Some people will do anything for love. What Andrew Cunanan loved was attention. In the better restaurants and gay bars of San Diego, he was the guy with the bellowing laugh who always picked up the tab. At parties thrown by the rich and closeted older men he cultivated, he was the boy toy who could hold forth about the best hotels in Morocco, the priciest delicacies in Tokyo. He also loved the trappings of money. He heard magic in words like Lexus, Rolex…Versace.
In July, when Cunanan shot and killed the Italian fashion designer, he gained both the attention he craved and a perverse link to that magical combination of fame and money. Cunanan liked to tell people that he came from a rich family or had his own business. What he really had was a sideline in drug dealing and a thing for S&M.
Before reaching Gianni Versace, Cunanan claimed four other victims in a two-week spree that began on April 27: ex-Navy lieutenant Jeffrey Trail, 28, a close friend; Minneapolis architect David Madson, 33, a former lover; Chicago developer Lee Miglin, 72, whose relationship to Cunanan, if any, remains a mystery; and William Reese, 45, a cemetery caretaker in New Jersey, whose pickup truck Cunanan stole for the last leg of his journey. Then he carried out the murder that would make him a household name, as well as a bogeyman who frightened millions with the thought that he could be just around the corner. “A fascinating, terrible creature of our time,” says writer Dominick Dunne, who named a character Cunanan in his latest novel, Another City, Not My Own, about the O.J. Simpson trial.
As a fugitive, Cunanan behaved more like the quarry in a romantic pursuit. At nearly every crime scene, he left obvious clues. Cornered at last on a Miami Beach houseboat, he shot himself to death. His father, ex-stockbroker Modesto, is convinced that Andrew was a pawn in some vast conspiracy. “Things just do not add up,” he laments. But perhaps the explanations are not all that mysterious. Cunanan loved to be sought after. And, for a few convulsive weeks last summer, he was the most wanted man in America.