2009 Vanity Fair Article Confirms Fauna Hodel Not Biological Daughter of Dr. George Hill Hodel- Michelle Phillips on Her Tamar Hodel Friendship

May 29, 2019
Los Angeles

“There is much more incest out there than people are aware of. It’s hidden and it destroys lives. I look at Mackenzie and realize I was fortunate: I was raped only one time by my father.” 

                                                                                    Tamar Hodel
Excerpt from 2009 Vanity Fair article by Sheila Weller
           “Michelle Phillips and Friends Speak Out about Mackenzie’s Incest Allegations”

A friend recently sent me a Vanity Fair article by Shelia Weller highlighting Mackenzie Phillips 2009 disclosure of being an incest victim of her father, John Phillips, famed songwriter, and singer for the Mamas and the Papas. 

The Tamar Hodel quote, once again confirms, in her own words, that Tamar only had intercourse with her father on one occasion and court documents establish that date as being, July 1, 1949, which resulted in an abortion in September 1949. As recently established by DNA analysis, Fauna Hodel was not the biological daughter of George Hodel.  According to Tamar, Fauna’s father was “A White Italian American who plied her with alcohol and raped her in November, 1950”, more than a full year after she had obtained the abortion in Los Angeles.






Mamas and Papas Ed Sullivan Show 1967


John Phillips and daughter Mackenzie


Mackenzie Phillips 2008  


See Shelia Weller’s Vanity Fair full article below:

Michelle Phillips and Friends Speak Out about Mackenzie



Tamar Hodel                                           Michelle Phillips








Here are some excerpts from my book, Black Dahlia Avenger (Arcade 2003) that talk about the Tamar/Michelle relationship in Michelle’s own words.

BDA Chapter 15  page 176:

Maybe it was my own design and not simply the passage of time that kept the true story of Tamar and the family scandal a dark mystery to me for many years. Even in my adult mind, Tamar was the image of the adolescent temptress Lolita. She would go on to blaze a trail from the beat generation of the middle 1950s to the street generation of the late ’60s, bouncing off poets, folk singers, druggies, and hippies.

Tamar was described by singer Michelle Phillips in her book California Dreaming’: The True Story of the Mamas and the Papas as her “very best friend, who got me interested in folk music, or at least into folk music people.” Michelle’s description of Tamar is a snapshot of the young girl who, a decade earlier, unwittingly had come within a hair of playing a critical role in the Black Dahlia investigation. Phillips writes:

So, off we went to Tamar’s. As soon as I set eyes on her, I thought she was the most fabulous, glamorous girl I had ever met. She had a wonderful lavender-colored room, with lavender pillows and curtains, lavender lead-glass ashtrays, all of that. I thought it was just great. She had just acquired a new pink and lavender Rambler, buying it on time.

She hung out with a very hip Bohemian crowd—Josh White, Dick Gregory, Odetta, Bud and Travis. Tamar was incredible. She gave me my first fake ID, my first amphetamines (“uppers” to help me stay awake in class after late nights). This was a girl after my own heart, and we became very close . . . and now she was my idol.

I recommend you check out Michelle Phillips autobiography, California Dreamin’: The True Story of the Mamas and The Papas (Warner Books 1986). It contains a lot more information on Tamar and Michelle life together in San Francisco.  Tamar and Michelle remained life-long friends and Michelle was Godmother to Tamar’s children.









  1. Dawn on June 23, 2019 at 8:57 pm

    I have been “bothered” by this connection between these two women since reading about it last night on a different site. There was a normalization of the idea of incestual abuse already in Tamar due to her experiences as a child and young woman- I believe that she shared that idea with Michelle early on according to my readings on their relationship. As a result, Michelle was probably a soft target for a man who would choose to abuse his own daughter (Mackenzie). Michelle, who held up Tamar as a role model- probably looked at her cool lifestyle and reasoned that abuse hadn’t hurt her so badly after all. I know FE has forgiven her mom for perpetuating abuse in the next generation, and good for her for being able to do that. But we all- as women- need to stop excusing bad behavior and even feeding into it. I was reminded of the brainwashing aspect of sexual abuse such as what was apparent in the case of Colleen Stan whose captor was enabled by his wife, Janice Hooker in kidnapping and enslaving the young girl for almost a decade before confessing to her pastor that she might be doing something “wrong”.

