Andrew Cunanan, 27, the socialite wannabe, began a killing spree in the spring of 1997. Over a three-month period, he murdered five men, including fashion icon Gianni Versace and real estate developer Lee Miglin. Cunanan’s crimes have the elements of a movie plot: high society, sex, celebrity, and murder. This might explain the enormous popularity of The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story, the second season of the FX true crime anthology television series.
Andrew Cunanan had no criminal record before he went on a killing spree in the middle of 1997. In the end, he had claimed the lives of five victims, the most famous of which was prominent fashion designer Gianni Versace. Cunanan committed suicide eight days later using the same gun he used on Versace. In doing so, he achieved what he always wanted, to be famous and remembered.
He also left behind a mystery to be unraveled. Who was Andrew Cunanan? Why did he suddenly turn into a spree killer?
Cunanan always said he wanted fame without having to work for it. But there are lots of people in the world like that…and most of them don’t become murderers to achieve their goal.
Cunanan didn’t leave a suicide note behind, so it’s impossible to know what his motives were, but this Andrew Cunanan wiki attempts to gain insight into who he was and why did what he did.
Who Was Andrew Cunanan, Gianni Versace’s Killer?
Andrew Phillip Cunanan was, according to friends, a lazy genius who wanted to be famous at any cost. As history shows us, he accomplished just that.
Cunanan was born in National City, California on August 31, 1969. He was the youngest of four children, Christopher, Elena, and Regina Cunanan.
His father, Modesto “Pete” Cunanan, a Navy veteran turned stockbroker, was known for being prestige-conscious. His mother, Mary Anne Schillaci, was Italian-American and a devout Catholic.
The family lived a comfortable life. And it’s fair to say that Andrew was treated differently than his siblings.
“He was my father’s pride and joy,” his brother Christopher said.
At the age of 10, Christopher recounted, Andrew read the family’s entire set of encyclopedias and memorized it. They could quiz him about anything in it and he’d know the answer.
“He got everything he needed,” his sister Elena added. “My dad gave him a sports car. He had the master bedroom. He had his own bath and everything.”
Genius Level IQ
Andrew Cunanan is alleged to have had an IQ of 147. For comparison, Einstein and Stephen Hawking both had IQs of 160—meaning, Cunanan was exceedingly bright.
Because he was treated differently, Cunanan was the only child from the family who attended the prestigious The Bishop’s School in ritzy La Jolla, California.
The school was attended by students that came from rich and powerful families; much wealthier than his. To fit in, Cunanan would tell elaborate lies about his family’s background. He told them he was Philippine royalty and, on other occasions, said his father was an Israeli millionaire and a Fifth Avenue aristocrat.
Cunanan was also openly gay as a teenager. He once showed up at a school function in a red patent-leather jumpsuit he claimed was a gift from a much older man.
Going to The Bishop’s School and running in wealthy social circles set the tone for the kind of life Cunanan wanted after graduating from high school.
“Andrew’s self-worth was tied to the finer things in life, what [people] could do for him. Being accepted in high society and by wealthy people was what he expected. If he didn’t get them, he was lost,” said Candice DeLong, a former FBI criminal profiler.
In high school, Cunanan was voted “Most Likely to Be Remembered” but it is alleged that he always felt like an outsider. In his yearbook, Cunanan wrote, “Apres moi le deluge,” which, when translated into English means, “After me, the flood.” How true those words were. Or maybe it’s more apt to say that he was the flood.
19 Was a Turning Point for Andrew Cunanan
Two major events happened to Andrew Cunanan that had a big impact on him. After graduating in 1987, he attended the University of California at San Diego, where he majored in history.
During his freshman year, his father fled to the Philippines because he said he was going to be arrested for misappropriating more than $100,000 from his stock-brokerage business. This claim is open for debate though, as the San Diego police have no record of any charges against him.
And, for the next six years, Modesto sent Mary Ann his $900 a-month Navy pension. He stopped sending it in late 1995, after which, she was forced onto welfare and food stamps. She eventually moved to Eureka, Illinois to be near her son, Christopher. She lived in public housing.
