How Beach Boy Dennis Wilson Spent $100K Supporting Charles Manson’s 'Family'
"Dennis was the perfect mark – a famous, well-connected entertainer who could help a musical neophyte get discovered," writes Mike Love, now 75
In the summer of 1968, Beach Boys drummer Dennis Wilson had split from his wife and was living in a former hunting lodge on Sunset Boulevard. One night, he was pulling into his driveway when he saw lights on inside his rental house. Friends regularly stopped by but Wilson didn’t recognize the small man with the long dark hair and scruffy beard who walked out of his back door towards him.
Unnerved by the stranger, Wilson asked him if he was going to hurt him.
“Do I look like I’m going to?” the man responded, and then dropped to his knees and kissed Wilson’s feet.
“That was how Dennis met Charles Manson,” Beach Boy Mike Love writes in his new memoir, Good Vibrations, about the odd friendship between Manson, a then aspiring rock star, and Wilson, which is excerpted exclusively in this week’s issue of PEOPLE.
In his book, Love recounts how his cousin and former band mate had an extremely generous streak and an insatiable sexual appetite – and was more than happy to open his home to Manson and his followers.
“Dennis was the perfect mark – a famous, well-connected entertainer who could help a musical neophyte get discovered,” writes Love, now 75. “Dennis lived in a luxurious house, on three acres, with a swimming pool and plenty of guest rooms. Guileless about others, indifferent about his own possessions, Dennis was all too happy to allow Manson and his girls to move in, use his charge cards, take his clothes, eat his food, even drive his Mercedes.”
But, after a few months, Wilson had enough of Manson and his “family.”
To read more about Mike Love’s recollections of Charles Manson, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.
“Beyond what was spent on his credit card, Dennis paid the medical costs for the women who were treated for sexually transmitted diseases,” Love writes. “His house was ransacked. Furniture, clothes, guitars, stereo equipment, gold records – they took most everything of Dennis’s that wasn’t nailed down. They also totaled his Mercedes. By summer’s end, Dennis figured he had lost about $100,000 to his roommates, and even for him, that was too much.”
Love writes that Wilson, who later drowned to death, never did kick Manson out of his house. Instead, he moved out.
Manson and his followers moved on to Spahn Ranch and later slaughtered seven people, including pregnant actress Sharon Tate, along with Leno and Rosemary LaBianca, in August 1969.