    • Steve Hodel on June 23, 2019 at 10:17 pm

      Dawn: I think there is a huge difference between “forgiving” and “excusing bad behavior.” I can assure you my niece Faunaa Elizabeth has never excused her mother’s abused. She is attempting as best she can to put it in the past and move on with her own life, but there has never ever been a hint of excusing it. Best, Steve

    • Janet on June 6, 2023 at 9:43 pm

      I completely agree with you. Michelle Phillips has denounced McKenzie as a liar. But here own radar imo is very off. She married John Phillips at 18. Had most likely been with him since she was 15 or 16. Her best friend Tamar was an incest victim. Here mind is completely desensitized to this behavior. That was understandable back in the 60s and 70s and as a girl herself. But she maintains her position and calls her step daughter a noncredible drug addict. Of course she’s a drug addict. Who wouldn’t be? I have no respect for Michelle Phillips. She needs to get her moral compass checked.

  2. Dawn E Stoker on June 25, 2019 at 11:07 pm

    Steve- I can only say that from a woman’s point of view, that we (not you) seem to enable “bad behavior” in men. I am very fortunate not to have suffered abuse, but my own father insisted on our leaving the bathroom door unlocked while we were bathing to “check on us”. Three girls. We thwarted him by various measures. All I can say at this point at 62 years old, is that I dispassionately hate his guts. And the man never even touched me. I will call ‘it’ what it is- It is unfortunate that so much power is wielded over women, then and now. I esteem your mother for raising three sons during and after that environment with your father. I feel empathy for Tamar, and I wish and hope her daughters find truth and peace in their lives.

    • Steve Hodel on June 26, 2019 at 12:03 am

      Dawn E.S: Thanks for the kind thoughts toward our family. Much appreciated. Steve

      • Janet on June 6, 2023 at 9:45 pm

        I completely agree with you. Michelle Phillips has denounced McKenzie as a liar. But here own radar imo is very off. She married John Phillips at 18. Had most likely been with him since she was 15 or 16. Her best friend Tamar was an incest victim. Here mind is completely desensitized to this behavior. That was understandable back in the 60s and 70s and as a girl herself. But she maintains her position and calls her step daughter a noncredible drug addict. Of course she’s a drug addict. Who wouldn’t be? I have no respect for Michelle Phillips. She needs to get her moral compass checked.

  3. Juanita Kerwin on September 20, 2019 at 10:59 pm

    Yes, I agree. I am trying so hard to teach my daughter about the brain washing that both male and females go through. We definitely make excuses for bad behavior against women from small things like interrupting us to “inappropriately” touching us. Do not look the other way. It is not someone else’s problem. I pray that God grants them peace and they accept it, because that pain is brutally hard to recover from. When I read about the connection between Michelle and Tamar , I thought , there is always a road traveled to the abuse. I pray we wake up, see the road, and keep our girls,(and boys) from off and away from it.

  4. Aaron on November 6, 2021 at 1:06 am

    What I do not understand is what exactly brought on the idea of normalizing family relations like this ? I find it strange the lack of empathy towards how sexual abuse can lead to drug abuse and depression. It seems as if her father, George Hodel, continued to fund her lifestyle after the trial. Why did she feel compelled to sell her kids to strangers for inappropriate favors if George have her access ? My guess is an expensive drug habit ? Also, what did George Hodel say regarding Elizabeth Short ? I heard Fauna mention he had one of his granddaughter’s middle names after the Black Dahlia. Do you have any other insights into the veracity of Tamar’s claims regarding George and the Black Dahlia ?

