Monday, May 24, 2010
Lynette Alice "Squeaky" Fromme
Lynette Alice "Squeaky" Fromme attended Redondo Union High School in Southern California, but according to the school's archivist (yes, they have an archivist), it is uncertain as to whether she actually graduated. Evidence presented in Jess Bravin's amazing biography, Squeaky: The Life and Times of Lynette Alice Fromme, indicates that she never wore the cap and gown. Indeed, the one and only high school yearbook appearance for the future Manson girl and would-be presidential assassin is found the 1965 edition of The Pilot. Specifically, her junior year portrait and a photo with the Theater Club. According to Bravin, she was also very active with the school's literary magazine, Opus (later re-branded as The Compass). In the 1966 edition of the publication, Ms. Fromme is favorably mentioned in the preface and two of her poems are featured therein.
From 1960 to 1963 Ms. Fromme attended Orville Wright Junior High School in Westchester, California where she befriended future Saturday Night Live star Phil Hartman (who was tragically murdered by his wife in 1998). Hartman and Fromme shared column space in the June 20, 1963 edition of the school's newspaper, The Skyliner. On page 3, under an article entitled "A9's Select Most Popular Seniors," Hartman, in a possible joke or typo, is named "Happy-go-lucky girl" and Fromme shared "Personality Plus" honors with someone named Lisa Wilhoyt.
Even earlier, the talented Ms. Fromme was a member of the Westchester Lariats, a popular dance troupe that performed in a variety of venues including on such national television programs as The Dinah Shore Show, The Lawrence Welk Show and on a program hosted by future Manson antagonist, Art Linkletter.
It was in 1967, on the Venice Beach boardwalk, that Fromme met the man who would soon dub her "Squeaky." Charles Manson's first words to the 18-year-old were "What's the problem?" Fromme has been at Manson's side--at least in spirit--ever since. She did not participate in the infamous Tate-LaBianca murders, but she did become Manson's main cheerleader during the ensuing trial. And, along with other members of The Family, she carved an 'X' in her forehead. After the guilty verdicts she and the other members of the cult shaved their heads.
By 1975 Fromme was sharing an apartment in Sacramento with another Manson girl, Sandra Good. They still worshipped their leader and had taken up his cause on the environment. They had also taken to wearing strange nun-like robes (Good wore the color blue and Fromme wore red). On September 5th of that year Fromme went to Capitol Park with a loaded .45 Colt pistol in a thigh holster under her robe (in the later Newsweek cover shot, she looked like a demented elf). But before she could fire at President Ford, she was restrained by Secret Service agent Larry Buendorf. Seventeen days after the assassination attempt, another woman (Sara Jane Moore) tried to kill the hapless Ford. Fromme was eventually sentenced to life in prison.
In 1987 Fromme made a brief escape from Alderson Federal Prison Camp in Alderson, West Virginia (Sara Jane Moore did this, too) after hearing erroneous news that Manson had testicular cancer. She was recaptured two miles from the prison. She would not see freedom again until her parole from a Fort Worth, Texas prison on August 14, 2009. She had served 34 years.
Fromme, now in her sixties, currently lives with her boyfriend in Marcy, New York. She was portrayed (as a blonde!) by 24's Mary Lynn Rajskub in the 2004 version of Helter Skelter with Jeremy Davies playing a particularly menacing Charles Manson.