More About Menendez

Everyone knows about the gruesome double murder that occurred on August 20, 1989, but do you know about the events leading up to it?

Kitty and José Menendez

José Menendez was the poster child for the “American Dream.” Immigrating from Cuba in 1960, he fled to Pennsylvania and set out to make a name for himself in the land of opportunity. He attended Southern Illinois University and it was there where he met Mary Louise Anderson, better known as Kitty. In 1963, only three years after immigrating to the U.S., he and Kitty eloped, after which the couple moved to New York City.

After the move to the Big Apple, they welcomed their first child, Joseph Lyle Menendez, born on January 10, 1968 after which José’s career in accounting began to take off. His work took the family of three all over the East Coast, bouncing them from Chicago to New York City, and finally landing them in New Jersey in 1970. On November 27th of that same year, Erik Galen Menendez was born.

In the years after Erik’s birth, José branched out to fields outside of accounting and eventually ended up at RCA Records. This is where the Menendez family gained notoriety and were inducted into the lifestyle of the wealthy and elite. RCA is also where José became especially known for his abrasive, intimidating, and even sadistic personality not only in his work life but in his home life as well.

Erik and Lyle Menendez

After making the move to Calabassas, California in 1986, Erik and Lyle began to feel the pressure of their parents’ high expectations. Their time in Calabassas, however, didn’t last long. Erik and Lyle cracked under the pressure of their parents’ hovering gaze, giving into teenage rebellion and indulging in their impulses. Except the brothers were not normal teenagers, and neither were their impulses. Most teens drink, smoke, and party; however, Erik and Lyle preferred burglary and grand larceny. Their tendencies caused the family to experience embarrassment, José’s worst fear. To escape the ridiculing eyes of the Calabassas community, José moved the family to Beverly Hills.

By 1989, José was on the board of directors for Carolco Pictures which was a successful independent movie studio in LA. His position there, however, was short lived because in August of that same year is when both he and Kitty were murdered in their own home by their own sons. 

Now that you know a little bit more about who the Menendez family are and where they came from, we hope you can come along with us as we continue our search to answer the question: Are Erik and Lyle Menendez Villains or Victims?