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:
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