Sharon Marie Tate (January 24, 1943 - August 9, 1969) was an American actress.
Sharon Tate was 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; she was crowned Miss Tiny Tot of Dallas Texas. Her very first jobs would include modeling.
While living in Verona, Italy, Sharon met Richard Beymer, who encouraged her to pursue acting and modeling as a full-time career. Richard gave his agent's card to Sharon. She began to took part in the film, Barrabas, as an extra. Making a good impression, whenever there was a film being made there Sharon would always get a call.
Moving back to the 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 being introduced to Martin Ransohoff, chairmen of Filmways, Sharon was on her way to becoming a star. Her parents, wanting to make Sharon's dreams come true, allowed her to become a ward of the court as she was under 21 years old. After becoming a Filmways client, Sharon was signed on to appear as a secretary on "The Beverley Hillbillies", she also began making appearances on other shows such as "Mr. Ed", "Man from U.N.C.L.E", and was also cast for a short time on "Petticoat Junction".
Determined to make her a star, Ronsohoff paid out over 1 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.
There love affair was rocky but intense, and Forquet proposed to Sharon, who accepted. However, their relationship soon ended, with Forquet walking away.
After much pushing for new parts from Sharon, Ronsohoff felt it was time for him to give her bigger parts. She soon was auditioning 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, and it was given to another actress. But soon "The Eye of the Devil", or "13", was brought to her.
Sharon around this time had met and 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. The two were inseparable. After filming "Eye of the Devil" in Europe, Sharon was given a part in acclaimed director Roman Polanski's movie "The Fearless Vampire Killers."
At first Sharon did not like Roman, as her was an absolute perfectionist, but soon she began to fall 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. Not wanting to let go, Jay insisted on meeting Roman so that he would know if she was making the right choice and to see 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.
After filming wrapped, Sharon began shooting a movie alongside Tony Curtis, called "Don't Make Waves." In the film Sharon performs her own stunts, something that impressed everyone. Sharon began to hate filming the movie because she was not only separated from Roman, but she felt she was being 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 was cast alongside such names as Judy Garland (soon replaced by Susan Hayward), Patty Duke, and Barbara Parkins. Although she hated the book and movie, she went along with it hoping to be noticed so she would be offered better roles.
Filming was hard, mainly because the director enjoyed humiliating Sharon, and because of the bickering that happened between Patty and Barbara.
The movie soon premiered and everyone soon realized, that although the book was very serious, it had become a comedy... and unintentional comedy. But it didn't stop Sharon from willingly talking to the press afterwards, which her costars avoided.
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 publicity pictures for Esquire magazine. The session was cutting edge and a lot of publicity for the film "Valley of the Dolls" was created because of it.
This year, 1967, became known as "The Year Sharon Tate Happens."
Sharon and Roman returned to London, and were by this time known as the "Groovy Couple of the Year" in movie magazines. 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 costar Barbara Parkins her maid of honor. The world press covered the couples January 20th wedding which was very modern.
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. She agreed, feeling it was the only way she could take charge of her career and the roles she would take.
Her first movie would be "The Wrecking Crew," in which she played alongside legend Dean Martin. In this film she performed her own stunts, and was taught martial arts by none other than Bruce Lee. He and Sharon would become friends and she would get Bruce to go to her and Roman's home, which was being rented from Patty Duke, so he could teach Roman.
By the fall of 1968, Sharon was nominated for a Golden Globe as 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. Sharon 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'd easily want to do after living through hell as a child. However, became excited at the idea after a shot while and with much reassurance and love from Sharon.
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. Their home had been used by 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 be finished the film by the time she was too pregnant to continue.
Filming was hard as Sharon had a lot of actions scenes and running around was hard on his swollen feet. Not one to complain, Sharon would rest between takes and had never asked for special treatment.
After filming, Sharon returned to London to be with Roman, who was making preparations for 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 made 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.
According to friends, Sharon spent August 8, 1969, in a funk. She was 2 weeks away from her son's birth and was living in a house with Abigail Folger and her boyfriend, holocaust survivor Wojciech Frykowski, with whom she was growing tired of. She was lonely, but eagerly awaiting the birth of her bundle of joy. The sex of the child was unknown 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 Jay (who lived in the Jean Harlow house, which was haunted) all 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 deep conversation.
At around 12:30, Sharon Tate and her friends, Jay Sebring, Abigail Folger, Wojciech Frykowski, and a teenaged boy named Steven Parent, were killed by members of Charles Manson's "cult", who took the five by surprise.
She is interred in the Holy Cross Cemetery, Culver City, California. With her son, Paul Richard Polanski, in her arms.