By Editor & Publisher Jeff Brown.
Much has been written about the murderous "Manson Family" cult leader Charles Manson. I was seven years old in 1970, which was the year Manson and "Family' members were convicted of murder, but I do have vague memories of the horrific event and subsequent trial a year later, as there was massive media coverage of the bizarre trial and conviction of Manson and his cult of followers. As a seventh grade junior high school kid, I read the book 'Helter Skelter' in 1975 when it came out. The book, written by Vincent Bugliosi in 1975, documented the story of Manson and the murders he orchestrated, that were in large part, inspired by a sick and delusional political vision he had in 1969. Indeed, the book was chilling in its detail and was a bit much for the 12 year old me to grapple with at the time.
Here is a brief re-cap of the horrific events of August 9, 1969.
August 9, 1969, was a hot and steamy night in Benedict Canyon, which is a part of Beverly Crest, located just north of Beverly Hill in Los Angeles, California. On that horrible evening Charles Manson sent four devoted members of his "Family" to the home of a famous Hollywood couple named Sharon Tate and Roman Polanski. Tate was an up and coming actress and Polanski is a well known movie director. Polanski was out of the country on the night of August 9, but Sharon Tate was home and had several friends over to keep her company. These friends included Detroit native Jay Sebring, who was a well known Hollywood men's hair stylist, Abigal Folger, heiress to the Folger Coffee fortune, her boyfriend screenwriter Wojciech Fryow ski and friend of the resident grounds keeper, Steve Parent. Also murdered by the Manson Family, at the direction of Charles Manson, in coming days within the general area were grocery store chain owner, Leno LaBianca, his wife Rosemary LaBianca, and music teacher Gary Hinman.
Manson Family members, including Tex Watson, Susan Atkins, Linda Kasabian and Patricia Krenwinkel, were ordered by Manson to converge on the Tate/Polanski residence at 10050 Cielo Drive and murder the inhabitants, including Steve Parent, who was a friend of the live in grounds keeper. All of whom had no relationship to the killers in any way shape or form.
Around 10:00 pm, August 9, 1969, the four Manson Family members horrifically murdered all inhabitants of the home, except the grounds keeper, who had a room at the opposite end of the mansion from where the murders took place.
Charles Manson died Monday, November 20, in a Califoria hospital while serving life in prison for the horrible 1969 slayings. He was 83. In Monday's news much was written about the life and times of notorious Charles Manson...He hung out with late Beach Boy, Dennis Wilson, he was born in Cincinnati to a 16 year old girl....on and on. Monday, the spotlight should be on the seven young individuals who were the victims of Manson's bizarre, politically inspired (sickly) and planned massacre.
Here is a brief bio of the four victims who were brutally killed at the Tate/Polanski residence on August 9, 1969. They each deserve acknowledgement and recognition.
Sharon Tate was 26 years old when she was murdered. She was an actress and model. She is best remembered for her role in the 1967 movie, Valley of the Dolls, for which she earned a Golden Globe nomination. Sharon was described as shy as a child and people often misinterpreted her shyness to being aloof. She graduated from Vicenza American High School in Viicenza, Italy in 1961. She was born in Dallas, Texas.
Steven Parent was 18 years old had recently attended his high school prom and was working two jobs to save money for college. He was killed in the Tate driveway.
Abigail Folger was 25 years old. She was heiress to the Folgers Coffee and a close friend of Sharon Tate. Abigail volunteered as a social worker in Los Angelos and dedicated to the welfare of children and civil rights. Abigail graduated from Radcliffe College with high honors.
Jay Sebring was a well known men's hair stylist in LA who had grew up in Detroit. He had a passion for style.
Woojciech Frykowski was born in Poland in 1936. He moved to the United Stated in 1967 at age 31 and as an aspiring screenwriter became good friends with director Roman Polanski.
Sadly, the Manson Family murders contributed to the polarization of an already deeply divided America in the 1960's and 70's, as many older Americans at the time mistakenly attributed the delusional political views of murderous cult and Manson, to anti establishment sentiments common among the younger generation at the time.