Warning: This article contains spoilers about American Crime Story: Versace.
Transitioning from the first to second episode of The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story requires a certain level of mental recalibration. The second installment in the American Crime Story anthology certainly doesn't follow a typical story format. Instead, it begins with an inciting incident: The murder of fashion designer Gianni Versace at the hands of serial killer Andrew Cunanan. Each subsequent episode goes back in time, tracing the choices Versace and Cunanan made to take them to that horrific climax in the first episode.
Since it gets pretty confusing, here's a handy timeline to keep all your major life events straight. Keep in mind, however, that what you see on ACS might not be the gospel truth — the Versace family issued an official statement calling the show "a work of fiction." Much of the show was based on a book by Maureen Orth called Vulgar Favors, which the Versace family said was "full of gossip and speculation." The book's publisher, Penguin Random House, defended the book as being a "carefully reported and extensively-sourced work of investigative journalism."
We've based the following timelines on newspaper articles and pieces of journalism, but not on Vulgar Favors.
December 2, 1936: Giovanni "Gianni" Versace is born in Reggio di Calabria, a city in Southern Italy. His mother is a dressmaker, and teaches him his craft. In 1978, when Versace is 32, he founds his namesake fashion house, Versace. By elevating his favorite models to star status, Versace is credited for building up the modern conception of the supermodel. Celebrities often sat in the front row of his fashion shows.
August 31, 1969: Andrew Cunanan, who would go on to murder Gianni Versace, is born in National City, California, to a Filipino father and an Italian-American mother. Cunanan is the youngest of four siblings. He attends the Bishop's School, a prestigious private school in La Jolla, and is voted "Least Likely to Be Forgotten." Cunanan likes to make an impression: According to a book called Miami's Criminal Past, Uncovered, Cunanan arrived to his prom wearing a red jumpsuit, a gift from his older sugar daddy.
1988: After graduating from Bishop's, Cunanan enrolls in the University of California at San Diego to study history. But during his freshman year, Cunanan's father, Modesto, flees the country for the Philippines to evade embezzlement charges. Cunanan drops out of college and pursues his father, then returns to the U.S. In the 1990s, the openly gay Cunanan socializes with San Diego and San Francisco's elite gay community. His lavish lifestyle is funded by wealthy older men. Later, his mother would call him a "high-class" homosexual prostitute.
1992: Versace buys the mansion on 1116 Ocean Drive in South Beach, Miami, in which ACS: Versace is set. The lavish house, called Casa Casaurina, was built in 1930 by the architect Alden Freeman. Versace puts his own signature touch on the house — including installing a mosaic with the Versace Medusa logo. Currently, Casa Casaurina is open to day visitors or overnight guests, who spend up to $1,400 a night.
1993: Jeff Trail, who would go on to become Cunanan's first victim, is interviewed in silhouette for a 48 Hours story about gay people serving in the armed forces. Trail had graduated from Annapolis, and served in the Navy. Cunanan and Trail were friends.
1995: Andrew Cunanan meets architect David Madsen while in San Francisco. They have a brief tryst.
April 1997: Cunanan throws a lavish going away party to signal his leaving San Diego forever. First stop, Minneapolis, where Madson and Trail both lived. Cunanan's credit cards are maxed out, and he begs the airline to advance his passage. Cunanan travels to Minneapolis, and stays with Madson. Madson had been reportedly unhappy at the idea of his acquaintance's impromptu visit.
April 27, 1997: Cunanan commits his first murder. He bludgeons the 28-year-old Jeff Trail to death, and wraps his body in Madson's Oriental rug. After the murder, he and Madson leave Minneapolis in Madson's Jeep. Madson is the initial suspect for Trail's death.
May 2, 1997: David Madson is shot three times outside of East Rush Lake, Minnesota. He was 33.
May 4, 1997: After killing Madson and Trail, Cunanan travels to Chicago, where he meets wealthy real estate developer Lee Miglin. Miglin's wife Marilyn, the owner of a cosmetics line, was away on a business trip. On May 4, Cunanan kills the 72-year-old Miglin in a brutal fashion: Miglin's corpse had been taped up, with only the nostrils exposed for air. Cunanan kills him using a garden tool.
May 9, 1997: Cunanan heads to New York in Miglin's Lexus. He stops at a Civil War veterans' cemetery in New Jersey, and kills the cemetery caretaker, William Reese. He drives to Miami in Reese's pickup truck. Cunanan, who by this time is on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted List, spends two months in Miami completely undetected.
July 15, 1997: Gianni Versace wakes up early and leaves Casa Casuarina for a coffee at the nearby News Cafe, where he is a local. As he fiddles with the keys to the iron gate on his return home, Andrew Cunanan shoots him in the back. Antonio D'Amico is the first to find his body. In the aftermath, Donatella Versace, Gianni's sister, takes over the label. Versace is 50 at the time of his death.
July 22, 1997: Versace's memorial service takes place a the Duomo in Milan, Italy. Guests include Princess Diana, Karl Lagerfeld, Luciano Pavarotti, Carla Bruni, and Giorgio Armani. Sting and Elton John perform.
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