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|Also Known As:||Sharon Marie Tate||Died:||August 9, 1969|
|Born:||January 24, 1943||Cause of Death:||murder|
|Birth Place:||Dallas, Texas, USA||Profession:||actor|
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s to come, most notably by dedicating his 1979 film "Tess" to her memory. The book was one that the couple had discussed as a project for Tate prior to her death. In 2005, he sued Vanity Fair magazine over allegations that he had attempted to pick up a woman while en route to Tate's funeral. Among those testifying on his behalf was Tate's sister, Debra, with whom he had remained close. its Gothic atmosphere; Polanski disowned that version, which was a box office failure, and reviews of Tate's performance were centered largely on her semi-nude scenes. MGM attempted to generate interest in "Devil" with a campaign that centered on Tate's appearance, but the film was a non-starter. And the campy "Dolls" - now a cult classic - was met initially with some of the most scathing reviews of any film from that year or any other, though some critics took the time to pay tribute to Tate's glowing onscreen presence. She would later receive a Golden Globe nomination for "New Star of the Year" for her performance, but lost to Katherine Ross in the "The Graduate" (1968). For a year that was supposed to launch her into the acting stratosphere, 1967 was a mixed bag for Sharon Tate.One aspect of her career that had not...
s to come, most notably by dedicating his 1979 film "Tess" to her memory. The book was one that the couple had discussed as a project for Tate prior to her death. In 2005, he sued Vanity Fair magazine over allegations that he had attempted to pick up a woman while en route to Tate's funeral. Among those testifying on his behalf was Tate's sister, Debra, with whom he had remained close. its Gothic atmosphere; Polanski disowned that version, which was a box office failure, and reviews of Tate's performance were centered largely on her semi-nude scenes. MGM attempted to generate interest in "Devil" with a campaign that centered on Tate's appearance, but the film was a non-starter. And the campy "Dolls" - now a cult classic - was met initially with some of the most scathing reviews of any film from that year or any other, though some critics took the time to pay tribute to Tate's glowing onscreen presence. She would later receive a Golden Globe nomination for "New Star of the Year" for her performance, but lost to Katherine Ross in the "The Graduate" (1968). For a year that was supposed to launch her into the acting stratosphere, 1967 was a mixed bag for Sharon Tate.
One aspect of her career that had not cooled was the publicity, and Tate and Polanski's relationship was under constant scrutiny in newspapers and magazines. Their private life was complicated - though a free thinker in almost every way, Tate was a traditionalist when it came to monogamy, which Polanski found to be her biggest fault. Despite this schism, the couple was married in London on Jan. 20, 1968, after which they returned to Los Angeles and became one of the town's most celebrated couples. They played frequent host to some of the biggest names in the entertainment industry, as well as close personal friends like Sebring, Polish actor Wojciech Frykowski and his girlfriend, coffee heiress Abigail Folger, and record producer Terry Melcher, all of whom would play significant roles in the terrible end of Tate's life. The couple kept an open-door policy in regard to visitors, and allowed just about anyone into their home, much to the consternation of friends.
At Polanski's urging, Tate severed her relationship with Ransohoff and began taking the reins of her career. She received strong reviews for her comedic turn in "The Wrecking Crew" (1968), a Matt Helm spy spoof with Dean Martin, and with Polanski's help, signed on to a comedy originally titled "The Thirteen Chairs" but released as "12 + 1" (1968) with Orson Welles and Vittorio Gassman. The biggest news of the year, though, was the announcement that Tate was pregnant with Polanski's child. The couple moved into Melcher's former home at 10050 Cielo Drive in the exclusive Benedict Canyon neighborhood shortly before Tate traveled to Italy to shoot the new film. Polanski went to London to begin work on the thriller "The Day of the Dolphin" (1973), and Tate would join him there after completing her role in "12 + 1." On July 20, 1969, she returned to Los Angeles on the RMS Queen Elizabeth. Polanski stayed behind in London and asked Frykowski and Folger to stay with his very pregnant wife at the house until his return.
