Who Was Charles Manson? What Did He Do? His Bio, Career, Love Life, & More

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Who Was Charles Manson? What Did He Do? His Bio, Career, Love Life, & More
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Charles Milles Manson (Charles Manson) was an American criminal who led the Manson Family, a cult based in California, in the late 1960s. He was a convicted first-degree murderer and a tactician who conspired to commit murder for the deaths of seven people, including celebrities.

Manson spent more than half his life in correctional institutions. He though never fully adapted to civil life. Throughout his life, he committed crimes like thievery, rape, and killings. Additionally, he also convinced the masses to join on his agendas.

Take a quick yet detailed look at the origin of one of the most infamous real-life villains of America, Charles Manson. Also read fully about his personal life, his marital life, girlfriends, never-heard-before children who still claim that they are children, and more.

Charles Manson’s Mother Was Still In Her Twins When She Gave Birth To Him

Manson was born Charles Milles Maddox on November 12, 1934, in Cincinnati, Ohio. His mother, Kathleen Manson-Bower-Cavender, née Maddox (1918–1973), was just 16 when she birthed him in the University of Cincinnati Academic Health Center in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Charles Manson's Kathleen Manson-Bower-Cavender, née Maddox (1918–1973), was just 16 when she birthed him in the University of Cincinnati Academic Health Center in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Charles Manson’s birth name was Charles Milles Maddox. He was born on November 12, 1934, in Cincinnati, Ohio. Source: Manson’s Biography

Charles Mason Never Knew His Biological Father 

Some court documents insinuated that Manson’s biological father was Colonel Walker Henderson Scott Sr. (1910–1954) of Catlettsburg, Kentucky. Kathleen Maddox had filed a paternity suit that resulted in an agreed judgment in 1937.

Scott worked in local mills and had a local reputation as a con artist. He often told Manson’s mother that he was an army colonel, although “Colonel” was merely his given name.

Kathleen had told Scott that she was pregnant. To which he responded saying he had been called away on army business. After several months, Manson’s mother realized he had no intention of returning. The Ohio-born criminal thus may have never known his biological father.

Charles Manson Mother Was A Drunkard And Had Also Gone To Prison 

When Kathleen was pregnant with Charles, she married William Eugene Manson (1909–1961), a “laborer” at a dry cleaning business. She often drank and would leave Charles with multiple babysitters. She divorced William on April 30, 1937. Charles though retained William’s last name, Manson.

On August 1, 1939, the police arrested Luther and Kathleen for assault and robbery. Consequently, they each received Kathleen and Luther five and ten years of imprisonment.

Manson then grew up in the home of an aunt and uncle in McMechen, West Virginia. After Kathleen got out of the prison, she and her son moved to Charleston, West Virginia. The authorities again arrested Manson’s mother for grand larceny but she survived jail time.

The family later relocated to Indianapolis. There Kathleen met a guy named Lewis and married him in August 1943.

What Charles Manson Did When He Was Young?

Manson once revealed that when he was nine, he set his school on fire. When he was young he often got in trouble for truancy and petty theft. Manson spent his adolescence in the Gibault School for Boys in Terre Haute, Indiana, a school for male delinquents run by Catholic priests. Due to the harsh punishments Manson later fleed Gibault and slept in the woods, under bridges, and wherever else he could find shelter.

After Gibault Manson went to his mother but she would return him to Gibault again. Ten months later, he ran away to Indianapolis where he committed his first known crime by robbing a grocery store in 1948.

His early job was delivering messages for Western Union. In 1949, he had his first arrest but a sympathetic judge sent him to Boys Town, a juvenile facility in Omaha, Nebraska.

He Was A Bully Victim

Just a few days after entering Boys Town, Manson and fellow student Blackie Nielson obtained a gun and stole a car. They then began committing armed robberies. Manson had his second detainment two weeks later during a nighttime raid on a Peoria store. The court ordered him to go to the Indiana Boys School, a strict reform school.

At the school, other students would often allegedly rape Manson and beat him. Analysts suggest it might have been then when he developed insanity. Young Manson eventually escaped the school with some other students and soon was robbing filling stations while attempting to drive to California in stolen cars. They, though, would meet the police in Utah. Manson then went to Washington, D.C.’s National Training School for Boys. He had an above-average IQ of 109.

The First Time Charles Manson Went To Jail 

In October 1951 Manson went to Natural Bridge Honor Camp. Two years later in January 1953, he raped a boy at knifepoint and was caught. Manson then went to the Federal Reformatory in Petersburg, Virginia. There Kathleen’s son committed further “eight serious disciplinary offenses, three involving homosexual acts.” He, henceforth, was received a time at Chillicothe, Ohio. He got out in May 1954 and started to live with his aunt and uncle in McMechen.

He Married A Hospital Waitress 

In January 1955, the Cincinnati-born future criminal married a hospital waitress named Rosalie Jean Willis. After three months police arrested him in Los Angeles for stealing a car in Ohio. Manson received a federal charge and in March 1956 was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment at Terminal Island in Los Angeles.

Charles supported Rosalie and himself through car thefts and by working as a part-time auto repairman.
Charles Manson was the husband of Rosalie Jean Willis. She and Manson married in January 1955 in West Virginia. Together, they had one son, Charles Manson Jr. Source: Biography

Rosalie gave birth to Charles’ son Charles Manson Jr while he was still in prison. In March 1957, his mother informed him in prison that Rosalie was living with another man.

