The night Hollywood went Helter Skelter into the abyss

World

The night Hollywood went Helter Skelter into the abyss

The Manson killings of 1969 terrified Los Angeles, but the city was already drenched in hedonism and paranoia

Mick Brown

The Manson killings in which, 50 years ago, seven people were murdered were, in every sense, a Hollywood event.

Hollywood was the location; the most famous victim, Sharon Tate, was a Hollywood star, albeit a minor one. And Hollywood’s most intoxicating elixir, celebrity, was the drug that Charles Manson craved – and eventually found.

Manson’s infamy was set on the night of August 8 1969 when, acting on his instructions, members of his “Family” broke into the rented home of Tate and her film director husband Roman Polanski, murdering Tate, the celebrity hairdresser Jay Sebring, Abigail Ann Folger (the heiress to the Folger coffee fortune), aspiring screenwriter Wojciech Frykowski, and the caretaker, Steven Earl Parent. The following night, a supermarket owner, Leno LaBianca, and his wife Rosemary were also murdered in their home at Manson’s behest...

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