After Modesto fled, Andrew visited his father in the Philippines for about a month. When he came back, he described the squalor his father lived in.
At this time, Andrew Cunanan had become known for being a regular at local gay bars and restaurants; dating much older, wealthier men who supported him financially.
Cunanan’s religious mother found out around this time that he was gay. The rest of his family already knew, but Mary Ann did not. The mother and son had a heated argument. In a telling moment of violence, Andrew threw her up against a wall, dislocating her shoulder.
Move to San Francisco
It wasn’t long after this that Cunanan dropped out of school and moved to San Francisco, where he lived off of older gay men. Mary Ann was known to call him a “high-class male prostitute,” but none of his friends believe he ever rented by the hour.
However, his wealthy lovers gave him money and clothes and paid for his restaurant tabs. Jesse Cappachione, manager of the Midnight Sun bar in the gay Castro district, remembered that from 1990-1992, a well-dressed, articulate Cunanan turned up almost every night to buy rounds of drinks at the bar.
“He was boisterous and always seemed to be smiley,” Cappachione said. “His laugh was very distracting. You could hear it in almost every corner of the room.”
Andrew Cunanan Meets Sugar Daddy Norman Blachford
Cunanan met Norman Blachford, then 58, in 1994. Blachford made millions from selling his business and was retired, living in Phoenix, Arizona and part-time in La Jolla.
Blachford had just lost his partner of over 25 years to AIDS and was lonely.
Cunanan, meanwhile, was known for targeting older, wealthier men he wanted to meet.
“Andrew did his homework,” said San Diego restaurateur Michael Williams. “He would investigate older, wealthy gay men who didn’t have families, and he would place himself in those circles. And that was his living.”
Blachford saw to it that Cunanan lived large. His young lover lived in a seaside condominium and a hillside house in La Jolla. He was given $2,500 a month and was provided with a 1996 Infiniti I30T.
Blachford flew Cunanan to Paris and Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat in the South of France in June 1996. They also flew to New York to see Broadway shows.
“Andrew always had an air about him,” says waiter Jim Allen, who knew Cunanan in San Diego. “’Out of my way —I’m really busy right now. I’m wearing very expensive clothes.’ He had one of those large, checkbook-size wallets. He’d open it, and you’d see rows of platinum credit cards. They were all in his name.”
It wasn’t enough for Cunanan, though. The young man complained to friends about how cheap Blachford was, and suggested he was doing his lover a favor by being with him.
An Expensive Miscalculation
Andrew Cunanan was getting restless. While the two were in Southampton for a week in the summer of 1996, he took off for several nights and went to numerous gay house parties. When the couple got back from their vacation, Cunanan threatened to leave Blachford unless he bought him a $125,000 Mercedes convertible, flew him first-class, raised his allowances, and wrote him into Blachford’s will.
It was an expensive miscalculation.
Blachford refused Cunanan’s demands and packed his bags. The older man didn’t beg him to stay. Instead, Cunanan was out on the street, without a “benefactor,” the lifestyle he craved, or a lover.
He had everything and ended up with nothing. Cunanan moved into a small apartment in Hillcrest, the center of San Diego’s LGBTQ scene. He also dove into crystal meth until he was left with nothing.
He was alone, getting a little older, and wealthy older men paid weren’t paying as much attention to him. His star had faded. It was during this period of self-doubt and depression that Cunanan started his killing spree.
Modesto: An Ambitious Man Who Left His Family
Modesto Cunanan was originally from Baliuag in the Philippines but he joined the Navy shortly after immigrating to the U.S. He met his future wife in Long Beach in 1961, at a bar where she worked as a waitress.
They married later that year and had four children. But their relationship became rocky. She claims he was physically abusive. And he said that Mary Ann cheated and that Elena wasn’t his child. While Andrew slept in the master bedroom, Modesto slept on the couch.
Mary Ann suffered from postpartum depression a