Warren Beatty was terrified when the notorious Charles Manson murders swept California in the 1960s - he compares the killing spree to a nuclear bomb attack.
Beatty was one of the A-listers who stumped up cash in a bid to try and hunt down the killers of his pal Roman Polanski's pregnant wife Sharon Tate, who was slaughtered at her Los Angeles home by members of the Manson clan in 1969.
The cult-like group, led by Manson, was also responsible for killing six other L.A. high-flyers, and Manson was later jailed for life.
And Beatty recalls how Hollywood went into meltdown as the murders mounted - comparing the killing spree to a "nuclear device" going off.
Speaking just weeks ahead of the grisly event's 40th anniversary next month (Aug09), he tells Los Angeles magazine, "This hit the movie community very deeply. On the 10-point scale, it disturbed me at around a 27.
"They were friends of mine. It was something that happened, and no one knew why. Everybody was trying to come up with a reason.
"The collective response to these killings was what you might expect if a small nuclear device had gone off."
And Beatty believes some media handled the story badly by putting the blame on Polanski's controversial movies.
He adds, "In their rush to assess what had happened, some of the mainstream press brought the nature of Roman Polanski's movies into the nature of the crime and held the movies responsible.
"Roman was a total innocent. Neither his life nor his movies had anything to do with this. But because he'd made Repulsion and Rosemary's Baby, he was made to seem responsible."
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