Sunday, July 17, 2022

Mark Ross (Aesop Aquarian) Biography

The following is a detailed biography of Mark Ross written by Gary Baum for "The Hollywood Reporter" (July 15,2022). Click the Link Below to read:

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/general-news/aesop-aquarian-life-story-manson-family-1235180433/


My Review:

I was happy to see that the author (Baum) confirmed Ross' death. For weeks, I was searching for something (that I could share publicly) as proof of his passing. This article fits the bill.

Baum does a good job of recounting Ross' wealthy upbringing in Brentwood, Los Angeles. It seems Ross rubbed elbows with several celebrities. This is contrasted with Ross' dysfunctional home life. In short, "the core issue in our family was that there just wasn’t much love". Ross' younger brother explains how Mark got into "tons of trouble". He was sent to boarding school as a problem child. But again, it was a boarding school catering to rich kids. Ross had a short stint with the Marines.

Ultimately, Ross aspired to be an actor. He held mostly small roles. To quote Baum, "He was a bit player, not a leading man, making ends meet with background work, music gigs and assorted side hustles".

Ross bumps into Susan Bartell and Madeline Cottage while they are panhandling in Santa Monica. Ross invites them to stay at his house in Venice and the rest is history.

Worthy of note regarding timeline: 
Ross became involved with "The Manson Family" following the TLB murders, but before the perpetrators were charged. "The notorious Tate-LaBianca murders had occurred the previous summer, but the culprits had not yet been apprehended"

Manson was being held on auto theft charges when Ross entered the scene. According to Baum, "Ross got to know Manson only during prison visits, which were encouraged by Family members". While being held on those auto theft charges, Manson was indicted for the TLB murders.

As we know, John Philip Haught died from a gunshot wound in Ross' apartment. To his credit, Baum invests considerable time and effort discussing several reasons why Zero's death has always been considered suspicious. I think this was a classy move, because no discussion of Zero can be complete without underscoring the questionable circumstances surrounding his death. Ross on the other hand, is much more dismissive of the murder theory, simply stating: "Perhaps it had been a game of Russian roulette, or a suicide. At least those were the theories offered to me by my housemates" (paraphrased). 

Starviego mentions on a previous post that Ross was the owner of the revolver used in Zero's death. If that is indeed the case, I feel Baum should have mentioned that information in the article. That's significant information. That might also explain why Ross is so dismissive and evasive of the murder theory?

Another thing that struck me as an oversight, is that Baum never mentions that Paul Watkins was sleeping inside Ross' vehicle when it was torched. Again, I think that's significant information. And once again, Ross is dismissive: "Maybe it (the fire) was just an accident. Mercury could well have been in retrograde".

According to Baum, Ross decided to leave (The Family) when Family members asked Ross to kill Bugliosi and the Judge. This is brand new to me. I'm not making any judgements either way, except to say, I've never heard this information shared before...

And Finally, of course, we have the famous "Manson" movie. I think it's safe to say, that Ross' connection to this famous movie is his most recognizable affiliation with "The Family".

In Baum's words:
Yet before Aesop severed ties with the Family, he claims he proposed the idea for, and brokered the necessary participation required to complete "Manson", which was nominated for a best documentary feature Oscar in 1973. The co-directors, Robert Hendrickson and Laurence Merrick — respectively, a fellow student at his acting school and the teacher of their class — have both since died. 

From there, Baum does a great job of chronicling Ross' adventures and misadventures through several more decades. I will leave that to your own reading.

Best Regards, LS

15 comments:

starviego said...


Question #1: Why would the Hollywood Reporter be doing a feature length story on a nobody like Mark Ross to begin with?

sunset77 said...

I can't tell what brand that motorcycle is from the photo, but I'd say there's a good chance its a Triumph. The dual throttle cables are hanging out of the right side of the bike dangerously, not in the holder. They can easily catch on something a cause a crash. It also appears there is no cable at all on the front brake lever on the right side of the bike, for the front drum brake. The front edge of the front fender and the fender stay just behind it look almost exactly like the fender and stay on my Triumph.

"Fonzie" on the TV show "Happy Days" rode a Triumph, although he apparently just drifted it around as actor Henry Winkler apparently didn't know how to ride a motorcycle. Evel Knievel started out riding Triumphs until Harley Davidson paid him a ton of money to ride their bikes. Steve McQueen rode a Triumph in the movie "The Great Escape" as did all the other Nazi's. While it's possible the Nazi's had Triumph motorcycles at "Luft Stalag III" I don't think it's likely. Although there was a Triumph factory in Germany at one time and the Nazi's rode many types of motorcycles, many of them captured.

My dad rode Triumphs in the 1960's with a guy named Joe Hemmis that modified them for hill climbing. There was much competition between all the brands of bikes back in those days. My uncle riding an Indian raced a guy on a Harley up a steep mountain road. The Harley guy got mad and turned around halfway up because he was so far behind. Glory Days

grimtraveller said...

starviego said:


Question #1: Why would the Hollywood Reporter be doing a feature length story on a nobody like Mark Ross to begin with?

Probably for much the same reasons we have a post about him here.
Anything to sell a story. And let's face it, he had an interesting story.

katie8753 said...

Thanks Sunset! I don't know anything about this guy...

grimtraveller said...

katie8753 said...

