Once Upon a Time in Hollywood included one of the most infamous cults in history: Charles Manson’s family, with some well-known faces portraying some of the members of this group. Four years after the release of The Hateful Eight, Quentin Tarantino came back with a new film, titled Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. Just like he did with Inglourious Basterds, Tarantino retold real-life events and added some fictional characters to create his own version.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood has received some mixed responses and caused plenty of controversy, mostly aimed at the portrayals of real-life figures, such as Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie) and Bruce Lee (Mike Moh). The film also included some infamous characters like Charles Manson (Damon Herriman) and his “family” – the members of his cult and the ones responsible for Sharon Tate’s murder. Although the film changed that part of history, the whole Manson family made an appearance, and most members were seen briefly when Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) visited Spahn Ranch.
The Manson cult mostly just appeared in the background of the movie, but still has some recognizable names and faces playing them. Here are all the actors who appeared in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood as part of Charles Manson’s family.
Dakota Fanning as Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme
Lynette Fromme didn’t take part in Sharon Tate’s murder, but she did have a criminal record. George Spahn, owner of Spahn Ranch, where the Manson family lived, gave her the nickname “Squeaky”, and as mentioned in the film, she regularly slept with him. Fromme was later convicted for an assassination attempt on President Ford. Dakota Fanning, who rose to fame as a child star in films like I Am Sam and Man of Fire, has taken on a variety of roles ever since, most recently in the series The Alienist, and her role as Squeaky in Once Upon A Time In Hollywood is unlike anything she’s done before.
Margaret Qualley as “Pussycat”
Pussycat is a composite character: her nickname is based on Kathryn “Kitty” Lutesinger’s, but she’s modeled after Ruth Ann Moorehouse, both Manson family members. Manson would constantly send Moorehouse into the city to seduce men with money and bring them to the ranch, just like Pussycat does with Booth – although he wasn’t wealthy at all. Margaret Qualley has previously appeared in Palo Alto, The Nice Guys, Native Son, and most recently in the miniseries Fosse/Verdon.
Austin Butler as Charles “Tex” Watson
Tex Watson was Charles Manson’s second-in-command and was involved in the murders of Sharon Tate, Jay Sebring, Abigail Folger, and Wojciech Frykowski, as well as Leno and Rosemary LaBianca. Unlike other members, Watson didn’t have a criminal record prior to joining the group. Austin Butler is best known for his roles in teen TV shows such as Zoey 101 and iCarly, and is set to play Elvis Presley in Baz Luhrmann’s biographical film about the King of Rock and Roll.
Madisen Beaty as Patricia Krenwinkel
Patricia Krenwinkel was part of the group involved in the Tate-LaBianca murders, and following the death of Susan Atkins, she is now the longest-incarcerated female in the California penal system. Madisen Beaty played a young Daisy Fuller in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and had roles in The Master, Other People, and most recently in The Clovehitch Killer. She also played Talya Banks in The Fosters, but Once Upon A Time In Hollywood is her biggest movie yet.
Mikey Madison as Susan “Sadie” Atkins
Susan Atkins was another member of the Tate-LaBianca murder group. Like Krenwinkel, she was initially sentenced to death, but was consequently sentenced to life in prison. She died in 2009. In Once Upon a Time in Hollywood she was the one who convinced the rest of the group to go after Rick Dalton instead. Mikey Madison has mostly appeared in short-films and had a role in the drama film Nostalgia. She’s currently part of FX’s Better Things.
Maya Hawke as Linda “Flower Child” Kasabian
Although she was part of the group that went after Tate and company, Linda Kasabian didn’t take part in the murders – instead, as the only member of the group with a valid driver’s license, she drove the rest to Tate’s house and stayed outside the whole time, which was changed in Once Upon A Time In Hollywood as she fled the scene. She was a key witness during the trial and testified against everyone in exchange for immunity. Maya Hawke made her screen debut as Jo in BBC’s adaptation of Little Women but got her big break as Robin in the third season of Stranger Things.
Victoria Pedretti as Leslie “Lulu” Van Houten
Leslie Van Houten was convicted for the murders of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca, which took place the night after the Tate murders. She was sentenced to death but was ultimately sentenced to life in prison. Victoria Pedretti is best known for her role as Eleanor “Nell” Crain in The Haunting of Hill House, and will play Love Quinn in the second season of You as well as Dani in The Haunting of Bly Manor.
Lena Dunham as Catherine “Gypsy” Share
Catherine Share wasn’t involved in the Tate-LaBianca murders but was convicted for another reason: trying to intimidate a witness against testifying. She later served five years in prison for armed robbery. She has completely disassociated herself from Manson’s family and now speaks out against cults. Lena Dunham is best known as the creator and lead of the series Girls, and among her recent projects is the series Camping, and she's one of the bigger cameos among Once Upon A Time In Hollywood's Manson cult.
James Landry Hebert as Steve “Clem” Grogan
Steve Grogan was sentenced to death for the murder of Donald “Shorty” Shea, ranch-hand at Spahn Ranch, where Grogan lived before the Manson family moved in. However, the judge stated that he was “too stupid and too hopped on drugs” to make decisions on his own, and was then sentenced to life in prison. He was released on parole in 1985. James Landry Hebert has had several small roles in films and TV shows, including Stranger Things season 2, where he played Axel.
Kansas Bowling as Sandra “Blue” Good
Sandra Good is one of Manson’s most devoted followers. She was indicted for “conspiracy to send threatening letter through the mail” and sentenced to 15 years in prison, but was paroled after serving 10. Good continues to show her loyalty to Manson. Kansas Bowling is also a director, screenwriter, and cinematographer, and is currently working on her second feature film. Her directorial debut, B.C. Butcher, was released in 2016.
Sydney Sweeney as Dianne “Snake” Lake
Not much is known about Dianne Lake and her involvement in the Manson family, but she was portrayed in the film by Sydney Sweeney, who has appeared in a number of TV shows such as 90210, Grey’s Anatomy, and Pretty Little Liars. Among her biggest roles are Emaline Addario in Everything Sucks!, Eden Spencer in The Handmaid’s Tale, Alice in Sharp Objects, and Cassie Howard in Euphoria.
Harley Quinn Smith as “Froggie”
There’s no record on a Manson family member referred to as “Froggie”, nor about the character being a composite one, but Harley Quinn Smith had a small role in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood as this one. Smith appeared in an episode of Supergirl and in the films Holidays and Yoga Hosers. She will also appear in Kevin Smith’s Jay and Silent Bob Reboot as Millennium “Milly” Faulken.
Danielle Harris as “Angel”
Angel is yet another character that is unknown if she’s based on a real person or not. Still, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood is Danielle Harris’ return to big films after having mostly small roles in various TV shows and films as well as voice roles (most notably Debbie Thornberry in The Wild Thornberrys). Harris is mostly known for playing Laurie Strode’s daughter Jamie Lloyd in Halloween 4 and Halloween 5, and Annie Brackett in Rob Zombie’s Halloween and Halloween II.
Dallas Jay Hunter, Dyani Del Castillo, and Parker Love Bowling as Delilah, Pebbles, and Tadpole
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood was also a platform for new talents, such as Dallas Jay Hunter, Dyani Del Castillo, and Parker Love Bowling, who played Manson family members Delilah, Pebbles, and Tadpole, respectively. It’s unknown if these characters are based on real life people or not. Hunter has mostly appeared in short films, as well as Parker Love Bowling, who had a role in her sister’s directorial debut B.C. Butcher. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is Dyani del Castillo’s first credited role.