Just read about this crime on Pinterest yesterday..This murder happened in August 1969 the same month as the much more famous Sharon Tate/La Bianca murders.I don't remember ever hearing about this stalker crime. My grandmother was a huge Lennon Sisters fan and I grew up watching them on Lawrence Welk.

This story illustrates the dark side of celebrity...

San Francisco ChronicleAugust 13, 1969 - pg. 3

Los Angeles

William Lennon, 53, father of the singing Lennon sisters, was shot to death yesterday as he was leaving the golf range where he worked as a pro.
A suspect, described as about 6 feet, 2 inches tall, with a heavy growth of beard and brown but sun bleached hair, escaped in a car.

The man was waiting in the parking lot of the Marina Del Rey golf range and jumped out from behind another car as Lennon approached shortly after noon, a witness said.


The witness said the man pulled a gun and he and Lennon struggled over it.
Other witnesses said Lennon appeared to know the gunman, who swore at Lennon. Lennon swore back.

Then Lennon shouted, "No, no don't do it. Help, help."

Bill broke away and started toward the entrance to the parking lot," the witness said. "The man fired, hit him once, Bill staggered and ran toward a corner fence. The man fired again and hit him in the back. Bill crawled around the fence, the man ran up to him, put the gun to the side of his head by his ear and fired again."


The man ran across the street to another parking lot, threw the gun into the trunk of a car, jumped in and drove off.

Lennon's brother, Jimmy, said, "The killer could be one of those kooks who insist, after seeing the girls on television, that one of them is in love with him. It could be one of those crank callers. There are so many kooks.

Police checked with the Secret Service about a man who allegedly wrote a letter to former President Johnson making threats because he could not get permission to marry one of Lennon's daughters. Officers described the man, whom they would not identify, as a mental patient from Colorado.

Lennon, father of 11 children, worked as a pro at the driving range's golf shop and was president of the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce.

Lennon also managed the careers of his famous singing daughters, Diane, Peggy, Kathy and Janet, who were star attractions for years on the Lawrence Welk television show.

The Lennon Sisters Wikipedia

In 1969, the sisters were set to star in their own variety show, Jimmy Durante Presents the Lennon Sisters Hour. However, six weeks before the show premiered, (12 August) tragedy struck the family. Their father, William Lennon, was shot and fatally wounded in the parking lot of the Venice Golf Course in Marina Del Rey where he worked.

He was only 53. The murderer, a delusional stalker named Chet Young, believed himself married to Peggy and was convinced that Mr. Lennon stood in his way of his "marriage" to Peggy and had to be eliminated.

Two months later, Young used the same weapon on himself to commit suicide. The sisters discovered an unopened letter containing a cut out of their father, a picture of a gun pointed at his head, and the words "High Noon" (the time of the murder).

(Source, Dr. Doreen Orion, I Know You Really Love Me) The sisters were devastated by the death of their father and in the wake of the murder, their new show, Jimmy Durante Presents The Lennon Sisters Hour lasted only one season and was canceled by ABC. retrokimmer@gmail.com


Unknown said...

Milkman Bill was our milkman. He worked for Edgemar Farms Dairy. I used to get up early in the morning to read the papers before my dad. I must have been 8 or 10. I'd meet Milkman Bill at the back door and he would let me come with him in the truck and do the last block of his rounds - AND - he would sort of let me "drive" the truck down a little hill at what felt to me like a hunnertmilesanhour! Bill and the missus had eleven kids and, for a block a couple of times a week, he had one more. I'll never forget him.

Anonymous said...

I love his story about my Grandpa! Thank you so much for sharing it. I was only 4, when he was killed, so these stories make him more "alive" for me. Julie Cathcart Riddle

Janelle said...

I vaguely remembered the details in this horrible crime. How sad for the entire family, still several young children in the home. Mr. Lennon is the one who taught the sisters the 'ropes' that enabled them to become the stars they still are today. My mother used to think I looked like Janet, I had reddish hair like she did, and even had those very short bangs which I hate looking back on LOL. I'm looking forward to seeing their show in Branson this Christmas, it's been a long time since I saw them at Worlds of Fun in Kansas City.

Retro Kimmer said...

Thanks for sharing your memories!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...