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.

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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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

Recipe For Murder

In the spring of 1968 Beach Boy drummer Dennis Wilson picked up two young female hitchhikers. This was the first of several seemingly unimportant encounters which would ultimately lead to a recipe for murder.

The Hitchhikers
On their way to the Santa Monica Mountains Dennis Wilson and a friend picked up two hitchhikers, Patricia Krenwinkel and Ella Jo Bailey. A month later Wilson saw the same two girls again. This time he took the girls to his Hollywood mansion at Sunset Boulevard. The girls stayed a couple of hours. Wilson told them about his involvement with the Maharishi and they told him they too had a guru, a guy named Charlie.

Continue Reading >>>

A Beach Boy 17 Girls and Charles Manson

dennis-wilson-and-charles-manson-newspaper-story
Wilson talks about Manson in a 1968 interview. Click image to enlarge

Charles Manson made the news even before the infamous Tate-LaBianca murders. Here’s Beach Boy Dennis Wilson talking about Charles Manson and the family girls in an interview in 1968, a year before the murders.

“I told them about our involvement with the Maharishi and they told me they too had a guru, a guy named Charlie who’d recently come out of jail after 12 years. His mother was a hooker, his father was a gangster, he’d drifted into crime when I met him I found he had great musical ideas. We’re writing together now. He’s dumb, in some ways, but I accept his approach and have learnt from him. He taught me a dance. The Inhibition. You have to imagine you’re a frozen man and the ice is thawing out. Start with your fingertips, then all the rest of you, then you extend it to a feeling that the whole universe is thawing out.”

The Hitchhikers
In 1968 Dennis Wilson picked up two hitchhikers, Patricia Krenwinkel and Ella Jo Bailey. Later Dennis noticed the same two girls hitchhiking again. This time he took them to his home at Sunset Boulevard. Dennis then went to a recording session. When he returned he was met in his driveway by Charles Manson. Dennis became fascinated by Manson and his followers. The Manson Family lived with Dennis for a period of time at his expense, costing Dennis up to $100,000 in money, cars, clothes, food and penicillin shots for the Family’s persistent gonorrhea.

A Recipe For Murder; Short Version
1. Patricia Krenwinkel and Ella Jo Bailey meet Dennis Wilson.
2. Charles Manson is introduced to Dennis Wilson.
3. Dennis Wilson meets Charles “Tex” Watson.
4. Dennis Wilson introduces Tex Watson to Charles Manson.
5. Dennis Wilson introduces Terry Melcher to Charles Manson.
6. Terry Melcher and girlfriend Candice Bergen live at 10050 Cielo Drive.
7. Manson tried to set up a record contract with Terry Melcher.
8. Dennis Wilson and Terry Melcher cut ties with Manson.
9. Terry Melcher and Candice Bergen move out of Cielo Drive.
10. Roman Polanski and Sharon Tate move in to 10050 Cielo Drive.

A Recipe For Murder Longer Version

Fun Fact
This wasn’t the first time Manson made the newspaper before the murders: Nine Nude Hippies Arrested.