Sharon Tate… (Victim)

“My whole life has been decided by fate…”

Sharon Tate

Sharon Tate (January 24, 1943 – August 9, 1969)

Sharon Tate was an American actress born on January 24th, 1943 in Dallas, Texas. She was the first of three daughters born to Colonel Paul and Doris Tate. Even as a child, Sharon was very beautiful. At six months of age Sharon won her first beauty contest. They crowned her Miss Tiny Tot of Dallas Texas. 

Early Career

While living in Verona, Italy, Sharon met Richard Beymer, who encouraged her to pursue acting and modeling full-time. Richard gave his agent’s card to Sharon. She acted in the film Barrabas as an extra. 

Back in the United States, Sharon hitchhiked most of the way to Hollywood, and paid a visit to Beymer’s agent. She was soon performing in commercials and modeling for famous photographers. In between jobs she performed as a Kelly Kalanki Wine Girl and shared an apartment with fellow actress Sheilah Wells.

After meeting Martin Ransohoff, chairmen of Filmways, Sharon was on her way to becoming a star. Her parents allowed her to become a ward of the court as she was under 21 years old. After becoming a Filmways client, Sharon appeared as a secretary on “The Beverly Hillbillies,” and shows such as “Mr. Ed,” “Man from U.N.C.L.E,” and for a short time on “Petticoat Junction.”

Hollywood Looms

Determined to make her a star, Ronsohoff paid out over one million dollars in training and preparation. She would become known as “Million Dollar Baby,” one of the last studio stars. Around this time Sharon began dating Phillippe Forquet, a french actor. Both her parents and Ronsohoff felt he would stand in her way of becoming a star. Their love affair was rocky but intense, and Forquet proposed to Sharon, who accepted. However, their relationship soon ended, with Forquet walking away.

Ronsohoff felt it was time for him to give her bigger parts. She auditioned for the part of Liesel in “The Sound of Music” along with Patty Duke, Mia Farrow, and Lesley Ann Warren. Producers felt Sharon looked too mature for the part.

Sebring and Polanski

Sharon fell in love with Jay Sebring, a Hollywood hair stylist, whom Sharon’s parents became impressed with. Sharon would spend time at Jay’s salon while he worked. They were always together. After filming “Eye of the Devil” in Europe, Sharon played a part in acclaimed director Roman Polanski’s movie “The Fearless Vampire Killers.”

At first Sharon did not like Roman Polanski, as to her he was an absolute perfectionist. But soon she fell in love with the young Polish director. Not wanting to hurt Jay, but also not wanting to lead him on, she called him from London and broke off their relationship. Jay insisted on meeting Roman so that he would know if Roman was truly worthy of her. After meeting Roman in London, Jay decided to let Sharon go. The trio all became friends in the end.

Valley of the Dolls

After filming wrapped, Sharon began shooting a movie with Tony Curtis, called “Don’t Make Waves.” In the film Sharon performs her own stunts, something that impressed everyone. Sharon hated filming the movie because she was not only separated from Roman, but she felt type-cast as a “blonde sex goddess.”

Although she was feeling down, she took the role of Jennifer in the movie “Valley of the Dolls,” a role which still type-cast her. She played alongside such names as Judy Garland (later Susan Hayward), Patty Duke, and Barbara Parkins. Although she hated the book and movie, she went along with it hoping it would lead to better roles.

Filming was hard, mainly because the director enjoyed humiliating Sharon, and because of the bickering between Patty and Barbara.

The movie premiered and everyone realized that although the book was very serious, it had become an unintentional comedy. But it didn’t stop Sharon from talking to the press afterwards, which her co-stars avoided.

“The Year Sharon Tate Happens”

Although Sharon was dating Roman, he did not cast her in his new film “Rosemary’s Baby.” A film which would become a huge hit. Sharon would, however, visit the New York set and become friends with the movie’s star Mia Farrow, who was married to legend Frank Sinatra at the time. When Frank served divorce papers to Mia on the set of the movie (in view of the whole cast and crew) Sharon and Roman took Mia under their wing and brought her into their circle of friends.

