Was Famed Satanist Anton LaVey the Technical Adviser on Rosemary’s Baby?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about movies and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the Movie urban legends featured so far.

MOVIE URBAN LEGEND: Anton LaVey was the technical advisor for Rosemary’s Baby and/or he appeared in the film as the devil.

Anton LaVey was pretty much the most famous Satanist there was in the 20th Century.

Part of LaVey’s fame was self-fulfilled, though, as he was quite adept at promoting himself. By virtue of this talent, a number of the rumors, myths and legends that have sprung up about the man were fostered (if not created) by LaVey himself.

One of those legends, which he repeated on numerous occasions, was that he was not only the technical advisor on the horror film, Rosemary’s Baby but that he actually played the devil in the film!

Is it true?

Here’s the devil (the actor was uncredited in the film) (it is a dark scene, so you can barely make out the mask)…

No doubt wary about people spreading rumors about Satanism, a Satanism website did a thorough debunking of LaVey’s claim here:

Here’s the important quote:

[Anton Szandor LaVey (ASL)] had no involvement with Rosemary’s Baby. Polanski’s close friend Gene Gutowski (original producer of the film) stated that there was no technical advisor, nor did ASL ever even meet Polanski. Producer William Castle, who details all aspects of the film’s production in his autobiography, never mentions ASL. He does describe Polanski’s diligence in basing the film exactly on the Ira Levin novel from which it was adapted, eliminating any need for technical advice. The father of the actress who played Mia Farrow’s body-double in the Devil scene recalled that a young, very slender professional dancer played the part, dressed in a small rubber suit. In 1971 this suit was acquired by Studio One Productions in Louisville, Kentucky, for use in a low-budget horror film Asylum of Satan. Michael Aquino, technical advisor for that film, examined the suit and concluded that the 200-pound, 6-foot ASL could not possibly have worn it. [The suit was worn by a girl in the Asylum film.] Not a single member of the cast or crew of Rosemary’s Baby has ever mentioned ASL’s involvement. In 1968 a San Francisco theater did ask ASL to make an appearance at the film’s local opening as a promotional event. This appears to have been ASL’s only connection with the film that engendered the 1960s’ popular interest in Satanism.

His major source was Gene Gutowski and William Castle’s Step Right Up! I’m Gonna Scare the Pants off America, New York: Pharos Books, 1992;

That’s good enough for me!

The legend is…


Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is bcronin@legendsrevealed.com.

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