Skip to main content
Andrew Cunanan

Andrew Cunanan

  • Publish date:
Andrew Cunanan was a murderer who killed fashion designer Gianni Versace, and at least four other people, before committing suicide in a Miami houseboat.

Who Was Andrew Cunanan?

Andrew Cunanan was born in San Diego, California and eventually settled in San Francisco’s Castro district and socialized with older, wealthy gay men while indulging heavily in drugs. It's unclear what set him off but he began a cross-country killing spree of five known murders — the last of which was fashion designer Gianni Versace. Cunanan killed himself on a Miami houseboat in 1997.

Parents & Siblings

Andrew Cunanan was born on August 31, 1969 in San Diego, California. Cunanan was raised by a religious Italian-American mother, Mary Anne Schillaci, and prestige-conscious Filipino-American father, Modesto Cunanan. Though a disciplinarian, his father was not violent, and Cunanan did not experience the early childhood traumas that experts often tag as typical of violent criminals. Cunanan was the youngest of four, his brother and sisters being: Christopher Cunanan, Elena Cunanan, and Regina Cunanan.

Early Life

On the surface, the highly intelligent Cunanan reveled in his life as a young, attractive gay male. He typically socialized with much older, wealthier men, and eventually settled in San Francisco's gay Castro district. By the time he was 21 years old, he spoke seven languages and was becoming well acquainted with the finer things in life.

However, beneath this cheerful facade lurked a much darker side that became exacerbated by an insatiable need for drugs, kinky sex and material wealth. In his teens, Cunanan had prostituted himself, and he soon became obsessed with violent pornography, often taking part in the films himself.

Scroll to Continue


US actor Miles Teller poses during a photocall for the film "Too Old To Die Young - North of Hollywood, West of Hell" at the 72nd edition of the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, southern France, on May 18, 2019.

Miles Teller

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 02:  Ranking member U.S. Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) questions U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke as he testifies at a hearing on receiving 'the Monetary Policy Report to the Congress required under the Humphrey-Hawkins Act' at the House Financial Services Committee in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill on March 2, 2011 in Washington, DC. Bernanke reportedly defended the Federal Reserves monetary policy against criticism from Republicans.  (Photo by Jonathan Ernst/Getty Images)

Barney Frank

NEW YORK - OCTOBER 02:  Actor  Ben Whishaw attends the 48th New York Film Festival premiere of 'The Tempest' at Alice Tully Hall on October 2, 2010 in New York City.  (Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Ben Whishaw

Ben Whishaw

Serial Murderer

By 1997, Cunanan had sunk into a depression after one after another of his wealthy lovers left him. Some wonder if he discovered he was HIV positive and that perhaps this devastating news, combined with a brooding, obsessive jealousy, was what may have led him to his first victim, former lover Jeff Trail. The gruesome murder started a killing spree that left the FBI stumped. Rather than going into hiding, Cunanan flouted authorities, killing three others before reentering the gay social scene, this time in Miami, Florida.

Murder of Gianni Versace

Unable to catch Cunanan, authorities had all but given up, and the media seemed to have cooled as well. That July, Cunanan took the life of his next and final victim, world-famous fashion designer Gianni Versace. Police were blamed for not having warned the Miami gay community about Cunanan, and their every step was scrutinized following Versace's murder. After the police had surrounded him on a houseboat in South Florida, Cunanan shot himself before he could be arrested. His autopsy showed he did not have HIV which debunked the theory that the diagnosis triggered his murderous spree. His motives were never determined.

'The Assassination of Gianni Versace' and Movie

The second season of American Crime Story depicted Cunanan's killing spree in The Asssasination of Gianni Versace. Actor Darren Criss played the role of Cunanan.

Cunanan has also been the subject of true crime television, including an episode on TruTV's Mugshots entitled "Andrew Cunanan The Versace Killer."

Fact Check

We strive for accuracy and fairness. If you see something that doesn't look right, contact us!