10050 Cielo Drive

In 1994, the house at 10050 Cielo Drive was demolished. But the memory of what happened there in the early morning hours of August 9, 1969, endures. Actress Sharon Tate (eight-and-a-half months pregnant), celebrity hairstylist Jay Sebring, coffee heiress Abigail Folger, aspiring screenwriter Wojciech Frykowski, and recent high school graduate Steven Parent were brutally murdered by members of the Manson Family.

History

The house was built in the late forties for French actress Michèle Morgan. The house was similar to the house which sat on its own plateau directly below 10050, 10048 Cielo Drive, which was called the Twin House. The properties were built at the same time.

By the end of World War II, Michèle Morgan had returned to France and in 1946 actress Lillian Gish moved in 10050 Cielo Drive with her mother while filming Duel in the Sun (1946).

Rudolph Altobelli, a talent manager, bought the house in the early 1960s and often rented the house out. Residents included celebrities like Cary Grant and Dyan Cannon, Henry Fonda, George Chakiris, Mark Lindsay and Paul Revere & the Raiders.

Candice Bergen and Terry Melcher

Charles Manson, Dennis Wilson and Terry Melcher

In the summer of 1966, Altobelli leased the Cielo Drive house to music producer Terry Melcher (the son of Doris Day) and actress Candice Bergen, whose time at the house would set the tragic events of August 9, 1969 into motion.

Beach Boy drummer Dennis Wilson had befriended Charles Manson. Dennis Wilson was so impressed by Manson’s charisma and musical talent that he introduced Manson to producer Terry Melcher and pressed Melcher to land Manson a record deal. Manson auditioned for Melcher but Melcher was not impressed and declined to sign Manson. After witnessing Manson getting in a fight with a drunk at Spahn Ranch both Wilson and Melcher ended their friendship with Manson.

Not long after ending his friendship with Manson, Melcher and Bergen moved out of Cielo Drive. On February 12, 1969, Roman Polanski and his pregnant wife Sharon Tate signed a lease for the house on 10050 Cielo Drive. They moved in three days later.

The Tate Murders

Contrary to popular belief, Terry Melcher and Candice Bergen were never the targets of the August 9 murder spree carried out by Manson’s followers. Manson knew very well that Melcher moved out of Cielo Drive.

On the night of August 8, 1969, Manson told Tex Watson to take some of the girls and to go to “that house where Melcher used to live” and to “totally destroy everyone inside, as gruesome as you can” and Manson told Watson to “leave a sign, something witchy”. Tex Watson took Susan Atkins, Linda Kasabian, and Patricia Krenwinkel to Cielo Drive.

When they arrived at the entrance of the Cielo Drive property, Watson climbed a telephone pole near the gate and cut the phone line to prevent telephone access from the house. At this point it was after midnight, August 9, 1969.

Telephone Pole Near The Gate

Just then, headlights approached. Watson ordered the women to lie in the bushes. He then stepped out and ordered the approaching driver to halt. Eighteen-year-old student Steven Parent had been visiting the property’s caretaker, William Garretson, who lived in the property’s guest house. Watson first lunged at Parent with a knife, giving him a defensive slash wound on the palm of his hand, then shot him four times in the chest and abdomen.

Steven Parents Car

The group then proceeded to the main house. Watson told Kasabian to keep watch down by the gate. Watson cut the screen of a window and entered through the window, and let Atkins and Krenwinkel in through the front door.

They found Frykowski sleeping on the living room couch. Watson kicked him in the head. When Frykowski asked him who he was and what he was doing there, Watson replied: “I’m the devil, and I’m here to do the devil’s business.”

Atkins and Krenwinkel searched the house and found Tate, Sebring and Folger and forced them to the living room. Watson began to tie Tate and Sebring together by their necks with rope and slung the rope up over one of the living room’s ceiling beams. Sebring’s protested to the rough treatment of the pregnant Tate. Watson then shot Sebring and stabbed him seven times.

Abigail Folgers Bedroom at Cielo Drive

Frykowski’s hands had been bound with a towel. Freeing himself, Frykowski began struggling with Atkins, who stabbed at his legs with the knife with which she had been guarding him. As he fought his way toward and out the front door, onto the porch, Watson caught up with Frykowski and struck him over the head with the gun multiple times, stabbed him repeatedly, and shot him twice.

Around this time, Kasabian was drawn up from the driveway by “horrifying sounds”. In an effort to stop the massacre, she falsely told Atkins that someone was coming.

Meanwhile, Folger had escaped from Krenwinkel and fled out a bedroom door to the pool area. Krenwinkel ran after Folger, caught her, stabbed her, and tackled her to the ground. Watson joined Krenwinkel and they stabbed Folger 28 times. In the meantime Frykowski struggled across the lawn. Watson went over to Frykowski and then stabbed him to death. Frykowski was stabbed a total of 51 times.

