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2004: CBS Revisits 'Helter Skelter'
May 16, 2012  | By Christy Slewinski
 
On this day in 2004, CBS presented the miniseries, Helter Skelter, a film based on the 1969 murder spree that left seven people — including actress Sharon Tate, coffee heiress Abigail Folger, and supermarket president Leno LaBianca and his wife, Rosemary — dead.

Jeremy Davies (Justified, Lost) portrayed convicted killer Charles Manson. Grey's Anatomy's Eric Dane co-starred as Manson's "lieutenant" Charles "Tex" Watson. Other co-stars included Clea DuVall, Allison Smith, Marguerite Moreau, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Frank Ziegler, and Bruno Kirby. Much of the film, which can be viewed online, focuses on Manson's influence over his young followers. 

Ironically, this was not the first Helter Skelter miniseries produced by CBS. The network also aired a two-part version of the story in 1976. The earlier film focused primarily on the murder investigations and subsequent trial, rather than on Manson and his "family."

Both films were based on the 1974 book Helter Skelter by Manson family prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi and Curt Gentry. It remains one of the best-selling true crime books of all time.
 
 
 
 
 
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