Sharon Tate is perhaps the most famous of all of the Manson Family murder victims. At the time, she was only 26 years old and on her way to becoming a huge star in Hollywood. Unfortunately, it is not really for her career she is remembered but rather for the gruesome way in which she and four others were murdered in the early morning hours of August 9, 1969. At the time of her death, the young actress was married to Roman Polanski and carrying his child. She was eight and a half months along at the time of the murder and begged the murderers to spare her child’s life but it was to no avail.
The actress was only credited in six films but with her talent and stunning looks, she was taking Hollywood by storm. She co-starred in Valley of the Dolls, which, at the time of the adaptation, was based on the fastest selling book of all time. For her role in the film, she was nominated for a Golden Globe. This was, sadly, only two years before her life was cut short.
Of course, many people know the general details of the brutal murders but there was much more to Tate rather than just that. There are also some spooky details about her life that, knowing how she met her end, may seriously creep you out.
11. Her First Film Was About An Occult Blood Sacrifice
Her first film was Eye of the Devil. The opening credit even stated “Introducing Sharon Tate”, as they knew they had found Hollywood’s next big star. In the film, Tate played a witch who had mysterious powers. The plot of the horror movie has to do with making a blood sacrifice to the devil, which is eerie when considering how Tate met her end. The film didn’t do great commercially and had little effect on Tate’s career but has since become something of a cult classic.
10. Tate’s Role In Valley Of The Dolls
Tate was cast in the role of Jennifer North in Valley of the Dolls. This was definitely odd considering the jarring similarities she had with the character. First of all, the character is one who constantly claims to have no real talent but still rises to the top of Hollywood because she is beautiful. While Tate did have actual talent, she often complained about being typecast because of her stunning looks.
The character was based on Marilyn Monroe and Carole Landis, both of whom killed themselves and thus were petrified with their youthful and beautiful looks in a sense. While Tate did not take her own life, it was ended much too early and, like the other two actresses, she is forever remembered for her youthful, stunning looks.
9. She Called Her Home Her “Love House”
Upon finding out that they were expecting, Tate and Polanski looked for a larger house to call their home, which they would find in the house on 10050 Cielo Drive, located in a canyon just north of Beverly Hills. The beautiful home featured a loft living room, stone fireplaces, a pool and a guest house.
Rudolph Altobelli owned the fated house that the two would call home. He often rented it out to stars, including Cary Grant and Henry Fonda. When Tate and Polanski began renting it out, Tate would refer to the house as her “love house”, unaware of the horrors that would happen to her in the home.
8. She Won Beauty Contest At 6 Months Old
Some people are just destined for greatness, right? At just six months old, Tate won the Miss Tiny Tot of Dallas Pageant. Her mother would later remember that strangers on the street would apparently just stop dead in their tracks to look what a beautiful child Tate was. These stunning looks didn’t fade as she grew. Of her, Mia Farrow, a close friend, once said that Tate “was like a princess in a fairy tale. As kind as she was beautiful.” She was praised in this form by many after her death, close friends were in awe of her outward beauty and also her inward beauty.
7. They Used Tate’s Blood To Write On The Door
The scene police arrived to find was gruesome to say the least. A female victim, Abigail Folger, was found on the front lawn and had been stabbed 28 times. Wojciech Frykowski was also found on the front lawn and had been stabbed 51 times. From the details provided by the members of the Manson Family, Tate was the very last victim. Having seen was what done to her friends, Tate begged for her life and the life of her unborn child, who was eight and a half months along. She even went as far as to offer herself as a hostage so her child could live.
In the end, they stabbed Tate 16 times in the stomach. Several of the stabbings were fatal in and of themselves. Since Manson had told them to leave “a witchy sign,” they grabbed a towel, drenched it in Tate’s blood and wrote “PIG” on the front door.
