued by Air Moorea as a result of the runway will exceed $460,000.

Seeley said he is evaluating the number. "I think we agree that we owe them something but are not sure what the final figure will be."

Hollywood producer Mike Medavoy, Brando's close friend and the co-executor of the late actor's estate, said he didn't think the total claims would top $1 million.

The estate is also seeking trademark protection for Brando's name and likeness so his heirs can control marketing of his image and prevent the proliferation of counterfeit Brando memorabilia.