In the house, Tate pleaded to be allowed to live long enough to have her baby, and even offered herself as a hostage in an attempt to save the life of her unborn child. Susan Atkins told Tate as she begged, “Look, bitch, I don’t care about you. I don’t care if you are having a baby. You are going to die and I don’t feel a thing about it.” At this point either Atkins, Watson, or both killed Tate (testimonies vary). Tate was stabbed 16 times. Watson later wrote that as Tate was being killed, she cried for her mother.

Using the towel that had bound Frykowski’s hands, Atkins wrote “pig” on the house’s front door in Tate’s blood.

In a photo published in Life magazine days after the murders, Roman Polanski sits on the veranda, next to the front door that has been covered with his wife’s blood. According to the photographer, Julian Wasser, Polanski wanted the Polaroid shots to be given to a psychic to track down the then-unknown killers.

Nine Inch Nails “Le Pig” Studio at 10050 Cielo Drive

Nine Inch Nails – The last resident of Cielo Drive

The last resident of the original house was Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails. Reznor began renting the house in 1992 for a reported $11,000 a month, and set up a recording studio in the house. The studio, dubbed “Pig”, a reference to Susan Atkins writing “Pig” in Tate’s blood on the front door of the house, was the site of recording sessions for most of the Nine Inch Nails album The Downward Spiral. Reznor moved out of the house in December 1993, explaining “there was too much history in that house for me to handle.” Reznor took the front door of the house with him when he moved out and installed it at the New Orleans headquarters of his record label, Nothing Studios, which had been converted from a funeral home.

Demolition of 10050 Cielo Drive

Demolition

In 1994, the original house was demolished. A new house was build on the property called Villa Bella, with a new street address of 10066 Cielo Drive. The owner of the property as of 2013 is Hollywood producer Jeff Franklin.

Sharon Tate With Her Dog Prudence at the Cielo Drive Swimming Pool

Cielo Drive’s Survivors: The Dogs (and cats, a lot of cats)

There were several dogs present at the time of the murders in the Cielo Drive house, most notably Sharon’s Dog Prudence. Roman Polanski bought puppy Prudence for Sharon after Wojciech Frykowski accidentally ran over Sharon’s Yorkshire terrier Sappy on the driveway of Cielo Drive.

After the murders Prudence was adopted by Sharon Tate’s mother and sister. Unfortunately, 10 years after Sharon was murdered, Prudence was killed in a car accident. Debra Tate, Sharon’s sister, accidentally ran over Prudence in the driveway of her parents house.

Fun fact: There was a population of about 26 cats on the Cielo Drive property.

Sharon Tate having fun at Cielo Drive with her dog Prudence
Police Remove Dogs From Cielo Drive. The two puppies Were Found Hiding in a Closet

Debra Tate:
After the murders, police found the two puppies hiding in a closet. “They were scared to death, We took Prudence home and found a home for Tom. I wouldn’t leave him behind.”

The Dog on the right is Rudi Altobelli’s Weimaraner Christopher

Debra Tate:
“I’ve been told that people want to know what happened to Prudence. I accidentally ran over Prudence in my parent’s driveway and killed her. It was awful! I was leaving after a visit, backing out of the driveway and I didn’t realize that she’d run outside. I was twenty six when this happened so it was ten years after Sharon died. So now you know –Prudence is with Sharon.”

Sharon’s Mother Doris Tate Holds then senior Prudence

Sharon Tate with Prudence at Cielo Drive

Cielo Drive Images

Jay Sebrings Porsche and Abigail Folgers Firebird at Cielo Drive
Candice Bergen Talks About Living At Cielo Drive (Click To Enlarge)
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3301 Waverly Drive

3301 Waverly Drive was the home of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca. On August 10, 1969, grocer Leno LaBianca and his wife Rosemary were murdered in their home by members of the Manson Family.

In 1940, Leno’s father Antonio Labianca bought the house on Waverly Drive. In 1951 Leno’s father passed away. In 1968, Leno bought the Waverly Drive house from his mother.

In the summer of 1969 there was a number of break-ins at the Waverly Drive house. Leno and Rosemary desperately wanted to move out of the Waverly Drive house. They never got the chance.

Manson’s Waverly Drive Backstory

1966. While incarcerated at Terminal Island Prison Charles Manson met flamboyant producer Phil Kaufman. After Kaufman’s release from prison he hooked up with Manson. Kaufman spent most of his time crashing at the house of his friend, Harold True.

