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The Story Behind Marilyn Manson's Sons Of Anarchy Cameo

Sons of Anarchy was brought to life with a glorious all-star cast. The show featured the likes of Charlie Hunnam, Katey Sagal, and Ron Perlman. But every now and then — across Sons of Anarchy's seven seasons — the series' casting director snuck up behind audiences and ambushed them with a surprise celebrity cameo. Who can forget the astonishment viewers felt when David Hasselhoff strutted onto screens as an ex-porn star? Probably not half as astonishing as the realization that Ron Tully, the leader of the Stockton-area Aryan Brotherhood, was played by Marilyn Manson.

You probably didn't recognize Manson without all his makeup and goth attire, but that was indeed him. But his extended cameo raised an important question: why him? He is not the face that springs to mind when you think of a criminal who can rally skinheads behind him. And yet he got the part and demonstrated that he's got acting chops roughly on par with his musical talent. So how and why did Marilyn Manson get the part? Don't worry, he didn't make a Faustian deal or anything.

On Sons of Anarchy, it's not what you know but who you know

In order to get a role in shows like Sons of Anarchy, most actors would need an impressive resume with demonstrable experience. According to his IMDb page, Marilyn Manson had very few acting credits by the time he appeared on the show; he's mostly appeared on screen as himself — a performer. So why was he selected? That is a tale of luck, friendship, and family bonding.

According to Sons of Anarchy creator Kurt Sutter, a friend of his, Shooter Jennings (whose music has been featured in the show) told him Marilyn Manson was a fan of the program, Sutter tweeted. Jennings knew this because he was also friends with Manson — songwriters of a feather flock together. Apparently, Manson liked to bond with his dad over Sons of Anarchy, so Jennings arranged a meeting between Manson and Sutter. The two got along swimmingly and decided to work together. Manson accepted the role as a "tribute to his father" (via The Guardian).

The collaboration with Marilyn Manson didn't start off with an acting gig

Like many jobs in the entertainment business, Marilyn Manson's extended Sons of Anarchy role began as something completely different. Kurt Sutter didn't originally plan to cast Manson as the head of the Aryan Brotherhood. In fact, Sutter didn't originally plan to cast Manson as anyone. During an interview with Loudwire, Manson stated that when Sutter contacted him, the initial collaboration pitch started and ended with music. According to Manson, Sutter wanted permission to use the song "Warship My Wreck" in the show. The partnership eventually mutated into something much bigger, but Sutter never did insert the song into a Sons of Anarchy episode.

Manson's initial take is understandable, since he had just written a song with Shooter Jennings, and Sutter wrote the lyrics. But once the offer turned into a chance to appear in his father's favorite show, he jumped at the opportunity. Granted, he probably would have said yes even if Sutter's offer did not extend beyond tapping Manson's musical talents, but still, few people wouldn't want their face on television.

Do it for your dad, Marilyn Manson

Even though Marilyn Manson is known for his heavy metal and shock rock antics, the persona is all smoke and makeup. According to Metal Hammer writer Merlin Alderslade, he is very friendly. Manson revealed to Loudwire that shortly before he was offered the role of Ron Tully, his mother, Barbara Wyer, passed away. While the death affected Manson, it affected his father, Hugh Warner, even more. Manson wanted to reconnect with his dad, and collaborating with Sons of Anarchy seemed like the perfect opportunity because, as Manson put it (and fans should know), "the show is just so much about a father and son relationship."

Manson took Kurt Sutter's offer as part of a way to get Warner out of Ohio and "shake his shadows and demons off," but it didn't evolve into an acting gig until Manson received a phone call during his mother's funeral — yes, seriously — and the news made Warner break into a smile.