George Spahn

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George Spahn
Born(1889-02-11)February 11, 1889
DiedSeptember 22, 1974(1974-09-22) (aged 85)
Spouse(s)Martha Greenholts

George Spahn (February 11, 1889 – September 22, 1974) was an American rancher who once owned the Spahn Ranch near Chatsworth, Los Angeles, California. Spahn rented the ranch to the movie industry to film Westerns.


Spahn is chiefly remembered for his association with the Manson Family, due to his tolerance of the Manson group's residence on his property. At the ranch, Spahn housed Charles Manson and his followers in the late 60s. The 1969 murders of actress Sharon Tate and six others by Manson's devotees were allegedly hatched at the Spahn Ranch.

Manson persuaded Spahn to permit "the Family" to live at his ranch. Manson ordered the women in the group to have sex with the then nearly blind 80-year-old. The women also acted as seeing eye guides for Spahn.[1][2] Spahn nicknamed all the Manson girls, including Squeaky, Sadie Mae, and Ouisch. According to Manson Family member Paul Watkins, Mansonite Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme got her nickname because of the sound she made when Spahn ran his hand up her thigh.[3] Family member Charles Watson has written that his own nickname, "Tex", was given to him by Spahn, who recognized his Texas accent.[4]

Spahn lived five years after the murders. He was married to a woman named Martha Greenholts, and lived in North Hollywood. He was eventually admitted to the Sherwood Convalescent Hospital in Van Nuys, where he died on September 22, 1974, at the age of 85. He was buried in Eternal Valley Memorial Park in nearby Newhall.[5]

The Spahn Ranch buildings and movie sets were burned down in 1970. The property was burned down again in 2005, before burning down a third time in 2016.

In popular culture[edit]

In Quentin Tarantino's film Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Spahn was supposed to be portrayed by Burt Reynolds, slated to begin shooting his role a month before he died on September 6, 2018.[6] On September 27, 2018, it was announced that Bruce Dern had taken over the role of Spahn.[7] In the 2018 film Charlie Says, Spahn is portrayed by John Gowans.[8]


  1. ^ Bugliosi, Vincent with Gentry, Curt. Helter Skelter – The True Story of the Manson Murders 25th Anniversary Edition, W.W. Norton & Company, 1994.ISBN 0-393-08700-X. oclc=15164618.
  2. ^ Watkins, Paul with Soledad, Guillermo (1979). My Life with Charles Manson, Bantam. ISBN 0-553-12788-8. Pages 34 & 40
  3. ^ Watkins, Paul with Guillermo Soledad, My Life with Charles Manson, Bantam Books, 1979. ISBN 0-553-12788-8. Page 40.
  4. ^ Watson, Tex as told to Chaplain Ray (Ray Hoekstra), Will You Die for Me?, Cross Roads Publications, Inc., 1978. Chapter 7. Archived November 19, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ Wilson, Scott (19 August 2016). Resting Places: The Burial Sites of More Than 14,000 Famous Persons (3rd ed.). McFarland Publishing. p. 704. ISBN 9781476625997.
  6. ^ Galuppo, Mia. "Burt Reynolds Did Not Shoot Role in Quentin Tarantino's New Movie". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 6 September 2018.
  7. ^ Nordine, Michael (September 27, 2018). "Bruce Dern Replaces Burt Reynolds in Quentin Tarantino's 'Once Upon a Time in Hollywood'". IndieWire. Retrieved September 28, 2018.
  8. ^ "JOHN GOWANS - Resume". Actors Access. Retrieved 2019-08-21.

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