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Charles Manson

Charles Manson is a notorious American criminal who masterminded several senseless, brutal murders, and is considered the personification of evil by many.

Known primarily for the 1969 Tate-LaBianca murders, Manson was actually a career criminal with a record dating back to the late 1940s. He once claimed he was responsible for dozens of murders.

Charles Manson
Charles Manson in 2009
Biographical fast facts

Full or original name at birth: Charles Milles Maddox (a.k.a. Charles Milles Manson)

Date, time and place of birth: November 12, 1934, at 4:40 p.m., Cincinnati General Hospital, Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S.A. *

Date, place and cause of death: (Alive as of 2012)

Marriage #1
Wife: Rosalie Jean Willis (m. January 17, 1955 - 1958) (divorced)

Marriage #2
Wife: Leona Rae "Candy" Stevens (m. 1959 - 1963) (divorced)

Sons: Charles Milles Manson, Jr. (d. committed suicide in 1993)
Charles Luther Manson
Valentine "Pooh Bear" Michael Manson (b. April 1, 1968, Topanga Canyon, Los Angeles, California)

Note: Rosalie is the mother of Charles Manson, Jr., Leona is the mother of Charles Luther Manson, and Mary Theresa Brunner (considered to be the first member of Manson's "Family") is the mother of "Pooh Bear" Manson.

Father: Colonel Walker Scott (b. May 11, 1910, Pike County, Kentucky - d. December 30, 1954, King's Daughters' Hospital, Ashland, Kentucky, of cirrhosis of the liver)**
Mother: Kathleen Maddox (1918-1973)

Note: William Manson was Charles Manson's stepfather.

Error corrections or clarifications

* His birth certificate, on file with the Ohio Department of Health, Division of Vital Statistics, clearly shows his date of birth as Nov. 12, 1934. Manson's birth date is erroneously reported as "November 11" by many sources, but it is actually November 12th. Be aware, some of his arrest records mistakenly show the erroneous "November 11" date of birth. Also, his middle name is not spelled "Mills" as a couple of sources mistakenly claim. Note that some of the early newspaper accounts of the murders misspell his middle name "Miles."

Understand that like most Americans, Charles Manson actually has two different "birth certificates." The first birth certificate is given by the hospital, and is often called a "souvenir" birth certificate. These are no longer considered valid in most jurisdictions for use as identification in obtaining a drivers license, passport, and such. The second birth certificate is the one filed with the county or state government, several days, or in some cases, weeks after the birth. We raise this issue in light of the fact many sources claim the name on his birth certificate is "No Name Maddox." Again, the birth certificate on file with the Ohio Department of Health, Division of Vital Statistics, clearly shows his first and middle name "Charles Milles" not "No Name Maddox." Manson's mother, Kathleen, addressed this issue in 1971, saying that she had not decided on a name, and waited a couple of days until her mother arrived in Cincinnati (where she'd given birth) to help her choose a first name for her child. Thus the officially registered birth certificate filed on December 3rd, 1934, three weeks after Manson's birth, indeed does show the name she settled on.

NOTE: The hospital made a typographical error when supplying his birth data to the government, offering the misspelling "Moddox" instead of the properly spelled Maddox. So this misspelling appears on the aforementioned birth certificate.

** Colonel Scott's biographical data was confirmed by his death certificate.

Quotes - In his own words:
Manson addresses his birth: "On November 12, 1934, while living in Cincinnati, Ohio, unwed and only sixteen, my mother gave birth to a bastard son." "The child -- me, Charles Milles Manson -- was an outlaw from birth."

Manson on his mother: "Her name was Kathleen Maddox, born in Ashland, Kentucky, and the youngest of three children from the marriage of Nancy and Charles Maddox."

Manson addresses the birth of his son Valentine: "On April 1, 1968, Mary gave birth to our son Valentine Michael Manson."


In August of 1969, a crazed, demented career criminal who led a ragtag band of followers that became known as the Manson Family, ordered members of his "family" to go to the former residence of an acquaintance, TV and record producer Terry Melcher, and massacre all those present. Manson hoped to become a professional musician-songwriter and had previously auditioned for Melcher, who had decided against signing him to a contract. Melcher, the son of actress/singer Doris Day, had moved from the home months before, but Manson continued with his plans to kill anyone found there regardless. His crazed band of hippies did precisely as the cold-blooded leader had ordered.

