We’re almost to the end of the road with American Crime Story: The Murder of Gianni Versace, and that means we’re even further back in time. Welcome to the early-to-mid 1980s, when serial killer Andrew Cunanan was just a little boy trying to make his parents happy. Or better yet, he’s not even trying to do that. He just wants to be, as he puts it, “special.”
Well, in the eyes of his father, Modesto “Pete” Cunanan, Andrew is the best person on the planet, even as a young child. Andrew’s older siblings — Christopher, Elena, and Regina — jokingly refer to him as “Prince Andrew,” because of all the special attention that his father gave him growing up. As the episode shows us, Andrew got whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted it — and that is largely due to his father. At one point, his father buys him a car, and he’s like 12-years-old. And this is actually true, meaning ACS didn’t exaggerate this.
It’s probably safe to say that your parents didn’t buy you a car at 12.
Andrew’s childhood was a rough one, there’s no doubt about that. His father favored him, was violent with his mother, Mary Anne, and basically ignored his other siblings. But since this is American Crime Story, a few details are blurred. The episode shows Modesto getting a lofty job at Merrill Lynch as a stockbroker. It’s a job that Modesto is thrilled to have, but we quickly see him embellishing stories to not only his coworkers, but also those he’s talking to on the phone trying to sell stocks. Hmm, kinda sounds like what Andrew does, huh?
This job was not for long, considering we quickly see Modesto fall on tough times. Oh, and he’s probably embezzling money because suddenly the FBI shows up at the house and Modesto flees the country. Half of this is (probably?) true, as Modesto really did leave for his home country of the Philippines when Andrew was about 19; Mary Anne then legally separated from him. This is true, and Maureen Orth — who wrote the novel Vulgar Favors, which this season is based on — notes that Andrew’s mother accused Modesto of stealing more than $100,000 from the family.
The episode also shows Andrew following his father to the Philippines, and being less than thrilled with his dad’s living conditions once there. Remember, Andrew only likes the finer things in life. He eventually leaves his dad behind to return home…only to find that his family has been left with next to nothing.
Also, every time this season that Andrew brings up the fact that his father owns a pineapple plantation in the Philippines? Not true, but we probably should have guessed that.
After Andrew’s murder spree and his own death, Modesto came back to the United States to make a documentary about his son. As The Los Angeles Times wrote back in 1997: “The father of suspected cross-country killer Andrew Cunanan came to Los Angeles this week to begin making a documentary about his son’s alleged one-man crime rampage..the film will allow him to ‘sleuth around’ into the facts of the bizarre case by interviewing some of his son’s close friends and acquaintances.” Modesto wanted any money from the film to go toward “building ‘a church, a chapel or a temple’ in memory of the boy he knew as a witty and intelligent human being.”
It does not appear that the documentary was ever completed. As far as the internet knows, Modesto Cunanan has now disappeared.