Who was Rodney Alcala? A deep dive into the sinister life of "The Dating Game" serial killer, as he passes away at 75 

Rodney Alcala. (Image via: Corbis and Digital First Media/Orange County Register, via Getty Images)
Rodney Alcala. (Image via: Corbis and Digital First Media/Orange County Register, via Getty Images)

Rodney Alcala A.K.A. “The Dating Game” serial killer was convicted to a death sentence in 2010 for murder and rape. On July 24th, Alcala, who was awaiting his execution, passed away from natural causes at a hospital in San Joaquin Valley, California. The notorious murderer and rapist was 77 years old.

Born as Rodrigo Jacques Alcala Buquor on August 23rd, 1943, he confessed to five murders, including a 12-year old girl and a 28-year old pregnant lady. However, authorities estimate that the total count of his victims may reach over 100-120.


The serial killer is known to have been active between 1977 and 1979, where most of his confessed killings occurred. Rodney is also recognized for his public appearance in a 1978 episode of “The Dating Game.” He was also on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list in 1971.

The origin of the “Dating Game” serial killer:

Alcala is one of the most notorious serial killers that America has ever seen. His horrific crimes lie in line with other killers like H.H. Holmes, John Wayne Gacy and Ted Bundy, amongst others.


He was born to a Mexican family in San Antonio, Texas, in 1943. Rodney was abandoned by his father and moved to Los Angeles at the age of 11-years with his mother and sister.

At 17 (in 1971), Rodney Alcala joined the US Army as a clerk and fled from the barracks. According to a 2010 report by Yahoo, he was discharged after being diagnosed with “antisocial personality disorder.”

The notorious serial killer was a graduate of the UCLA School of Fine Arts and was a student under filmmaker Roman Polanski at New York University.

Rodney Alcala A.K.A. “The Dating Game” serial killer’s crimes timeline.


Alcala’s first proven crime dated back to 1968, when he raped an eight-year-old girl, Tali Shapiro. He had beaten the girl with a steel rod after assaulting her in his apartment.

In 1971 Rodney Alcala allegedly raped and strangled flight attendant Cornelia Crilley. This was followed by Ellen Jane Hover’s murder in 1977.

Furthermore, the serial killer was arrested in 1972 for assaulting Shapiro but was released in 1974 under the “indeterminate sentence.” Rodney was arrested again two months later and was paroled after two years.

Robin Samsoe’s murder:

In June 1979, 12-year old Robin Samsoe was killed and possibly raped by Rodney Alcala. This led to his arrest in July and a lengthy trial until 1986, when he was sentenced to death.

In 2017, a TV biopic of Rodney Alcala premiered on Investigation Discovery. Meanwhile, in 2021, Netflix announced another film on the killer, named “Rodney and Sheryl.” The film will be based on his appearance on “The Dating Game.”

Edited by Gautham Balaji
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