Manson regularly visited Kaufman there, Manson even stayed a week at Harold’s house. Harold lived at 3267 Waverly Drive. The next door neighbors at 3301 Waverly Drive were Leno and Rosemary LaBianca.

Motive: The LaBianca’s weren’t Manson’s first choice

As for the motive, the LaBianca’s were not Manson’s target. Manson first went to the residence of Harold True. Harold wasn’t at home so Manson went over to the LaBianca’s.

At the murder trial Linda Kasabian testified that after she parked the car in front of the LaBianca house she asked Manson, “Charlie, you’re not going into that house (Labianca’s), are you?”

Manson replied, ‘No, I’m going next door.’ (Harold True’s house)

“He got out of the car. He disappeared up the walkway, the driveway, leading towards Harold’s house, and I couldn’t follow him any longer, he just disappeared.”

Manson agreed to this version of events in 1998:

“And I went to see Harold. Harold wasn’t there, and I looked over and I seen a light over on the other side, and I walked over there and there was a little dog there. So I patted the dog on the head and I opened the door and there was a dude (Leno LaBianca) sitting on the couch. “And when I walked in, I said, ‘Oh, hey. Hi.’

After the Murders

After the murders a Filipino couple bought the Waverly Drive house. The address has been changed from 3301 to 3311 Waverly Drive. The house was back on the market in 1998 and sold for $375,000.

28 Clubhouse Avenue

Mark Ross (Photo) a.k.a Aesop Aquarian (Website) (born 2/27/1945) was a Manson Family associate. In the late 60’s Mark lived in a beach house located at 28 Clubhouse Avenue, Venice, CA. On several occasions various Manson Family members stayed at his Venice Beach house.

Murder or Suicide

On Wednesday November 5th, 1969 the Venice Police Department responded to a call at 28 Clubhouse Avenue. At the scene police discovered the body of Manson associate John Haught. Haught was lying on a mattress in the bedroom. He had an entrance wound to the right temple. There was a leather gun case and a revolver lying beside the body.

According to Madaline Joan Cottage, she and Haught were in bed, when he picked up a .22 Caliber revolver. After Madaline told Haught that there was only one bullet in the gun, he spun the cylinder, placed the muzzle against his head, and shot himself.

Several Manson Family members were present when Haught died, including Bruce Davis, Madaline Joan Cottage, Sue Bartell and Catherine Gillies. They told the police that Haught killed himself playing Russian roulette. The police ruled Haught’s death a suicide, however there are indications that Haught may have been murdered. No fingerprints were found on the gun, not even Haught’s own prints, the gun was wiped clean.

An anonymous source told the L.A Times that he was there when Haught died. He claimed Haught didn’t kill himself but was shot by one of the Manson girls.

Myers Ranch

Myers Ranch was built in 1932 by Bill and Barbara Myers, Catherine Gillies’ grandparents. The Myers lived on the ranch until 1960 when they relocated to Fresno so that their children could have a better education.

The ranch was built of wood ties from the Searles Lake monorail. The Myers ran a gas and food stop called Wild rose Station.

In 1968, Charles Manson learned about the isolated Myers Ranch from Gillies. Agreeing that the ranch would likely meet their needs, the Manson Family began a move to the ranch. The buildings at Barker Ranch being in better condition, the Family ended up at Barker Ranch, approximately half a mile down the road from Myers Ranch. At times, the Family members were using both Barker and Myers ranch.

Myers Ranch burned down in 1999. The property has been completely reconstructed. Today it remains a private, occupied residence, unavailable for public visitation.

Dennis Wilson’s House

Location: 14400 Sunset Boulevard, Pacific Palisades, California

14400 Sunset Boulevard was Dennis Wilson’s home in the late 1960s. Described as a large log-cabin-style home, Wilson hosted the Manson Family here for a summer to great expense.

Formerly the hunting lodge of Will Rogers, the three-acred estate at 14400 Sunset Boulevard was surrounded with manicure lawns and a swimming pool in the shape of the state of California.

In 1968 Dennis Wilson picked up two hitchhikers, Patricia Krenwinkel and Ella Jo Bailey and took them to his home at 14400 Sunset Boulevard. Dennis later went to a recording session. When he returned around 3 a.m. he was met in his driveway by Charles Manson. Wilson asked “are you going to hurt me?” Manson replied, “Do I look like I’m going to hurt you, brother?” Manson then dropped to his knees and kissed Wilsons’s feet.

Dennis became fascinated by Manson and his followers. The Manson Family lived with Dennis for a period of time. The Manson girls cleaned the house, shopped and cooked. At night they provided Wilson with sexual entertainment but Wilson soon put a stop to this. A lot of the Manson girls had a number of venereal diseases and Wilson took all the girls to his doctor for penicillin shots. Susan Atkins teeth needed to be fixed and Wilson paid the dentist bill.

