The story of Gianni Versace and Andrew Cunanan is slated to air tonight on Dateline NBC. This week’s episode is called “The Death of Gianni Versace: A Dateline Investigation.” Dateline’s Keith Morrison will describe the events that led up to the shooting death of one of the world’s greatest fashion icons. Appearing in this episode are Allen Cumings, a former 1997 patrolman, the family of William Reese, one of Andrew Cunanan’s victims, model Beverly Johnson, and one of Andrew Cunanan’s family members.
Sunny Sweet South Beach
South Beach is a colorful place brimming with people from all walks of life. Its exotic foods and expensive lifestyles are a major attraction for the rich and famous. No doubt all of those qualities drew Gianni Versace to South Beach. He loved it with all of his heart and soul. However, his story came to a tragic end in 1997 after a fatal encounter with Andrew Cunanan, the crazed homosexual man, whose killing spree left four other people dead.
He Wanted To Be Rich And Famous, Instead, He Became Infamous
By all accounts, Andrew Cunanan came from a modest upbringing. Family members say that he seemed like a typical child growing up but was considered exceptionally smart and gifted. Andrew Cunanan’s father always encouraged him to dress well. He also stimulated Andrew’s desire for the finer things. His taste for the good life was shaped even more after attending a prestigious school, where he mixed socially with the elite.
Most people thought that Andrew Cunanan was ambitious and would become successful in life. However, his real desire was to be kept by rich gay man since he was not willing to work hard for the posh lifestyle that he desired. Although he was somewhat handsome, he wasn’t handsome enough. And his body lacked the chiseled perfection that most California and Florida gay men loved, Tim Barthel told Vanity Fair in 1997.
“He got into those circles with money and charm. Andrew was not one to get dates. He had to flash money. A good-looking guy wouldn’t look at him. He had such extreme taste in sex—S&M-wise—he’d need privacy. Meaning? It was way past normal. Whether it’d be whips or make him walk around in shackles—who knows? He’s always had bondage videos.… He was a dominator. In the early-morning hours, the nocturnal Cunanan, who usually slept from six a.m. to two p.m., was also injecting himself with drugs. But when the sex fantasies and the crack wore off, he would feel terrible.”
Andrew Cunanan loved elegance, and his favorite dessert was chocolate truffle torte with berries, according to a former friend. Authorities say that a bad breakup and the loss of his access to money caused him to spiral downward into a sea of depression. That was the state in which Andrew found himself when he began his killing spree.
Death At Gianni’s Door
Dateline NBC’s coverage will show that Gianni Versace was shot dead as he returned from a daily stroll. He had just bought coffee and a newspaper to take back to his cozy South Beach home. People who were at the scene that day say it was like something out of movie.
The dead Gianni Versace was sprawled out on the stairs, and a dead dove, which was found lying nearby, made police think that it was a mob hit at first.
According to Saturn Cycles, a book by Wendell C. Perry, Andrew Cunanan met Gianni Versace once at a party and began admiring him. In fact, Andrew wanted to be just like Versace. His failure to do so caused him such great anguish and upset that it sparked his desire to kill innocent people, authorities alleged.
On the day Gianni Versace was killed, Miami residents cried in front of his home. His body was later cremated, and his ashes were flown to Italy by his sister, Donatella Versace.
Dateline NBC will interview model Beverly Johnson, who will discuss the impact Gianni Versace had on the fashion world. According to Johnson, the Italian designer loved women’s bodies, and he loved designing sexy clothing in bold and vivid colors for them.
His designs, they say, matched his own fiery personality.
“The Death of Gianni Versace” will air on Dateline tonight at 9/8 p.m. Central on NBC. Recently, Dateline aired the case of Scott and Laci Peterson.
[Featured Image by AP Images]