Who Was Lee Miglin, Andrew Cunanan's Third Victim?
Season two of American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace delves into the slaying of world-renowned fashion designer Gianni Versace outside of his Miami Beach mansion on July 15, 1997. But Versace wasn't the only one who lost his life at the hands of 27-year-old serial killer Andrew Cunanan.
Among Cunanan's many victims was Chicago real estate tycoon Lee Miglin—the third individual to die in the serial killer's murderous spree. Here's what we know about Miglin and his family.
Mike Farrell as Lee Miglin and Judith Light as Marilyn Miglin in American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace
Lee Miglin was born and raised in Westville, Illinois in 1925. He and his wife Marilyn lived in the Chicago area. Their two children, Marlena and Duke, an actor, were adults during the time of Miglin's murder.
Miglin made his money as a real estate developer. His wife Marilyn Miglin was also known as the Queen of Makeovers for her work as a successful perfume and cosmetics entrepreneur and for her involvement with the Home Shopping Network.
Judith Light portrays Chicago socialite Marilyn Miglin in the series.
A socialite and philanthropist, Miglin was a resident of Chicago's wealthy Gold Coast Historic District. The 72-year-old was cleaning a garage behind his home when Cunanan attacked.
On the night of May 4, 1997, Andrew Cunanan murdered Miglin and stole his Lexus to flee the scene of the crime. Miglin was known for being meticulous, which is why his wife Marilyn found it strange that the front gate was unlocked when she returned home from a business trip Sunday morning. Miglin was meant to pick Marilyn up from Chicago O'Hare airport that morning, raising her suspicions as to her husband's whereabouts, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Dirty dishes in the kitchen and beard stubble in the bathroom sink were Marilyn's next sign that something was amiss. Lee Miglin was found in his home with several shallow stab wounds, his throat slit by a bow saw, his feet bound, and his head wrapped in tape, according to an article by Newsweek in May 1997. Marilyn Miglin called the police around 8 a.m. that Sunday after discovering a 9 mm.
Cunanan had tucked Miglin's body under a car in the garage and attempted to obscure it with trash cans, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Per his increasingly callous nature, it appeared that Cunanan went into Miglin's kitchen following the murder, made himself a ham sandwich, and shaved before taking off in his new getaway vehicle. Police also claimed that Miglin's leather jacket and wristwatch were missing, as well as $2,000 from Miglin's briefcase.
Miglin's black Lexus was found abandoned in a New Jersey cemetery—near the body of cemetery caretaker, William Reese, Cunanan's fourth victim. Cunanan would then travel to Miami before shooting Gianni Versace on the front steps of his mansion on July 15, 1997.
Clearly bludgeoned, Miglin also appeared to be tortured with a screwdriver. The motive behind Cunanan's third murder remains a mystery, according to an article by ABC7Chicago 20 years after Miglin's death.
"It's very difficult," Miglin's son Duke told ABC7Chicago. "My father didn't get to see my children, he didn't get to meet my wife...There's never really closure in a situation like this," he added.
Marilyn Miglin, who was married to Lee for 38 years, has remained relatively silent on the death of her husband. Today, she remains a beauty authority, author, and speaker, appearing monthly on the Home Shopping Network to promote products such as her signature fragrance Pheromone, according to her website.
In addition to her passion for creating beauty products, Marilyn is a recipient of the Raoul Wallenberg International Humanitarian Award. She also continues to give back to her community by raising more than $1 million to preserve and promote the charm of Oak Street in Chicago and by founding the Women of Destiny program. The program recruited 200 of Chicago’s most successful women and had them serve as mentors for young women across a variety of professions.
"I don't think you heal—you never close up that gaping wound—but you adjust," Marilyn told the Chicago Tribune. "I lived the life of a fairy princess and I had a prince for 38 years, and then one day my prince went to war and didn't come back," she said.
While her husband's murder was a tragedy, Marilyn did not let it control her. Instead, she took care of Miglin's 98-year-old mother and brother-in-law, who was very close to Lee, the fourth of seven children. "I made an effort to be all right, so everyone else could be all right," she told the Chicago Tribune. The minute you start feeling sorry for yourself, everyone else falls."
Despite Miglin's wife and their son Duke vehemently denying any previous connection between Cunanan and Miglin, reports from several people indicate Miglin and Cunanan may have been involved in a romantic or even sexual level, according to ABC7Chicago. "There was no relationship whatsoever," Duke said. Ultimately, police ruled Miglin's murder a crime of opportunity, according to the Chicago Tribune.
While Versace may have been Cunanan's most famous victim, Miglin's murder remains one of Cunanan's key turning points leading up to the death of the famous fashion designer. Only time will tell how American Crime Story will delve into Miglin's story and whether any new details surrounding his mysterious murder will come to light.
Season 2 of American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace airs Wednesdays on FX.
*This story originally appeared on the Townandcountrymag.com
*Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors