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Who Is That Masked Man?

November 23, 1986|Peter H. Brown and Jim Pinkston

San Francisco's Zodiac killer--still on the loose--will see his most sinister wishes come true in early 1987 when a mass-market book (from Berkeley) hits the stands and a Hollywood theatrical film, tentatively titled "Zodiac," goes into production for Atlantic Releasing.

Berkeley will ship a quarter-million copies of Robert Graysmith's "Zodiac," which includes an account of the writer's eight-year pursuit of the serial killer. And Graysmith is a major character in writer-director Chip Proser's screenplay.

Zodiac was linked officially to six murders from 1966 to 1969, but Graysmith's account has him active for a decade and racking up 50 killings. The killer was fond of taunting detectives by phone with his wish to "read about myself in a paperback book and see myself on the screen in a major film." Said Graysmith, police long ago identified a strong suspect but lack enough evidence to bring him to trial.

Two partners behind the film expressed fear of the killer and asked that their names not be used. Said one, "There's a very real concern for my family's safety." His partner added--apparently seriously--that the killer "might want part of the action."

Graysmith scoffed: "Zodiac is so identified and now so well-watched that there is virtually no danger."

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