While visiting Roman one day, Sharon posed for pictures for Esquire magazine. The session was cutting edge and a lot of publicity for the film “Valley of the Dolls” came out of it.

“I guess I kind of lived in a fairytale world…” — Sharon Tate

Sharon and Roman returned to London. Movie magazines dubbed them  the “Groovy Couple of the Year.” Their home became the “place to be” and they were very candid about everything. In January 1968 Roman proposed to Sharon in London. Making her co-star Barbara Parkins her maid of honor. The world press covered the January 20th wedding.

Although she was married to such a huge director, Sharon never asked to be in any of his films. She ended her contract with Ronsohoff. She was only allowed out of her contract after she agreed to pay out 25% of her earnings in the next 4 years. Tate felt it was the only way she could take charge of her career.

Tate acted in “The Wrecking Crew” alongside Dean Martin. In this film she performed her own stunts, and learned martial arts from Bruce Lee. He and Sharon would become friends and she would get Bruce to go to her and Roman’s home so he could teach Roman.

By the fall of 1968, Sharon earned a Golden Globe nomination for Best Newcomer. She did not win but the nomination meant the world to her. She was also runner-up in the Motion Pictures Herald’s poll for “The Star of Tomorrow.”


Sharon also found out she was pregnant near the end of 1968. She kept the news to herself in the beginning, as Roman did not want to bring children into the world. Roman grew up in occupied Poland, living in the ghetto and fearing for his life everyday during World War II. So becoming a father was not something he would want to do after living through what was to him hell as a child. However, he became excited at the idea.

Cielo Drive

In February 1969 Roman and Sharon, who before moving into Patty Duke’s house were living from hotel to hotel, moved into their first official home on Cielo Drive in Benedict Canyon. The previous tenants were Terry Melcher and Candice Bergen.

By March of 1969 Sharon was due to leave for Italy to begin working on the film “Twelve Plus One.” Although Roman had reservations about her filming a movie during her pregnancy, Sharon reassured him that everything would be okay since she would wrap before she was too pregnant to continue.

Sharon had a lot of actions scenes and running around was hard on her swollen feet. Not one to complain, Sharon would rest between takes and never asked for special treatment. After filming, Sharon returned to London to be with Roman, who was preparing his film “Day of the Dolphin.” While there she posed for photographer Terry O’Neil. In the pictures she is holding her stomach on the stairwell of her London home with Roman, she is lying on the floor surrounded by baby clothes, holding a baby sweater in her car, and opening baby shower gifts.

Sharon did her last publicity shoot in London for the movie “Twelve Plus One.” Returning from London soon after, Sharon traveled by Queen Elizabeth II due to her pregnancy. Roman was due to return to Cielo Drive for his child’s birth after completing his work in London.

August 8-9, 1969

According to friends, Sharon spent August 8, 1969, in a funk. She was two weeks away from her son’s birth and was living in a house with Abigail Folger and her boyfriend, holocaust survivor Wojciech Frykowski, of whom she was growing tired. She was lonely, but eagerly awaiting the birth of her bundle of joy. She didn’t know the child’s sex, but all that mattered to Sharon was that her and Roman would finally be parents.

After napping in the late afternoon, Sharon and her housemates, along with Sebring visited the El Coyote restaurant. After dining they returned home. Wojciech fell asleep on the couch, Abigail retired to her room to read a book, and Jay and Sharon were in her room having a conversation.

At around 12:30, Sharon Tate and her friends, Jay Sebring, Abigail Folger, Wojciech Frykowski, and a teenaged boy named Steven Parent, were murdered by Tex Watson, Susan Atkins and Patricia Krenwinkel of the Charles Manson family.

Sharon Tate rests in the Holy Cross Cemetery, Culver City, California, with her son, Paul Richard Polanski, in her arms.

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Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office; evidence files.

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