Vincent Bugliosi

Despite remarkably successful careers as both lawyer and true-crime author, Vincent Bugliosi's enduring fame came as prosecutor in the infamous murder trial of Charles Manson in 1970. Born Vincent T. Bugliosi, Jr. on ... Read more »
Born: 08/18/1934 in Hibbing, Minnesota, USA


Actor (11)

JFK Assassination: The Definitive Guide 2013 - 2014 (TV Show)


Call It Democracy 2004 (Movie)

Himself (Actor)

Orwell Rolls in His Grave 2004 (Movie)

Himself (Actor)

First Monday 2002 (Tv Show)


Manson Family Murders 1998 - 1999 (TV Show)


Tracey Takes On... 1995 - 1999 (TV Show)


The O.J. Civil Trial 1996 - 1997 (TV Show)


Charles Manson: Journey into Evil 1995 - 1996 (TV Show)


On Trial: Lee Harvey Oswald 1986 - 1987 (TV Show)


Manson 1971 (Movie)

Himself (Actor)
Writer (5)

Parkland 2013 (Movie)

(from book: "Four Days in November") (Source Material)

And the Sea Will Tell 1990 - 1991 (TV Show)

Book as Source Material

Helter Skelter 1975 - 1976 (TV Show)

Book as Source Material

Helter Skelter (Movie)

(Book Author)

Till Death Us Do Part (TV Show)

Book as Source Material
Producer (2)

Helter Skelter 2003 - 2004 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Helter Skelter (Movie)

(Executive Producer)
Executive (1)

We the Jury 1996 - 1997 (TV Show)

Production Executive


Despite remarkably successful careers as both lawyer and true-crime author, Vincent Bugliosi's enduring fame came as prosecutor in the infamous murder trial of Charles Manson in 1970. Born Vincent T. Bugliosi, Jr. on August 18, 1934, he was raised in Hibbing, Minnesota by his parents, Italian immigrants who worked in the mercantile trade and on the railroad. Bugliosi was an industrious boy who supported himself through a variety of jobs, but also found time to hone a tennis game that brought him a state championship trophy in his mid-teens. When his family relocated to Los Angeles, Bugliosi attended Hollywood High School before earning a tennis scholarship to the University of Miami; there, he gained a bachelor's degree in business administration before studying law at UCLA. After graduation in 1964, Bugliosi joined the Los Angeles County District Attorney office, where he developed a reputation as a skilled prosecutor, winning 21 convictions in murder jury trials without a single loss. On the strength of that track record, Bugliosi was selected in 1970 to lead the state's case against Charles Manson, a petty criminal turned cult leader whose followers were accused of a pair of gruesome murders that electrified the city of Los Angeles and the nation. Manson's acolytes had allegedly shot, stabbed and hung seven people on August 8, 1969, including actress Sharon Tate, whose husband was director Roman Polanski. Over the course of the 10-month trial, Bugliosi successfully argued that Manson had convinced four of his followers - Susan Atkins, Leslie Van Houten, Patricia Krenwinkle and Charles "Tex" Watson - that the murders would spark a race war between blacks and whites, from which they would emerge as the new rulers of society. Despite intense media scrutiny and the bizarre courtroom antics of Manson and his disciples, Bugliosi secured guilty charges on first-degree murder for all of the defendants, who were initially slated to be executed for their crimes before the California Supreme Court commuted their sentences to life in prison in 1972. Bugliosi left the L.A. district attorney's office that same year, and enshrined his role in the Manson trial by publishing <i>Helter Skelter</i> (1974), a harrowing account of the crimes and the trial. A television miniseries adaptation, "Helter Skelter" (CBS 1976), starred Steve Railsback as Manson. The book became the best-selling true-crime book in publishing history, and led to a successful second career as a non-fiction writer with such Edgar Award-winning titles as <i>Till Death Do Us Part</i> (1978) and <i>Reclaiming History: The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy</i>. Bugliosi also mounted several campaigns for the district attorney's office and the Democratic nomination for California state senator between 1972 and 1976, but failed to secure either position. Despite his considerable success as both a prosecutor and author, Bugliosi remained inextricably linked to the Manson case throughout his life and even following his death from cancer on June 6, 2015, with obituaries invariably listing him as "Manson prosecutor."


University of Miami


University of California, Los Angeles




Wins second Edgar for <i>Reclaiming History: The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy</i>


Criticizes the O.J. Simpson trial in <i>Outrage: The Five Reasons O.J. Simpson Got Away with Murder</i>


Earns a No. 1 best-seller with <i>And the Sea Will Tell</i>


Wins an Edgar for his second book, <i>Till Death Do Us Part: A True Crime Mystery</i>


Pens <i>Helter Skelter</i>, which became the best-selling true crime book in history.


Leaves L.A. district attorney's office.


Secures guilty verdicts for Manson and four co-defendants.


Named chief prosecutor in the Charles Manson trial.

Bonus Trivia


Wrote extensively in opposition to the Supreme Court's decision regarding the 2000 presidential election, and later called for murder charges against George W. Bush for the deaths of 4,000 soldiers in the invasion of Iraq.


After leaving the L.A. district attorney's office, he went into private practice and defended three murder cases, including Jennifer Jenkins, whose involvement in the murder of Eleanor "Muff" Graham formed the basis for his best-selling book And the Sea Will Tell (1991).


Turned down the opportunity to defend Jeffrey MacDonald of Fatal Vision fame, and Dan White, who murdered Harvey Milk, on the grounds that he did not want to represent anyone he believed to be guilty of murder.


Wrote all of his books in longhand and relied on microfilm archives for research. He did not own a computer.


He successfully prosecuted 105 of 106 cases in his career as a prosecutor.


Portrayed on screen four times: by George Di Cenzo in "Helter Skelter" (1976), by Richard Crenna in "And the Sea Will Tell" (1991), by Arliss Howard in "Till Death Do Us Part" (1992) and by Bruno Kirby in the 2004 version of "Helter Skelter."