Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Vincent T. Bugliosi, author of ‘Helter Skelter’ and ‘Reclaiming History’, dies at 80


Vincent T. Bugliosi, a prosecutor who parlayed his handling of the Charles Manson trial into a career as a bestselling author, has died, his son said Monday night. He was 80 years old.

Bugliosi, who had struggled with cancer in recent years, died Saturday night, June 6, at a hospital in Los Angeles, his son, Vincent Bugliosi Jr., told The Associated Press.

Bugliosi Jr. said his father had "an unflagging dedication to justice" in everything he did.

As an author, Bugliosi Sr. was best known for “Helter Skelter,” which was his account of the Manson Family and the killings of pregnant actress Sharon Tate and six others by followers of the cult leader, Charles Manson.

Bugliosi had prosecuted Manson and his female followers, winning convictions in one of America's most sensational trials.

Vincent Bugliosi was born in 1934 in Hibbing, Minn. He attended the University of Miami at Coral Gables, Fla., on a tennis scholarship and graduated from the law school of the University of California, Los Angeles.

After the Manson trial, he wrote “Helter Skelter” with collaborator Curt Gentry, and it became one of the bestselling true-crime books of all time.

He tried running for public office and lost, tried his hand on practicing defense law but ultimately returned to writing books.

He wrote a dozen books, including the true-crime books, "Till Death Do Us Part," and "And The Sea Will Tell." His non-fiction efforts, which took on controversial subjects, included "Outrage: The Five Reasons Why O. J. Simpson Got Away With Murder," and "The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder."

Bugliosi Jr. said his father was most proud of his nearly 2,000-page examination of the Kennedy Assassination, "Reclaiming History," which took over 20 years to write.

But Bugliosi remained most associated with the Manson case for the rest of his life. Reflecting on it 40 years later, he said, "These murders were probably the most bizarre in the recorded annals of American crime...Evil has its lure and Manson has become a metaphor for evil."

Bugliosi and his wife of 59 years, Gail, had two children, Wendy and Vince Jr.

Sources: Associated Press, Washington Post, Fox News

[Editor's note: I knew Vince quite well having assisted him on his 2007 book, "Reclaiming History: The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy." He was cantankerous, volatile, and brilliant. His comprehensive book on the Kennedy case, despite the occasional and inevitable flaws, is easily the best single volume on the assassination saga ever written. His unwavering support of my own work over the years was much appreciated. For that, I remain truly grateful.]

1 comment:

Barry Ryder said...

Very sad news indeed.
My thoughts go to his family and many friends at this sad time.

Vince's enduring legacy will be 'Reclaiming History'. It truly is a masterwork. Only a keen legal mind such as his could have produced such a monumental book.
His passion for truth and justice permeates every page; his disdain for charlatans and liars is equally obvious.

Vince set - and expected - the highest standards of research and writing from all those who would seek to tackle the JFK case. He is gone but 'Reclaiming History' remains.

He will long be remembered.

Barry Ryder