How Charles Manson Ruined Dennis Wilson's Life

By Sarah Norman | October 31, 2023

Charles Manson Was The Boogeyman Of Southern California

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Beach Boy Dennis Wilson in 1971. Source: Wikimedia Commons

In the late 1960s, it was probably not a good idea to hang around with Charles Manson. Dennis Wilson didn't know that -- but nobody did, at least, not the way we know today. Dennis Wilson, brother of Brian Wilson, was a co-founder of The Beach Boys; Charles Manson, on the other hand, is perhaps the most famous (certainly the most infamous) cult leader in American history. On his orders, Manson's followers -- the "Manson Family" as they were known -- carried out the Tate-Labianca murders in 1969, leaving seven people dead, including actress Sharon Tate. The group's goal was to realize Manson's apocalyptic vision of a massive race war, a scenario he described as "Helter Skelter."

No One Knew How Dangerous Manson Was

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(shindig magazine)

We're aware of all this today, but back in the spring of 1968, when Dennis Wilson let the Manson Family into his life and his home, the group's darkest deeds were still a year off. While living with Dennis Wilson, Charles Manson and his swarm of STD-infested scavengers relentlessly took advantage of Wilson’s kindness. They destroyed his home, his cars, and his credit. Wilson, who died in 1983 after a long struggle with addiction, never recovered from his time spent living with the family, and blamed himself for the deaths that occurred after the Manson Family moved from his home in the Palisades to the emptiness of Spahn Ranch.