I don't know anything about this guy...

He was a good friend of Robert Hendrickson and was playing a leading role in a film Robert was making when he told Robert about these 'musician' friends of his that were crashing at his pad. They turned out to be members of the Family and Ross suggested Robert put aside the film he was making and do one on these friends of his, and their leader, who was in jail......

sunset77 said...

I just had time to read the entire article linked in this post, it's a VERY good article. I wish had time to read it about 3 more times and look up all the references. Over the years I've ran across many people "name dropping" claiming to be associated with Manson or the victims, most are pretty "sketchy". In this case though, I'd guess most if not every single reference to "famous" people is accurate. (there is film, video or photos in most instances)

I really only "know" Mark Ross from the Hendrickson film "Inside the Manson Gang", particularly near the beginning when Ross walks in on a group of Manson followers and a female voice (I think "Cappy" Gilles) says "Mark" as if she's glad to see him. I think she then awkwardly says "hello". They all appear to be pretty stoned on drugs.

Ross apparently left the Manson family after his van burned up, suspiciously. There is reference to Ross being in a body cast from the waist down after a motorcycle crash. I'm not surprised after seeing those throttle cables sticking out in that photo. They can catch on something and yank the handlebars to the right. He was apparently on "The Gong Show" at one point, season 1 episode 34, I haven't found video of it, (at least not yet). He was apparently associated with another "spiritual group", led by "Father Yod" That group had a "rock band", there is at least one video on YouTube of "Ya Ho Wha 13".

Also, there is reference to "relatives dying in the ovens". I've studied the Holocaust for decades, generally, people didn't "die in the ovens", they were gassed in a gas chamber first, then their corpses were incinerated in the ovens. Most in Auschwitz, over 1,000,000. The people that were forced to work in the crematoriums were called "sonderkommando" (special squad). A few of them survived and wrote books. Those are some of the saddest and most disgusting stories I've ever read in my life.

In any case, thanx for the article. I'll try to look into it more when I have more time.

katie8753 said...

Thanks Sunset & Grim.

I read thru the article and it amazes me how many young people in CA that came from rich families seemed to choose cult life instead of having money. Did he ever get any money from an inheritance?

It sounds like he was feeling comfortable with the Manson family life until they told him to go kill Bugliosi and the judge. I can see why he got an uncomfortable vibe.

LynyrdSkynyrdBand said...

Thanks Sunset.

I did a quick read-thru of the article when I first posted it.

I intend to read it more closely and write a review/synopsis when I have a chance.
Unfortunately, I've been dealing with some important family matters.

The author was certainly thorough, that's for sure.
I've found several bits and pieces of information regarding Ross (here and there) throughout the years, but I've never seen his entire story told in one place.
In that respect, it's unique.

LynyrdSkynyrdBand said...

Starviego asked:

Question #1: Why would the Hollywood Reporter be doing a feature length story on a nobody like Mark Ross to begin with?

I wouldn't consider Ross a "key player", but in total, he probably had more contact with the family than some of the other characters we've discussed at length in the past.

Some names that come to mind (as a comparison):

Alvin Karpis
Anton LaVey
Bryn Lukashevski
Cami Sebring
Charlene Cafritz
Claire Vaye Watkins
Doris Day
Frank Retz
James Willett
William Zamora
Marina Habe
Neil Young
Paul Crockett
Phil Kaufman
Samantha Geimer

To name a few...

Frank Retz and Paul Crocket might be a stretch, but you get the idea. The notion that any of those characters had more contact with "The Family" is debatable.

Lesser characters have spawned lengthy discussions both here and elsewhere.

I'm tempted to throw Winifred Chapman on that list too. Again, it's debatable, but one could make an argument for it...

katie8753 said...

Tony Dow on Leave it to Beaver died. At least I think he did. First they said he died, then they said he didn't, then they said he did.

I love that show.

katie8753 said...

If Zero's death was a suicide, why were there no prints on the gun? Wouldn't it be less suspicious if Zero's prints were on the gun? The only reason I can think of to wipe prints off the gun is to make sure the killer's prints were wiped clean.

beauders said...

Oh Katie, now I've seen it all! What detective caries around a 'digit' to prove someone (Sheila) is dead?

katie8753 said...

I know, how stupid was that? Like the Forresters are all experts on what Sheila's toe looks like. LOL. When and where did she get mauled by a bear? Last I saw of her, she was hiding out in Deacon's dump.

beauders said...

There is no way I'm going to believe Sheila got ate by a bear, unless they can get her DNA out of it's poop. The actress just signed a new contract, but maybe she is going back to The Young and The Restless, which is boring Sheila would be a plus. There's a new older Douglas, which sucks because I liked the old Douglas. How hot is it where you are in Texas, Katie. We had almost a whole week over 100 degrees, which is really for Portland. Tons of wildfires all up and down the west coast. Summer really sucks.

katie8753 said...

I didn't know they got a new Douglas. I was listening to the show but not really watching it last week. That sucks. I liked that little Douglas. He was a good actor.

It's been 100 degrees or over here almost every day since end of May with little rain. It's depressing because almost everybody's yard is dead. Hopefully September will be a little cooler.

I know it's hard on the West Coast to be hot because you're not prepared for it. Hang in there. It'll get better!