Charles Manson was a constant dark presence in pop culture for decades after his arrest in the gruesome Tate-LaBianca murders. New York Times
Charles Manson was a constant dark presence in pop culture for decades after his arrest in the gruesome Tate-LaBianca murders. New York Times

Ailene Voisin

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Ailene Voisin

Was Charles Manson a Kings fan? Jerry Reynolds says letter ‘shook me up’

By Ailene Voisin

avoisin@sacbee.com

November 22, 2017 07:44 PM

UPDATED November 25, 2017 08:20 AM

Kings television analyst Jerry Reynolds, who coached the team on two different occasions in the 1980s, said the death of convicted murderer Charles Manson brought back some unsettling memories.

Reynolds, who served as interim coach for 60 games in 1987, received a fan letter from the imprisoned cult figure, who was serving life in prison for the gruesome 1969 deaths of actress Sharon Tate and eight others.

“I was in the office one day and I get this letter that was addressed to me in care of the Kings,” he recalled. “I could tell it was from a prison, but didn’t much think of it. I think it was from San Quentin. I open it up and it was handwritten, printed, and said something like, ‘I enjoy watching the Kings and I have a few thoughts about the team.’ He included a return address and wrote, ‘I hope to hear from you,’ or something to that effect.”

Though initially suspicious, Reynolds said he concluded the letter, indeed, was from the murderer.

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“It really shook me up, to be honest,” he said before the Kings-Lakers game Wednesday at Golden 1 Center. “I kept it a few days and then threw it away. I didn’t even show it to (Kings) security because that was the only letter I received, though looking back on it now, I probably should have. I don’t even think I told my wife (Dodi) about it until much later.”

Reynolds said he closely followed the news of Manson’s passing last Sunday at a hospital in Kern County, adding, “I remember thinking, ‘I know he is in prison and will never get out, but I don’t need this friendship. We don’t need to be pen pals.’ You never know.”

Cult leader Charles Manson dies at 83

Charles Manson, who directed his followers to brutally kill the actress Sharon Tate and six others in August 1969, died at the age of 83. He spent almost 50 years in prison for the murders.

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Ailene Voisin: 916-321-1208, @ailene_voisin