Updated: Jul 31, 2020
Fifty years ago today, on the night of August 8, 1969, four members of the Charles Manson "Family" invaded the rented home of actress Sharon Tate and movie director Roman Polanski at 10050 Cielo Drive in Los Angeles. They murdered Tate, who was 8½ months pregnant, along with three friends who were visiting her friend and former lover Jay Sebring, a noted hairstylist; Polanski's friend and aspiring screenwriter Wojciech Frykowski; and Frykowski's lover Abigail Folger, heiress to the Folgers coffee fortune and daughter of Peter Folger. Polanski was not present on the night of the murders, as he was working on a film in Europe.
The murders were committed by Tex Watson, Susan Atkins, and Patricia Krenwinkel under the direction of Charles Manson. Watson drove Atkins, Krenwinkel, and Linda Kasabian to the residence on Cielo Drive. Manson was a would-be musician who had tried to get a recording contract with record producer Terry Melcher, who was a previous renter of the house with musician Mark Lindsay and Melcher's girlfriend Candice Bergen. Melcher had snubbed Manson, leaving him disgruntled.
Manson was allegedly displeased with the manner in which the murders were carried out, so the following night, August 9th, he took the four murderers plus Leslie Van Houten and Steve "Clem" Grogan on a drive "to show them how to do it". He considered a number of murders and attempted one over the course of the next few hours, then he ordered Kasabian to drive the group to 3301 Waverly Drive. This was the home of supermarket executive Leno LaBianca and his wife Rosemary, co-owner of a dress shop. The house was located in the Los Feliz section of Los Angeles next door to a house at which Manson and Family members had attended a party the previous year. Manson and his followers murdered both Leno and Rosemary LaBianca in the early morning hours of August 10.
Here is a clip of the initial CBS News broadcast the following morning, as details were still emerging:
An NBC News clip from December, 1969, after the Manson Family members were arrested and charged with the murders:
Forty years after the murder, ABC reporter Al Wiman, who first covered the story, recalls the grisly details of the events that took place and the discovery of evidence surrounding the murders:
A short clip from a 60 minutes segment with observations from the officer, Bob Burbridge, who discovered the victims recalls the sheer brutality of the murder scene:
And finally, 50 years later, another ABC News report with more details surrounding the murders, including the media and public reaction and the investigations that followed:
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