The Real Story Behind Norman Blachford and Andrew Cunanan's Relationship
If you've been watching The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story
On the show, Cunanan claims that his relationship with Blachford is merely professional ("I curate his art, I find pieces of antique furniture. There’s nothing sexual between us") but it later becomes evident that their arrangement is much more involved. In reality, all the details of their partnership remain murky, but you can make your own speculation based on what's been reported about the two below.
BLACHFORD HAS KEPT A LOW PROFILE IN RECENT YEARS.
In the midst of the media frenzy surrounding Cunanan’s killing spree, Blachford was reportedly out of the country on a cruise with his longtime friend Peter
InsidePhilanthropy.com suggests that Blachford and the aforementioned Cooper established a charity, The Blachford-Cooper Foundation, in 2000. The foundation, which does not have a website, awards "modest-sized grants to LGBT organizations across the United States." The duo is also relatively active on the social scene in La Jolla, appearing together at a number of philanthropy and high-society events.
Darren Criss (left) as Andrew Cunanan with alleged romantic partner Norman Blachford (right), played by Michael Nouri.
BLACHFORD WAS A RETIRED MULTI-MILLIONAIRE WHEN HE AND CUNANAN WERE INTRODUCED THROUGH MUTUAL FRIENDS.
Blachford owned a sound-insulation company specifically for cars in
BLACHFORD'S LONGTERM PARTNER HAD RECENTLY DIED OF AIDS WHEN HE MET CUNANAN, ACCORDING TO THE BOOK VULGAR FAVORS.
Andrew Cunanan's timing could not have been better for meeting the then 58-year-old conservative and reserved Phoenix-native. Blachford was reportedly "alone and very eligible" and subsequently prime bait for comfort-seeking Cunanan, according to Vulgar Favors. (The book, written by Vanity Fair investigative journalist Maureen Orth, has served as the source material for the TV series.)
Cunanan was at the end of a relationship too: his former flame, Lincoln Aston, had recently been bludgeoned to death by a "mentally troubled loner." Cunanan would later convince Blachford to purchase the home Aston previously lived in.
BOTH CUNANAN AND BLACHFORD WERE RETICENT REGARDING THE NATURE OF THEIR RELATIONSHIP.
It was kind of like the secret everyone knew about. Blachford would claim that Cunanan "was his decorator" or just a friend helping him pick out art, and Cunanan would tell his friends that Blachford was "an old man" or a "friend of the family," according to Vulgar Favors. But those close to Cunanan knew he was living with Blachford. Maureen Orth posits in her book that Blachford was aware Cunanan was with him for financial security and went so far as to recommend he go back to school.
Michael Nouri as Norman Blachford.
"When he moved in with Norman, he basically knew he was going in there on a strictly financial basis...they [Cunanan and Blachford] were both clear-thinking guys, and they knew what was going on," one of Cunanan's close friends reportedly told Orth. Another friend of Cunanan's claims that the master bedroom the two shared had twin beds in it, and that Cunanan insisted their relationship was nonsexual: "He doesn't expect that, he doesn't want that," Cunanan reportedly told his friend Shane O'Brien.
BLACHFORD GAVE CUNANAN A TASTE OF THE HIGH-LIFE.
The Washington Post reports that Blachford financed Cunanan on an allowance of $2,500 a month including a 1996 Infiniti I30T, frequent trips to New York City to see Broadway shows, and vacations in Paris and the south of France.
CUNANAN ENDED HIS RELATIONSHIP WITH BLACHFORD WHEN HE MET DAVID MADSON.
Though Cunanan told several friends that the relationship ended over Norman's lack of generosity (according to the LA Times, Blachford denied Cunanan a Mercedes), it seems it was really because Cunanan grew interested in David Madson, who would eventually become the second victim in Cunanan's killing spree.
BLACHFORD LATER GAVE THE FBI CRITICAL INFORMATION REGARDING CUNANAN'S WHEREABOUTS.
According to Orth, Blachford told the FBI that he thought Cunanan could be hiding out in Miami. "Strictly as a hunch," he reportedly said. (Cunanan did, in fact, flee to Miami, where he later killed Gianni Versace.) Blachford reportedly offered to accompany the FBI to possible locations where he suggested Cunanan might be. It is unclear whether the investigators pursued the leads.
*This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com
*Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors