Hollywood News

Charles Manson Dies At 83: Pop Culture’s Fascination With The Leader Of The Murderous Cult

Charles Manson, the notorious leader of the Manson Family cult, died at the age of 83 in a California hospital on Sunday. He had been serving nine life sentences. Manson had orchestrated the gruesome murders of pregnant actress Sharon Tate and six others in the summer of 1969. Messages like ‘pigs’, ‘helter skelter’ were written in blood on the walls of the victims, apparently an idea that came to him from the Beatles song ‘Helter Skelter.’


Manson has been a recurrent fixture in American pop-culture. The stories of his savage, hypnotic cult and his own violent past has inspired many filmmakers. In fact, Manson himself wanted to become a rock star and even lived in drummer of Beach Boys, Dennis Wilson’s house.

Apart from the 1976 TV film, Helter Skelter, based on a book by prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi and Curt Gentry on the Manson trial, according to Hollywood Reporter, “Game of Thrones actor Gethin Anthony (on the NBC series Aquarius), Michael Reid MacKay (Summer Dreams: The Story of the Beach Boys, a 1990 ABC telefilm), Jeff Ward (Manson’s Lost Girls, a 2016 Lifetime movie) and Evan Peters (2017’s American Horror Story: Cult)” have all played Manson on-screen.

There was even a parody on him in a South Park episode, ‘Merry Christmas Charlie Manson’.

In the sixth season of Mad Men, when Don Draper’s wife Megan (actress – Jessica Paré) wore a T-shirt with the red Communist star on it, the look was quickly associated with Sharon Tate’s photo in Esquire magazine. Fan theories immediately started floating around that Megan is, in fact, Sharon Tate. The show’s creator Matthew Weiner later ruled that out.

More recently, in the Netflix show Mindhunter, FBI agent Holden Ford (actor – Jonathan Groff) barely hides his fascination for Manson and also, expresses a desire to interview him that could make his career.

Photo courtesy: Biography.com