The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story begins at the end, with the assassination of Gianni Versace — the final victim in 27-year-old serial killer Andrew Cunanan's trail. In the third episode of American Crime Story, we met Cunanan's third victim: Chicago real estate mogul, Lee Miglin. The episode dealt largely with Miglin (played by Mike Farrell) and how his death impacted his wife, Marilyn (Judith Light), and son, Duke.
Lee Miglin, the son of an Illinois coal miner, became an influential developer and is credited for inventing the concept of a "business park," those ubiquitous office plazas. His wife, Marilyn Miglin, also has an acute business sense – she started a beauty company and boutique in 1963, and laid the groundwork for a cosmetics empire that is still running today. At the time of Lee's murder, they had been married for 38 years. They had two children, Marlena Miglin (29 at the time of her father's murder) and Duke (26 at the time).
At the beginning of the episode, Marilyn is on the Home Shopping Network promoting her fragrance, Pheromone (which is still available for purchase). When Marilyn returns home, she discovers that her husband, who she had married when she was only 20, had been murdered.
After Lee's death, Marilyn threw herself into her work, overseeing what was, at the time, a $50 million business. Marilyn Miglin Cosmetics is still operating to this day, and her products — including fragrances, skincare products, and makeup – can be purchased on the Home Shopping Network. In 2018, Marilyn will have been on HSN for 25 years. Her website claims she is “among the nation's top-500 women business owners.” Like her husband, Marilyn has also left her mark on Chicago's landscape— Oak Street, where she first started her business, has been nicknamed Marilyn Miglin Way.
For the most part, Marilyn is reticent to speak about Lee's death, especially considering the media flurry the entire Miglin family endured following it. Rumors about Lee's extramarital affairs, and even whether Duke, their son, knew Cunanan back in California, swirled relentlessly. Duke Miglin, at the time, was an aspiring actor living in California. He has three film credits: Air Force One (1997), Cyberdorm (1999), and Mulligans! (1987), and none since. In May 2017, ABC reported that Duke had followed in his father's footsteps and become a real estate developer.
"We don't even think about it. We know who we are and what we stand for," Marilyn Miglin told the Chicago Tribune of the rumours.
By all accounts, Marilyn and Lee were extremely close. A year after his death, Marilyn was interviewed by the Chicago Tribune in a story about how she was faring. She said, "I lived the life of a fairy princess and I had a prince for 38 years, and then one day my prince went to war and didn't come back."
Judith Light, who plays Miglin in the show, drew upon Marilyn's strong relationship with Lee while preparing for the role. "She loved this man deeply and was completely devoted to him," Light told Vulture. "He was a man who allowed her to be all that she could be, and she was, in many ways, a woman ahead of her time. And she had a man who supported her in her endeavours. She is a great businesswoman and he was a great businessman, and they had a very connected, deeply loving relationship."
Marilyn remarried in 1999, two years after Lee's death. But tragedy soon followed. Her second husband, Naguib Mankarious, died only months after their wedding.
Years later, the Miglins still own the Gold Coast property in which Lee was murdered. "I will not let one evil force run my life...I won't acquiesce to that. Not ever," Marilyn told the Chicago Tribune. She passed the property on to her daughter, Marlena. In 2017, the Miglins' townhouse made headlines, once again — this time for a battle over the usage of one of the four-car garage's parking spaces. During divorce proceedings, Marlena Miglin's ex-husband, Tim Egan, was fighting the family for usage of the garage.
Even all these years after the tragedy, the Miglins still manage to capture Chicago's attention.