6. Her Mother Is Recognized For Championing Victims’ Rights
Following Tate’s murder, her mother Doris became very depressed, and rightfully so. When she started coming out of her depression, she took the active route in fighting for the memory of Sharon Tate. When the members of the Manson Family were up for parole (not sure why this was ever even a consideration) Doris attending the hearings and spoke in the name of Sharon. She also spoke to other families who had experienced a loss like hers and she even spoke to prisoners. She felt that by telling prisoners her story, it would help their rehabilitation in that they could see how a violence crime affects more than just the victim.
5. “The Million Dollar Baby”
When Tate met Martin Ransohoff, he signed her immediately and was determined to make her a star. Back in the day, stars were actually made in Hollywood. After being signed, actors and actresses would undergo a makeover, be taught to walk and talk, change their names, change their wardrobes, and lose weight. Basically, they would be groomed into stars before their very first movie. At the time, this practice was fading fast because of the threat of television. Everything in the entertainment industry was changing, but Ransohoff was so certain of Tate’s success that he pulled all his resources to launch her. It is said that he spent $1 million on her training and prep before her big break. She became known as The Million Dollar Baby and one of the very last stars to be of the typical “studio star” nature.
4. The Year Sharon Tate Happens
In 1967, Playboy published an article claiming that “1967 was the year that Sharon Tate happens.” With three films slated to premiere that year, it was easy to see why Playboy would make such a statement. Valley of the Dolls was released to harsh reviews but still managed to do well at the box office, which was expected since the book on which the film was based was the fastest selling book of all time. The Fearless Vampire Killers also came out. This film received better reviews and was directed by her then-boyfriend Roman Polanski. The third film was possibly the film that earned her the most attention. She starred in Don’t Make Waves with Tony Curtis but all the marketing for the film was based around her. The studio released photos and cardboard cutouts of her in her bikini and she even became a spokesperson for Coppertone.
The Playboy article included six provocative, nude or semi-nude photos of Tate.
3. The Others Who Died With Her
Sharon Tate was not the only one to suffer at the hands of the Manson Family on the night of her death. She was among five people brutally murdered at her home on the night of August 8, 1969. That night, she had dinner with three friends at El Coyote, her favorite restaurant in LA which is still open today. The three friends returned with her to her home, where the Manson Family murdered them shortly after midnight.
Along with Tate, all three of the friends were murdered. Among them was Jay Sebring, a successful hair stylist, who was also Tate’s ex. Despite the fact that her and Tate had a past, he was very close to both Tate and Polanski. The other two friends were Wojciech Frykowski and his girlfriend Abigail Folger. Frykowski was an aspiring screenwriter and Folger was the heiress to the Folger’s fortune.
The fifth victim that night was Steven Parent, an 18-year-old who had been visiting William Garretson, a man who lived on the site as the property caretaker. Garretson would be the only surviving person who was on the property that night, likely because he wasn’t in the main house.
2. She Wore A Mini Dress To Her Wedding
In January 1968, Sharon Tate married the director Roman Polanski (who is quite well-known for some, uh, other things these days) in a “rich hippie” style. The two planned an impromptu wedding in London, in which Barbara Parkins, her co-star in Valley of the Dolls, served as her Maid of Honor. The whole wedding, down to the mini dress that Tate donned as her wedding dress, was very chic and of the current time. The wedding received a lot of media coverage due to the fact that such an untraditional couple would be doing something as traditional as getting married. It was true that they were celebrating the tradition of marriage, but from the sound of it, the wedding wasn’t too traditional.
1. The Film Tess (1979) Was Dedicated To Her
Before returning to the US, Sharon Tate left a copy of the book Tess of the d’Urbervilles with Roman Polanski, telling him that it would make a great film. Tate herself expressed interest in playing the role of Tess. Unfortunately, Tate would die a few days after her arrival in the US, never able to play the role of Tess. Polanski did, in fact, make the film, which was released in 1979. The film received positive critical acclaim, earned six Academy Awards nominations and went on to win three of the awards. There is a dedication to Sharon Tate at the beginning of the film.