The Family ended up costing Dennis up to $100,000, today that would be around $700,000. Most of the money was spent on car repair bills, clothes, food and penicillin shots. When Wilson finally had enough of Manson’s freeloading Wilson simply moved out of his own house.

After the murders in the summer of 1969, Wilson commented, “I’m the luckiest guy in the world, because i got off only losing my money.”

Beach Boy Mike Love:

“Dennis lived in a luxurious house, on three acres, with a swimming pool and plenty of guest rooms. Guileless about others, indifferent about his own possessions, Dennis was all too happy to allow Manson and his girls to move in, use his charge cards, take his clothes, eat his food, and even drive his Mercedes. Beyond what was spent on his credit card, Dennis paid the medical costs for the women who were treated for sexually transmitted diseases. His house was ransacked. Furniture, clothes, guitars, stereo equipment, and gold records – they took most everything of Dennis’s that wasn’t nailed down. They also totaled his Mercedes and crashed his ferrari. By summer’s end, Dennis figured he had lost about $100,000 to his roommates.”

Further reading: A Beach Boy 17 Girls and Charles Manson

The Yellow Submarine

Location: 21019 Gresham St, Canoga Park, California

In need of a place to rehearse music, Manson rented a house in Canoga Park. The building earned its nickname the “Yellow Submarine” because of it’s yellow paint.

The one-story ranch-style house sat on about an acre of ground, had four bedrooms, two baths, a big kitchen and a large front room that made a great studio for music sessions. It was only about a thirty-minute drive from Hollywood, and only a few miles from Spahn’s Ranch.

Within a couple of weeks after the Family moved in the house had become a dope pad and a place to dismantle stolen cars. It wasn’t long before the acre at the house became too small. The Family was growing in numbers and stolen car parts started piling up and attracted the attention of the police. Eventually the Family moved back to Spahn Ranch. The Yellow Submarine was demolished in the early 70’s.

From Manson in his own words:

Of course, we still had people at Spahn, mostly girls who spelled each other looking after George. But things at Spahn were too disorganized for us to do any serious rehearsing. Finding a place that would accommodate fifteen or twenty kids wasn’t an easy task. I finally found a house on Gresham Street in Canoga Park.

Spahn’s Movie Ranch

Spahn Ranch, built in 1920, also known as Spahn’s Movie Ranch, was a ranch used for filming Western movies and TV-shows. Episodes for Bonanza, The Lone Ranger, and Zorro were filmed at Spahn’s Ranch.

Spahn Movie Ranch was the home of the Manson Family during the Tate/LaBianca murders. In late 1969, Robert Hendrickson filmed the Manson Family at Spahn Ranch for his Oscar nominated documentary Manson.

By 1968, when Manson arrived at the ranch, George Spahn was 80 years old and nearly blind. Spahn allowed out-of-work stuntmen and ranch hands to live on the property in return for labor. Manson and his followers fit right in and did chores and helped run the horse-rental business, George Spahn primarily made money by renting horse rides through the property.

But at the ranch several ranch hands disapproved of the new tenants, repeatedly warning Spahn about Manson. A ranch hand named Donald “Shorty” Shea, would eventually be killed by members of the family.

Raid

On August 16, 1969, around 6:00 am, the Los Angeles County Sheriffs Department raided Spahn Ranch. They were looking for stolen cars not knowing they had the Tate/LaBianca killers in reach. The sheriff’s report states they found Manson hiding beneath the building marked “Saloon”. Manson was laying face down in the dirt between the foundation timbers. As he crawled out and stood up a stolen credit card fell out of his pocket. Manson and most of the family members were arrested and booked at the Malibu police station.

Police also seized and impounded vehicles at the property, mostly VW dune buggies, a couple of motorcycles and, most importantly, a 1959 Ford (registration plate GYY 435). The Ford had provided transportation for the Tate and La Bianca murders.

Spahn Ranch Raid Report (external)

Wildfire

In September, 1970, a wildfire destroyed all of Spahn Movie Ranch’s sets and structures. After the fire, George Spahn moved back to North Hollywood, to live with the wife he had left years before. Today the site is part of California’s Santa Susana Pass State Historic Park.

Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

Quentin Tarantino recreated Spahn Ranch for the upcoming movie Once Upon A Time In Hollywood. Burt Reynolds was originally cast as George Spahn, but he passed away weeks before he was scheduled to shoot his scenes. The film was originally scheduled to be released on August 9, 2019, the 50th anniversary of the Tate murders, before Sony changed the release date to July 26, 2019.

Spahn Ranch Image Gallery