Motion picture director Roman Polanski shared the home at 10050 Cielo Drive, Bel Air, California (just outside Beverly Hills city limits) with his actress wife, Sharon Tate. Polanski was best known for his films Repulsion (1965), and Rosemary's Baby (1968), but would go on to even greater fame directing Chinatown (1974) and won the Academy Award for 2002's The Pianist. Actress Sharon Tate was best known for her work in Valley of the Dolls (1967).

Polanski was overseas the night of the first Manson killing spree. His pregnant wife was not so lucky. Sharon Tate was actually just days away from her expected delivery date. She was among those murdered, along with Steve Parent (Steven Earl Parent), Abigail Folger (heiress to the Folger coffee fortune), Jay Sebring (b. Thomas John Kummer) an internationally known hairstylist to the stars, and Wojciech Frykowski (frequently misspelled "Voytek Frykowski"), boyfriend of Abigail Folger. Each was killed in a particularly sadistic manner. The victims at the scene of the Tate killing spree, received a total of 102 stab wounds.

One day later, it happened again. Rosemary and Leno LaBianca were brutally murdered in the upper-middle-class Los Angeles neighborhood of Los Feliz. Leno was the president and chief stockholder of Gateway Markets, a small chain of profitable markets in the Los Angeles area, and his wife Rosemary LaBianca ran a successful boutique. Their home at 3301 Waverly Drive (address was later changed to 3311), was the scene of a gruesome pair of homicides. As with the previous victims, literally dozens of stab wounds were inflicted on the LaBianca's.

The grisly Tate-LaBianca murders resulted in a high-profile trial that drew international attention for months. Charles Manson was found guilty and sentenced to death. Other members of Manson's hippie cult who were put behind bars for their part in the crimes included, Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkel and Leslie Van Houten. Charles "Tex" Watson, was also found guilty, but in a separate trial. In 1972, the California Supreme Court abolished the death penalty and Manson's sentence was automatically reduced to life in prison. As a result, he's been up for parole many times, but thankfully the parole board has wisely denied parole each time.

In September 1975, one of Manson's followers made headlines following her assassination attempt on President Gerald R. Ford. Secret Service agents managed to seize Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme after she aimed a gun at President Ford, who was unharmed. She was sentenced to life in prison for the attempt on his life. Fromme later escaped from prison--reportedly to be closer to Manson--before being recaptured and sentenced to additional time behind bars. Despite receiving life in prison and additional jail time for her escape, Squeaky Fromme was actually released on parole in August 2009.

Long before his multiple murder convictions for the Tate-LaBianca killings, Manson had a lengthy criminal record stretching back to 1948. His extensive list of charges included armed robberies, arson, burglary, assault, mail theft, drug possession, forgery, credit card fraud, receiving stolen property, pimping, grand theft auto and numerous parole violations.

Decades later, the Manson murders continue to fascinate new generations. The Internet seems to have helped generate an allure and fascination in a generation too young to remember the bizarre and vicious murders and sensational trial. For some perverse reason, prisoner Manson has become something of a folk hero to some young people. He actually receives fan letters every day from people who oddly identify with him, or feel the convicted murderer is somehow "misunderstood." Appallingly there are apologists out there who suggest neither Manson nor his followers had anything to do with the killing spree. They claim Manson and his cohorts were framed. These arguments are, of course, absolute nonsense. Those convicted of the crimes have offered detailed accounts of the murders which were substantiated by the evidence found at each crime scene. Several of the murderers have not only confessed, but were initially proud of their crimes and had hoped to commit more murders. Manson himself has boasted of being responsible for more than 35 murders. Other members of the Manson Family agree that they killed between "35 to 40 people." When given the opportunity to appear before the press, the wild-eyed convict, his fanatical behavior and grand theatrics, still manage to make headlines.

The prosecutor of the case, Vincent Bugliosi, later wrote the best-selling book Helter Skelter, which offered an incredibly detailed look at the crimes, the participants, and subsequent trial. Bugliosi accurately observed, "The name Manson has become a metaphor for evil, and evil has its allure. Some people have the same fascination for Jack the Ripper and Hitler."


The most in-depth of more than four dozen sources consulted in preparing this profile, was Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders by Vincent Bugliosi and Curt Gentry (1974)

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