Charles Manson And Rosalie Jean Willis’ Son Killed Himself

Charles’ first son with Willis, Charles Manson Jr. also legally changed his name to Jay White during his adulthood. He allegedly did this to distance himself from his father’s legacy. All That’s Interesting reports White, in 1993, stopped along a lonely stretch of Kansas highway. There he used a gun to put stop to his own life. While nobody knows why Willis and Manson’s only child killed himself, people believe it had something to do with White’s embarrassment for his relationship with his criminal father.

His Second Wife Candy Stevens

After divorcing Willis and getting out of prison, the Manson family head married Candy Stevens or Leona Rae Musser. She initially was working as a prostitute for him. Rae also had once lied about her pregnancy to sway judge and jury to pardon her killer husband.

Candy Stevens is the former wife of the notorious criminal Charles Stevens. Stevens married Manson in the late '50s but separated from him in the early '60s. Together, they had one child.
After divorcing his first wife, Willis Charles Manson married Candy Stevens or Leona Rae Musser.

He got free but the police would later again arrest him committing a new crime. Charles then tried to thwart investigations by marrying Stevens. As such the law forbade wives to testify against their husbands. Candy and Willis’ ex-husband married in 1959.

Charles nevertheless ended up testifying against her then-husband and he went to prison again. She complied with the police so that she could get her own charges dropped.

Then in early 1961, Stevens welcomed her and Charlie’s son, Charles Luther Manson. About three years later, in January 1964, Leona and Manson officially separated. Candy got full custody of Charles Luther Manson.

What Happened To Charles Manson And Candy’s Son 

In addition to Charles Manson Jr., Shanon Tate’s murderer had another child from his second wife Candy. His name was Charles Luther Manson who also changed his name to Jay Charles Warner, according to Film Daily. Although he, by and large, stayed out of the media attention, sources reported that he too died of unknown causes in 2007.

After Candy, Manson Got Engaged To A 26-Year-Old Woman

In November 2014, Manson got engaged to a 26-year-old Afton Elaine ‘Star’ Burton while still in prison.

Afton Burton had been visiting Manson in prison for at least nine years. Additionally, she maintained several websites that claimed his innocence.
In November 2014, Candy Stevens’ ex-husband, Charles Manson got engaged to 26-year-old Afton Elaine ‘Star’ Burton while still in prison. Source: Polaris Evelyn

Burton, a Bunker Hill, Illinois native had been visiting Charles in prison for at least nine years. Additionally, she also advocated for his innocence through several websites.

Afton and Charles, however, couldn’t married because Manson’s license expired in February 2015.

Later, reports surfaced stating Burton had only wanted to marry Manson so she and a friend could later use his corpse as a tourist attraction after his death. She, on the other hand, explained on her website that she couldn’t marry the notorious man because he fell ill.

Manson nonetheless died on November 19, 2017 (aged 83) in Bakersfield, California without having the opportunity to marry Burton.

Is Charles Manson Still Alive? 

On January 1, 2017, the prison staff took Manson to Mercy Hospital in downtown Bakersfield. He said he was suffering from gastrointestinal bleeding. As per sources, Manson was becoming very ill and TMZ reported that his doctors considered him “too weak” for surgeries.

He returned to prison on January 6, 2017, with a little relief on his health.

In March 2018, the Kern County Superior Court in California gave Manson's body to Jason Freeman, the grandson of Charles Manson.
Charles Manson died from cardiac arrest resulting from respiratory failure on November 19, 2017. He was also suffering from colon cancer. Source: Corcoran Prison, Kings County, California.

On November 19, 2017, Charles Manson died from cardiac arrest resulting from respiratory failure, brought on by colon cancer, at the hospital.

After that Manson’s grandson, Jason Freeman said he wanted to take possession of Manson’s remains and personal effects.

In March 2018, the Kern County Superior Court in California gave Freeman in regard to Manson’s body. The grandson cremated Charles on March 20, 2018.

On February 7, 2020, Manson’s pen-pal, Michael Channels, and Freeman petitioned to California courts attempting to establish the heir of Manson’s estate.

Charles Manson Movies

Throughout his life up until his death and even after, genres like movies, music, documentaries have occasionally spoken about Mansion to whatever extent. There are over dozens of documentaries totally narrating the story of the notorious killer.

Some notable such works include the 2017 Charles Manson: The Final Words, by Rob Zombie and James Buddy Day. In like manner the other projects are Inside the Manson Cult: The Lost Tapes, I Lived with a Killer: The Manson Family, Charles Manson: The Funeral, Manson: The Women, among others.

Additionally, there are more than 20 films that either directly or indirectly tell the story of Charles Manson and his murders. Some of them are David Fincher’s The Mind Hunter, Tarantino’s Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, American Horror Story: Cult, The Haunting of Sharon Tate, and so on.

Some Other Facts About Charles Manson

  • Charles Manson’s criminal charge includes 9 counts of murder including film actress, Shannon Tate and 1 count of conspiracy to commit murder.
  • In the ’60s, while in prison, Manson developed likings for Scientology.
  • Again in the ’60s, Manson targeted individuals for manipulation who were emotionally insecure and social outcasts. With them, he formed a cult called the Manson family. Each member would go on to commit mild to heinous crimes ranging from theft, robbery, to murder.


Narayan Shankar, who goes by the name David, is a seasoned writer and editor, who has a passion for covering the entertainment industry. He has years of experience writing content, especially in the entertainment niche. He is currently an editor and writer for celebsuburb.com along with other websites under our organization named Pandora Group of Companies.