Sharon Tate was a blossoming star in the late 1960s who’s life came to a tragic conclusion. The heinous Manson murders have been heavily discussed by Americans over the following years. Regretfully, most people seemingly fail to recognize the flourishing career of one of the Manson victims, Sharon Tate.
While the end of Tate’s life gets a majority of public attention; the actress’s early years help paint the portrait of the truly beautiful human that she was.
Tate’s Tumultuous Childhood
Sharon was born on January 24th, 1943, in Dallas Texas. Her Parents were Colonel Paul James Tate and Doris Gwendolyn. She also had two younger sisters Debra and Patrica Tate. Due to her father’s military career, she lived in 6 different cities by the time she was 16 years old. Surprisingly enough the soon to be star got her first taste of show business success at the age of 16 when she won her first beauty pageant. Eventually, Sharon had to move to Italy because of her father’s job. Tate graduated from high school in 1961 and by 1962 she had started the very beginnings of her film career. While in Italy the Dallas native was an extra in Barabbas and Adventures of a Young Man. That same year saw her return to America. The up and comer soon after moved to Los Angeles to pursue her desire to perform.
The childhood of Tate had little to no consistency. Fortunately, her outgoing personality and undeniable talent set her up to be a star in the creative renaissance that was the 1960’s.
Getting Her Foot In The Door
Some of Sharon’s early roles were in popular T.V. series. The young actress was in several episodes of The Beverly Hillbillies, Mister Ed and The Man from U.N.C.L.E. between 1963 and 1965. From there she received her first big film role in the 1967 horror flick Eye of the Devil. Sharon played a witch in this film about a farmer who turns to ancient pagan rituals to promote the growth of his crops. This film was an interesting film debut. During the film, she also met her future husband, Polish filmmaker Roman Polanski. Her companionship with Polanski may have had its ups and downs, but that relationship seemingly helped kickstart the actress’s career.
The Dallas native was in Roman Polanski’s The Fearless Vampire Killers. The movie is a unique horror-comedy where two men travel to Transylvania in search of vampires, with one of the two men falling in love with an inn-keeper. Roman Polanski directed and acted in this film, and interestingly enough played the love interest of Sharon Tate’s character.
From this point on the young actress began making a name for herself in the film industry. She went on to have substantial roles in 1967’s Valley of the Dolls and 1968’s The Wrecking Crew.
Making A Name For Herself
Valley of the Dolls is perhaps the most interesting role of the actress’s short career. The film is essentially a character study of three women’s fall from glory in show business. The next film she starred in was a Dean Martin 007 spoof The Wrecking Crew. In this film, Dean Martin starred as a government spy who is trying to stop the count, played by Nigel Green, from stealing gold. Tate’s character is Freya Carlson who is sent in to assist Dean Martin’s character. Her Freya character in The Wrecking Crew was an adorable clutz that stole plenty of scenes from the established star Dean Martin.
Sharon Tates’s final film released was Twelve Plus One in 1969. Twelve Plus One is the story of Mario and Pat, played by Vittorio Gassman and the aforementioned Tate. The movie sees Mario sell a set of 13 antique chairs without realizing one of the chairs held incredibly valuable documents. Sharon’s character Pat serves as Mario’s partner as they go on an adventure to seek out the elusive chairs.
Tate was in six films between 1967 and 1969. Her performances were dynamic and enthralling. Unfortunately, the films now serve as a grim reminder of the generational talent that was robbed from the world.
Sharon Tate was murdered on August 9th, 1969. Everyone seems to rehash the grizzly details of her fatal night over and over. Sadly no one stops to examine the compelling life she lived before her tragic end. The 1960’s served as a platform for many filmmakers and thespians to showcase the art within them. Sharon Tate proves to be one of the more complex and beautiful stars of the decade.