Charles Manson, Leader of Murderous Cult, Dead at 83
A career criminal, amateur musician, enigmatic cult leader and unrepentant racist, Manson became synonymous with the dark underbelly and ominous end of the Sixties. The two-day killing spree he orchestrated in August 1969 left seven people dead and, as legend has it, sprang from his mad interpretation of the Beatles' White Album – specifically the song "Helter Skelter" – which he believed foretold a coming apocalyptic race war.A career criminal, amateur musician, enigmatic cult leader and unrepentant racist, Manson became synonymous with the dark underbelly and ominous end of the Sixties. The two-day killing spree he orchestrated in August 1969 left seven people dead and, as legend has it, sprang from his mad interpretation of the Beatles' White Album – specifically the song "Helter Skelter" – which he believed foretold a coming apocalyptic race war.
Charles Milles Manson (né Maddox, November 12, 1934 – November 19, 2017) was an American criminal and cult leader. In the late 1960s, he formed what became known as the Manson Family, a quasi-commune in California. Manson's followers committed a series of nine murders at four locations in July and August 1969. In 1971 he was convicted of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder for the deaths of seven people, including the actress Sharon Tate, all of which were carried out at his instruction by members of the group. Manson was also convicted of first-degree murder for two other deaths.
Charles Milles Manson was born on Nov. 12, 1934, in Cincinnati, the son of an unmarried 16-year-old girl who supported herself by committing petty crime.
He never knew his father, and with his mother periodically jailed, he was shunted among various relatives in small towns in West Virginia and Kentucky. He began engaging in petty theft himself and ended up in foster homes and reformatories.
His education stopped at the seventh grade. Although only sketchily literate, he scored a high-normal IQ of 121 while in prison.
He married twice, first to a teenage waitress, Rosalie Willis, in 1955, divorcing in 1958. Then in 1959, he married a woman with a prostitution record named Leona “Candy” Stevens, according to prison records. That union also ended in divorce. A son from his first marriage, Charles Manson Jr., who renamed himself Jay White, committed suicide in 1993. He had a son from his second marriage, Charles Luther Manson. He had at least one other child as well.
Mr. Manson drifted to California in the mid-1960s, was drawn to the beads-and-hippie scene in San Francisco and later Los Angeles. He began gathering a loose following of devotees, many of them disillusioned and confused young people from across the socioeconomic spectrum.
At the time the Family began to form, Manson was an unemployed ex-convict who had spent half of his life in correctional institutions for a variety of offenses. Before the murders, he was a singer-songwriter on the fringe of the Los Angeles music industry, chiefly through a chance association with Dennis Wilson, drummer and founding member of the Beach Boys. Manson believed in what he called "Helter Skelter", a term he took from the Beatles' song of the same name to describe an impending apocalyptic race war. He believed the murders would help precipitate that war. From the beginning of his notoriety, a pop culture arose around him in which he ultimately became an emblem of insanity, violence and the macabre. After Manson was charged with the crimes of which he was later convicted, recordings of songs written and performed by him were released commercially, starting with Lie: The Love and Terror Cult (1970). Various musicians have covered some of his songs.
Manson was originally sentenced to death, but his sentence was commuted to life with the possibility of parole after California invalidated the state's death penalty statute in 1972. He served out his life sentence at California State Prison in Corcoran and died at age 83 in 2017.
Charles Manson, the cult leader of the Manson family who masterminded the Tate-LaBianca killings of 1969 and one of the most reviled and fascinating figures in American pop culture, died Sunday night, CBS Los Angeles reports. He was 83. Manson had been rushed to a Bakersfield, California hospital from Corcoran State Prison earlier this month for an undisclosed medical issue.
He's nearly 80 and his Family is smaller, but darkness still surrounds America's most notorious criminal
Manson died of natural causes at Kern County hospital, according to a California Department of Corrections statement.