John Wayne Gacy, also known as the “Killer Clown,” was one of the most notorious serial killers in the country. The authorities believed that he killed at least 33 young men, burying most of them on his property in Norwood Park, Illinois. Netflix’s ‘Conversations With a Killer: The John Wayne Gacy Tapes’ focuses on John’s crimes and childhood. Experts believed that John’s abusive upbringing could have been a reason for his killing people. So, if you’re wondering who John’s parents were and what happened to him as a child, we’ve got you covered.
Who Were John Wayne Gacy’s Parents?
On March 17, 1942, John was born to John Stanley and Marion Elaine Gacy. He was their second child and their only son, and his father named him after Hollywood actor John Wayne. Growing up, John was verbally and physically abused by his father from a young age. An auto repair mechanic, John Stanley was an alcoholic who regularly demeaned John and called him a “sissy.” All of this usually happened in the family basement. Sometimes, he even beat his wife, Marion.
During John’s childhood, he was pretty close to his mother and sisters. He later claimed to have experienced sexual assault as a child many times. One such incident occurred when he was five years old when a 15-year-old girl began touching him. A couple of years later, John was repeatedly molested by a family friend, but he didn’t talk to his parents about it. At the time, John feared his father would blame him and didn’t want to get punished.
Later, John was diagnosed with a congenital heart condition that prevented him from participating in sports. When he was around 11 years old, he was admitted to a hospital after blacking out a few times. However, John’s father apparently felt that his son was only doing this to gain sympathy and miss school. Despite all of this, John always maintained that he loved his father.
John later said, “My dad was domineering. My dad drank a lot, and when he drank a lot, he was abusive to my mother and to me… but I never swung at my dad because I loved him for what he stood for.” It was also reported that as a child, John wore his mother’s underwear. As per the show, Marion punished him when she found out. In later years, he lived in Chicago, Illinois, with her. This was a condition of his probation for a previous sodomy conviction.
How Did John Wayne Gacy’s Parents Die?
John Stanley passed away on December 25, 1969, at the age of 69. He was suffering from liver cirrhosis and had been admitted to the Veterans Administration Hospital in Hines, Illinois. John was in prison for the sodomy conviction at the time and wasn’t allowed to attend the funeral. John’s mother, Marion, died on December 14, 1989, at the age of 81. However, the cause of death remains unclear. As per the show, she testified at her son’s trial regarding his abusive childhood.
A psychiatrist who interviewed John extensively felt that his abusive past was integral to his mental and emotional dysfunction. He said of John’s victims, “He was essentially getting them to play his role, of being helpless… while he played the role of the father. And he’d punish them for begging him and for looking like cowards — whatever he felt about his own inadequacies, he put on them.” John later claimed his innocence and, at one point, said, “Why would I want to kill these boys, anyway? I’m not their father.”
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