The Manson Family’s Youngest Member Tells All: ‘If He Could Kill Strangers, He Could Kill Me’
Dianne Lake was 14 when she was recruited by Charles Manson. She opens up to Tarpley Hitt about her journey to the Manson Family, the Tate-LaBianca murders, and more.
This month marks 50 years since eight black-clad hippies snuck into a series of upscale Los Angeles homes and carried out the nine killings now known as the Manson Family Murders. Between July 25 and Aug. 9, 1969, the followers of cult leader and failed musician Charles Manson murdered pregnant starlet Sharon Tate and her four guests, stabbed a supermarket executive and his dressmaker wife, and gored a Ph.D candidate with a sword.
Half a century out, the attacks continue to resurface in pop culture. Last month, Quentin Tarantino reimagined the Manson murders in his ninth feature, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, which hit theaters on July 26. Now, a new documentary, Manson: Music of an Unsound Mind, examines the late criminal’s modest musical skill and latent ambitions to be a less preppy Beach Boy.
Dianne Lake, a retired special education teacher from Northridge, California, made cameos in both—as herself in the documentary, and as a character, played by actress Sydney Sweeney, in Tarantino’s picture. At 14, Lake was the youngest member of the Manson family, and the key witness in the trials that sent Manson and several followers to prison.