10050 Cielo Drive
|10050 Cielo Drive|
The road to the villa
|Architectural style||French Country|
|Location||Benedict Canyon, Los Angeles|
|Floor area||4,600 sq ft (430 m2)|
|Design and construction|
10050 Cielo Drive is the street address of a former luxury home in Benedict Canyon, a part of Beverly Crest, north of Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, California, where the Charles Manson "family" committed the Tate murders in 1969.
The residence had been occupied by various famous Hollywood and music industry figures. In 1994, the house was demolished and a new house was constructed on the site and the street address itself was changed to 10066 Cielo Drive.
The original house was designed by Robert Byrd in 1942 and completed in 1944 for French actress Michèle Morgan. It was extremely similar, but not exactly identical, to the house which sat on its own plateau directly below 10050, 10048 Cielo Drive, which was often referred to as the Twin House. They were originally built on land called The Bedrock Properties and were built at the same time.
The French country-style structure was located on 3 acres (1.2 ha) at the end of a cul-de-sac on Cielo Drive in Benedict Canyon, an area west of Hollywood in the Santa Monica Mountains that overlooks Beverly Hills and Bel Air. The hillside structure faced east and featured stone fireplaces, beamed ceilings, paned windows, a loft above the living room, a swimming pool and a guest house, and was surrounded by thick pine trees and flowering cherry.
Michèle Morgan, French actress for RKO Radio Pictures, had architect Robert Byrd design and J.F. Wadkins build the luxury home resembling an early 19th-century European style farmhouse. The house was completed in 1941, with an address of 10050 Cielo Drive. Beverly Hills, California. By the end of World War II, Morgan had returned to France and in 1946 Lillian Gish moved in with her mother while filming Duel in the Sun (1946).
Rudolph Altobelli, a music and film industry talent manager, bought the house for $86,000 in the early 1960s and often rented it out. Residents included Cary Grant and Dyan Cannon (it was their honeymoon nest in 1965), Henry Fonda, George Chakiris, Mark Lindsay, Paul Revere & The Raiders, Samantha Eggar, and Olivia Hussey. Charles Manson visited the house in late 1968, when it was occupied by couple Terry Melcher (the son of actress Doris Day) and Candice Bergen with roommate/talent-manager Roger Hart. The couple split in early 1969, with Melcher relocating to Malibu.
In February 1969, Roman Polanski and his wife Sharon Tate began renting the home from Altobelli. On August 9, 1969, the home became the scene of the murders of Tate, Wojciech Frykowski, Abigail Folger, Jay Sebring, and Steven Parent at the hands of the Manson "Family". William Garretson, Altobelli's caretaker and an acquaintance of Parent, lived in the guest house behind the main house and was unaware of the murders until the next morning, when he was taken into custody by police officers who had arrived at the scene. He was later cleared of all charges.
Altobelli moved into the house just three weeks after the murders and resided there for the next 20 years. During an interview on ABC's show 20/20, he said that while living there, he felt "safe, secure, loved and beauty." He sold the property for $1.6 million in 1989.
The final resident of the original house was the musician Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails. Reznor began renting the house in 1992 and set up a recording studio there. This studio, dubbed "Pig" (sometimes called "Le Pig") in a reference to murderer 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 (1994). Reznor moved out of the house in December 1993, later explaining "there was too much history in that house for me to handle."
Reznor made a statement about working in the Tate house during a 1997 interview with Rolling Stone:
While I was working on Downward Spiral, I was living in the house where Sharon Tate was killed. Then one day I met her sister. It was a random thing, just a brief encounter. And she said: "Are you exploiting my sister's death by living in her house?" For the first time the whole thing kind of slapped me in the face. I said, "No, it's just sort of my own interest in American folklore. I'm in this place where a weird part of history occurred." I guess it never really struck me before, but it did then. She lost her sister from a senseless, ignorant situation that I don't want to support. When she was talking to me, I realized for the first time, "What if it was my sister?" I thought, "Fuck Charlie Manson." I don't want to be looked at as a guy who supports serial-killer bullshit.
In 1994, the owner demolished the house and built a replacement home 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. The new property does not resemble the residence in which the Tate murders occurred.
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