The murder of fashion designer Gianni Versace shocked the world 20 years ago, and the motive for the crime has still not been found. Versace was shot dead by a serial killer named Andrew Cunanan, who lived off the money of older, wealthy men. Cunanan, who was homosexual, killed at least four other men before firing two fatal shots at Versace. Cunanan committed suicide eight days later by shooting himself in his right temple before the police could nab him.
Gianni Versace’s murder was a terrible blow to his famous family and the fashion world. What made it even more tragic was that there seemed to be no motive for his slaying by a man who turned out to be a serial killer.
Versace was an Italian fashion designer and the founder of Versace, an international fashion house that produces fragrances, accessories, clothes, makeup, and home furnishings. Gianni Versace also designed costumes for films and the theater.
He was one of the first designers to realize the potential of fashion in the Western music world. He became a personal friend of many pop and rock stars like Eric Clapton, Madonna, Duran Duran, Cher, Elton John, and Sting. He also befriended many other celebrities like Princess Diana and Naomi Campbell. A question that people ask even today is, “Who killed Gianni Versace?” We will tell you all we know about the murder of Versace right here.
Shot Dead at His Front Door
Versace was openly gay, and he and his partner Antonio D’Amico were regulars on the international party scene. On the fateful day of July 15, 1997, in Miami, Florida, Versace went for a morning walk on Ocean Drive. Normally he had his assistant go to the coffee shop to get his morning newspapers, but on this day he decided to go himself.
He returned from his walk and was on the steps of his Miami Beach mansion when he was shot dead by a man who was later identified as Andrew Cunanan. Cunanan shot Versace twice and was pursued by a witness but managed to get away. The police launched a hunt for Cunanan but were unable to nab him.
Spinner of Fantastic Tales
So, who was Cunanan? Cunanan was a serial killer who murdered at least five people during a three-month period in mid-1997.
Born on August 31, 1969 in National City, California to an Italian-American mother and a Filipino-American father, Cunanan was the youngest of four children. At school, he was very bright and talkative and tested with an IQ of 147.
However, when he became a teenager, he regularly started telling lies and fantastic tales about his family and his personal life. He also used to change his appearance according to what he felt was attractive at that given moment.
Angry Young Homosexual
When he was 19 years old, his family discovered that Cunanan was homosexual. While arguing with his mother over his sexuality, he threw her against a wall and dislocated her shoulder.
After dropping out of college, he settled for a while in the Castro District of San Francisco, California. There, he regularly went to upmarket gay bars, sold himself for sex to rich older men, and indulged in petty theft and drug dealing.
In his final years, Cunanan lived as a hustler who became friends with older, wealthy men and spent their money to impress people in the gay community. He would pay the bill at restaurants and talk about social events he had attended at clubs to make an impression on his acquaintances.
Of note is the fact that in 1996, Cunanan was dumped by one of his millionaire friends.
Gianni Versace’s Murder Still a Mystery
Following Gianni Versace’s murder, the police were after Cunanan as he was also wanted in connection with several other homicides. But before they could arrest him, on July 23, 1997, Cunanan killed himself. He died from a self-inflicted gunshot to his right temple in the upstairs room of a Miami houseboat, where he had been hiding from the police.
Despite a deep investigation, Cunanan’s motive for killing Versace was never discovered. There was widespread speculation in the press and public that Cunanan’s HIV-positive status fueled his killing spree, but an autopsy declared him to be HIV negative.
Cunanan left behind no note or personal belongings. His motive for killing Versace is as much of a mystery today as it was two decades ago. In 1997, the Miami Beach Police chief said, “I don’t know that we are ever going to know the answers.”
Versace was Cunanan’s fifth and last known victim. It is very likely that the world will never know the reason behind Gianni Versace’s murder.