On the night of Aug. 8, 1969, members of cult leader Charles Manson's "Family" entered the Cielo Drive home with intent to commit murder in the name of "Helter Skelter," his twisted vision of apocalypse that he had lifted from The Beatles' White Album. Manson was familiar with the Benedict Canyon home from his association with Melcher, who had briefly indulged his musical aspirations, only to turn him down later. Manson saw it as the perfect location to begin a terror spree that he hoped would throw the city of Los Angeles into panic and ignite "Helter Skelter," or racial warfare. He was correct about the first part: Family members Tex Watson, Susan Atkins and Patricia Krenwinkel entered the home around midnight and murdered all of the occupants, including Sebring - who died first after trying to protect Tate - Folger, Frykowski and a teenage acquaintance of the property's caretaker named Steven Parent. Tate, who was eight months pregnant at the time, was the last to die. She was allegedly stabbed 16 times by Atkins, and died pleading for the life of her unborn child - to which Atkins famously replied, ""Look, bitch, I have no mercy for you. You're going to die." Using Tate's blood, Atkins then wrote "Pigs" on the Polanski's front door.
The news of the murders broke the following day following the discovery of the bodies by a housekeeper. A shattered Polanski returned to Los Angeles to oversee the funeral of Tate and their unborn son, Paul Richard Polanski, at Holy Cross Cemetery in Los Angeles. Terror over the murders - which intensified the following evening when Manson's family killed businessman Leno and his wife Rosemary LaBianca in much the same gruesome manner - was mixed with fascination for Tate's short and storied life, as well as speculation over how she had been chosen as the cult's most famous victim. Her films were immediately re-released into theaters for the public to pore over, and her final, posthumous film, "12 + 1," drew curious crowds. Photographs of Tate in what appeared to be a magic ritual were circulated, only to be revealed as stills from "Eye of the Devil." When some members of the press hinted that the couple's supposed "swinging lifestyle" helped contribute to her death; that Tate was a devil worshiper or a drug addict, Hollywood spoke out in defense of the late actress. Her "Dolls" co-star, Patty Duke called her "a gentle, gentle creature. I was crazy about her, and I don't know anyone who wasn't." Mia Farrow said "was as "sweet and pure a human being as I have ever known." Most emotional over the demonization of Tate was her bereft husband, who asked of journalists at an emotional press conference how often they had written that Tate "was beautiful. Maybe the most beautiful woman in the world. But did you ever write how good she was?" While those who knew and loved her mourned her unimaginable suffering and death, citizens in Hollywood, both famous and otherwise, locked their doors and hoped for a breakthrough.
Manson and the members of the Family responsible for Tate's death were arrested in late 1969; the trial, which drew the world's attention for over a year, revealed the horrific details of Tate's final moments, including the pathetic motive that Manson had committed the murders as revenge for his rejection by Melcher and the music establishment as a whole, sending his brainwashed minions out into the night to kill for him. Manson, Watson, Atkins, Krenwinkel and Leslie Van Houten, who had participated in the LaBianca murders, were sentenced to death for their roles in the murders of Sharon Tate and her companions; these were later commuted to life sentences in 1972. All parties remained behind bars, despite numerous parole hearings and testimonies to their reformed behavior, for the next four decades.
In the years following her death, Tate's identity became irrefutably intertwined with the Manson Family; her films and acting ability would not begin to receive their proper due until decades after her passing, when a cult grew around "Dolls" and the restored version of "Vampire Killers" was released on DVD. However, her legacy as a symbol for victim's rights bloomed in the 1980s, when Tate's family began testifying at parole hearings for the Manson Family members. Doris Tate was instrumental in contributing to the Doris Tate Crime Victims Bureau and Crime Victims Foundation, which helped to promote public awareness and support for crime victims; Tate's sisters took up the cause after their mother's death.
A haunted Polanski gave away all of the trappings of his life with Tate following her death; his subsequent criminal accusations of statutory rape in 1977 forced him to relocate to Europe to avoid extradition, but he continued to pay tribute to Tate in the decade
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Film critic Andrew Sarris, writing about "The Fearless Vampire Killers...", described the "ghostly presence of the fatally beautiful Sharon Tate."
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