Convicted in 1971 of seven murders in the late summer of 1969, including that of eight-month-pregnant actress Sharon Tate (wife of director Roman Polanski) and their friends Voytek Frykowski, Jay Sebring and Abigail Folger, as well as Steve Parent, who was visiting Tate's groundskeeper, William Garretson. Tate's unborn baby boy was buried as Paul Richard Polanski.
Has been denied parole each time his hearings have come up.
Two of his songs were recorded by other artists. "Cease to Exist", retitled "Never Learn Not to Love", was recorded by The Beach Boys prior to the infamous murders, appearing on their album "20/20" (Manson sold the song outright to drummer Dennis Wilson on the condition that the lyrics not be changed, and was furious enough to threaten Wilson's life when he heard the changes). "Look At Your Game, Girl" appeared later (unindexed) on the Guns N' Roses CD "The Spaghetti Incident?".
A failed folksinger and songwriter, several recordings of his works are commercially available, most of which were recorded in prison (as a convicted felon, he receives no money from the sale of these recordings. Any royalties are paid into a victims-rights fund; among its recipients are Voytek Frykowski's son Bartek Frykowski (Bartlomiej Frykowski)).
Was taught how to play guitar by Alvin Carpis while they were both in prison.
Was present at the Leno LaBianca and Rosemary LaBianca murder scene, the night after Sharon Tate's death, but left before the murders were committed, leaving them up to his followers. His charges were for masterminding the murders.
His mother, Kathleen Maddox, was age 15 when he was born. His father is unknown, but believed to be Colonel Scott, possibly a light-skinned African-American. She won a child-support order against Scott, but collected almost no money from him.
Other artists recording or quoting Manson compositions include GG Allin ("Garbage Dump"), Scramblehead ("The Fires Are Burning"), The Lemonheads ("Home Is Where You're Happy" and a quotation from "Big Iron Door" in their song "Clang Bang Clang"), and Marilyn Manson (a quotation from "Mechanical Man" in their song "My Monkey").
Son Valentine Michael Manson (nicknamed "Pooh Bear"), with Manson Family member Mary Brunner, born circa 1969. The child was placed with an adoptive family upon Manson's arrest.
Manson received his last name from William Manson, who was briefly married to his mother.
When Brian Warner became a rock star, he adapted a stage name that was a combination of a Silver Screen starlet (Marilyn Monroe) and that of a notorious criminal mastermind (Charles Manson). Brian Warner, of course, was Marilyn Manson. Ironically, Monroe and Manson were also aliases--Manson's real name is Charles Maddox, and Monroe's real name was Norma Jean Mortensen.
Created the "Land Armada", a fleet of armoured dune buggies that was meant to protect his "Family" at Spahn Ranch during the war of "Helter Skelter".
He started an organization called ATWA (Air, Trees, Water, Animals). It is not an environment conservation society.
His "Family' has rubbed shoulders with "Church of Satan", the "Process Church of Final Judgment", the "Circe Order of Dog Blood" and even the "Foue Pi Movement".
His mother was an alcoholic and sometime prostitute who once left him with a barmaid for a pitcher of beer.
Though only charged with two murders, he claims to have committed 35 and some authorities think even that may be an understatement.
Was found to have an IQ of 121 (above average/superior) while at McNeil Island Penitentiary, while his IQ, on a previous occasion, had been measured at 109 (average/above average).
He misinterpreted The Beatles' songs "Helter Skelter" and "Blackbird" to have hidden messages of an impending race war that would destroy the world and leave Manson and his "Family" to inherit the earth. In reality, "Helter Skelter" referred to a fairground ride.
Never blinks when speaking. This was used by Anthony Hopkins in his Hannibal Lecter movies after he watched videos of Manson interviews.
Did not audition for a role on The Monkees (1966) in 1965, despite stories to the contrary (and also did not meet comedian Mike Warnke that year, as was later claimed). Manson was in prison serving a ten-year sentence for forgery and mail theft in 1965, and was not paroled until 1967.
Met record producer Terry Melcher, famous for his work with The Byrds and other groups, through Dennis Wilson. Melcher recorded Manson once in a studio and once at Spahn Ranch with a mobile unit, and considered signing him to a contract, but lost interest when he saw Manson lose his temper with a Family member. Manson and Tex Watson (Charles Watson) had visited Melcher's rented house on Cielo Drive (where Sharon Tate and Roman Polanski were later tenants) and, contrary to popular opinion, Manson knew that Melcher had moved out when he sent his family members there to murder its residents; the house was picked because the Family knew the layout of the place, and Manson wanted to "send a message" to Melcher.
While he is one of the most famous and despised criminals of the 20th century, Manson is not known to have ever personally killed anyone.
When Manson was nine he was caught stealing and sent to reform school. Later, at age 12, he was caught stealing again and sent to the Gibault School for Boys in Terre Haute, IN, in 1947. He spent nearly a decade in prison (1958-1966), and returned again in 1971 to serve his life sentence.
Portrayed by Steve Railsback in Helter Skelter (1976), Jeremy Davies in Helter Skelter (2004), Ryan Kiser in House of Manson (2014), and Damon Herriman in Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood (2019).
From the beginning of his notoriety, popular culture appeared around him, which he ultimately became an emblem of insanity, violence, and the macabre.
During the trial following the Tate-LaBianca murders, then-Pres. Richard Nixon publicly called Manson obviously guilty. When the papers printed this, Manson held the paper up in front of the jury, hoping that it would necessitate a retrial. The retrial never happened.
Convicted of first-degree murder of musician Gary Hinman and Donald Jerome Shea. [July 1969]
By age 32, he had already spent more than half his life either in reform school or prison. In all, he spent almost 60 of his 83 years behind bars.