Season two of American Crime Story is airing on the BBC and will look at Andrew Cunanan’s killing spree in 1997 during which he murdered five men.
His final victim was the iconic Gianni Versace, who he shot dead on his doorstep in cold blood.
Cunanan’s reign of terror and violence only came to an end after the killer took his own life using the gun he’d murdered some of his victims with.
The show is based on Vulgar Favours by journalist Maureen Orth, who covered the case at the time.
In the show it appears that Cunanan met Versace before he killed him. We look at the factual accuracy and whether this did happen in real life.
Did Andrew Cunanan really meet Gianni Versace before killing him?
It’s hard to verify this, however there are a number of accounts to suggest that a meeting could have taken place between the two.
However, Cunanan was also known to be a compulsive liar and created many fantasies which he would pass off as fact.
Orth says in Vulgar Favours: “I also had learned that he had met Versace several years earlier and that he was suspected of killing four other people, including his best friend and the only man he ever said he loved.”
Versace was indeed in San Francisco to design the costumes for Richard Strauss’ opera production Capriccio in October 1990.
The opening of Capriccio led to lots of parties being thrown in his honour including one at the nightclub Colossus with Versace visiting the VIP lounge.
In Vulgar Favours, Orth writes that Cunanan and Versace did meet in the Colossus and that there was a brief exchange.
The book reads: “[Versace] noticed Andrew standing with Eli [Gould], cocked his head, and walked in their direction. ‘‘I know you,’’ he said to Andrew. ‘Lago di Como, no?’’
“Versace was referring to the house he owned on Lake Como near the Swiss border.
“Reportedly he would often use the Lago di Como line when he wanted to strike up a conversation with someone.
“Andrew was thrilled and Eli couldn’t believe it. ‘’That’s right,’ Andrew answered. ‘’Thank you for remembering, Signor Versace’.’’
Cunanan had never been to Italy but these eye witness accounts seem to confirm an encounter.
On top of this, the killer’s mother MaryAnn Cunanan said that “Andrew met Versace through S&M sex”.
Why did Andrew Cunanan kill Gianni Versace?
Sadly, we will never know the answer to this because Cunanan committed suicide before he was caught by the police.
There have been theories involving a mafia hit and a HIV, but there’s never been a conclusive answer for the motive of Versace’s murder.
In the final press conference in the case, Miami Beach Police Chief Richard Barreto said: ‘‘The real answer to that went down with the ship, so to speak, when Andrew Cunanan committed suicide.’’
The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story will air on BBC Two tonight at 9pm.
The Assassination of Gianni Versace – Vulgar Favours by Maureen Orth, BBC Books £8.99, paperback