    • Steve Hodel on November 6, 2021 at 1:36 am

      Tamar told the truth re. the incest allegations and had three adult witnesses present when the sex acts occurred. Two of them testified in the three-week trial. But, the talented nationally famed dense attorney, Jerry Giesler, was able to paint the 14-year-old, Tamar with a “pathological liars brush” and then when he and his partner brought up in court to the jury that “Tamar also claimed her father was the Black Dahlia killer” that did it. Not believable. (Tamar’s info came from the LAPD officers taking her to and from court during the trial, but she never revealed that.)
      Our father never provided or supported Tamar financially. Tamar was not without major faults of her own for sure, but, most came from the sex, drugs, which was a spinout from her child abuse. She went on to seriously abuse her own children for sure and had a very chaotic and troubled life. But, one must look and the cause and effects. More often than not the abused child goes on to become an abuser. All part of the tragic cycle. And, don’t forget, Tamar’s belief her whole life was that her father DID NOT commit the murder. Only AFTER my investigation to show and exonerate our father and the finding to the true facts, did it prove otherwise.
      The naming of her daughter with musician Stan Wilson, “Deborah Elizabeth Wilson” was a result of her going to our father as a 12-year-old, (her birthday, in March 1947, just a few weeks after the Dahlia murder) and asking our dad to help her name a black-haired doll given to her by her mother, for her birthday present. Dad said, “Name her Elizabeth.” She did, and then a decade or so, gave the same name to her daughter Deborah. (aka Fauna II).

      • Niteflyte on March 15, 2023 at 5:27 pm

        Hi Steve, question: if George wasn’t funding Tamar’s lifestyle, how was she getting the funds?

        I’m also curious about how Michelle Phillips came across Tamar, since by my math, Michelle was 9 years younger, tho I’m just beginning my research into this topic. I just purchased Michelle’s book, and have been watching some documentaries of the Mamas and Papas and things from that time period. I must say, life was a lot more interesting and wild than a lot of us think about these times. I think the common programmed stereotype is that life was boring and everyone lived the Leave It To Beaver existence and had things so easy.

        I wonder if Michelle Phillips was completely scandalous, or if she was more of the norm in those circles. She entered the scene with John Phillips by breaking a marriage. And while he was certainly a pretty scandalous individual himself, she was obviously taken by him and pursued him at a very young age, so I find myself curious of her mindset and values. I wonder how much of the misdeeds were stemming from naivete or from a willful agenda.

        • Steve Hodel on March 15, 2023 at 6:27 pm

          No, George wasn’t “funding” Tamar’s lifestyle. Tamar manged to do that on her own. She was a “survivor” and always figured out a way to keep going. Mostly, men in general funded her lifestyle. From one to the next to the next. She was always needing money and to my understanding, was never ever in a good financial position, her and her three boys always hovering around the poverty level. I believe/suspect Michelle likely helped her out many times “through the years” but have no direct knowledge on that.
          According to my brother, Kelvin, he was dating Michelle’s sister, Rusty and introduced Tamar to Michelle when the two sisters were living with their dad in LA. I think Michelle was just fourteen or fifteen. Their father, a probation officer was dating and about or did marry a teen so I guess he could hardly say much or control Michelle who was totally absorbed in her new friend Tamar’s lifestyle, which was sex, drugs and rock and roll to the max. The two headed north to San Francisco, and the rest is history.

          • Niteflyte on March 17, 2023 at 5:28 pm

            Fascinating stuff – thank you for the info/response! I haven’t received Michelle Phillip’s book yet, but I’m eager to see if she mentioned much about the time period when she met Tamar.

            take care

  5. todd h martin on November 3, 2022 at 10:31 pm

    Thank you for sharing your life with us. Yours is an interesting family to be sure. What interaction have you or your nieces and nephews had with Michelle Phillips? Was she a presence in their lives when they were growing up? I know she knew Deborah, but what about Peace, Love, Joy, and Fauna?

    • Steve Hodel on November 4, 2022 at 12:48 am

      Todd M:
      I just met Michelle after the publication of BDA back in 2003. She was godmother to Tamar’s three boys; Peace, Love and Joy. Never have discussed how close they all were? But, she remained close to Tamar for the whole time.

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