Born January 24, 1943
Murdered August 9, 1969
In her day, Sharon Tate was a promising actress and model. Pretty and blonde, she began winning beauty contests at the age of six months ("Miss Tiny Tot of Dallas"). She was born in Dallas, Texas to Doris and Paul Tate. Her father was an Army intelligence officer so she, her parents, and her sisters (Patricia and Deborah, both younger) moved around quite a bit. As she grew up, her good looks won her acclaim in beauty pagents and other venues, including homecoming and prom queen. She also fared well as a basketball player and cheerleader.
While she was in high school, in Italy where her father was stationed at the time, she began to receive small parts in television programs and movies. Notable roles during this time include appearances on The Pat Boone Show and the movie Barrabas. In 1963, the Tates moved back to the United States, settling in San Pedro, California.
While she grubbed around working low paying jobs, she continually worked on her acting skills. She appeared in a number of commercials, but no big breaks came. She did appear in the pilot for the hit television show, Petticoat Junction, but her manager felt the role would not have been good for her career. Her other television appearances during this time in her life include small roles on The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and The Beverly Hillbillies.
Her first big film role came in 1965 when she was cast in Eye of the Devil, a witchcraft film, in which she garnered favorable reviews. After filming a friend introduced her to Roman Polanski, who was gearing up to film The Fearless Vampire Killers. During and after the filming of that movie, they became lovers and were seen all over Hollywood together.
When the immensely successful novel, Valley of the Dolls, was set to be made into a movie, Sharon Tate was selected to be one of the main characters, Jennifer North. Again, she received great praise for her performance, and it appeared that she was on her way to becoming a huge star.
On January 20, 1968, she and Polanski married in London. They celebrated their honeymoon with skiing in the Swiss Alps. Afterwards, she starred in The Wrecking Crew with Dean Martin and The Thirteen Chairs (released as 12 + 1) with Orson Welles.
In July 1969, eight months pregnant, she flew from London to Los Angeles to prepare for the birth of her and Polanski's first child.
Sometime before midnight, August 9, 1969, members of Charles Manson's family arrived at the Tate-Polanski residence and began murdering people. Around 8 the next morning, Winifred Chapman, Sharon Tate’s housekeeper, found the carnage and called police. Murdered along with Tate were Abigail Folger, heir to the Folger's coffee fortune, her lover Voytek Frykowski, renowned hairdresser Jay Sebring, and the unborn Paul Richard Polanski. Teenager Steve Parent, friend of the estate's caretaker, was also killed. Of all of them, Sharon Tate was killed last.
In addition to Manson, Manson Family members Charles "Tex" Watson, Susan “Sadie” Atkins, Patricia “Katie” Krenwinkel, and Leslie Van Houten were convicted of crimes directly related to the murders. Sadie Atkins confessed to being largely responsible for the injuries Tate herself suffered.
The Internet Movie Database