Photos of Sharon Tate You’ve Probably Never Seen Before
Sharon Tate’s legacy has long been tied to the gruesome tragedy that was her death. It’s now been more than 50 years since the shocking Manson Cult killings and her passing. Here, we remember the actress and the life that she lead in photos.
Born a Beauty Queen
Sharon Tate was born in Dallas, Texas in 1943. At just six months old, the future star was named Miss Tiny Tot.
Born into a military family, Tate spent most of her childhood moving from city to city. “We were always traveling, often into a different country, and that makes it hard on keeping friends,” Tate’s sister Debra Tate told The New York Times.
Introduction to Film
While in high school in the late 1950s, Tate’s family was stationed in Italy, where she began to work as a film extra and fell in love with acting.
Working as a Model
After Tate’s family returned to the United States, she found work as a fashion model in 1960 while she pursued her acting career.
A Move to Hollywood
Tate eventually moved to Hollywood to pursue acting. In 1962, she caught her big break and signed a seven-year contract with director Martin Ransohoff at Filmways Inc.
Tate began auditioning for roles on various television shows. Here she is posing (far right) with the early cast of Petticoat Junction in 1963. Tate auditioned for the role of Billie Jo, but was not hired.
By the mid-sixties, the actress was successful on TV, booking guest spots on sitcoms like Mr. Ed and a reoccurring role on Beverly Hillbillies.
After her successful run on television, director Martin Ransohoff felt she was ready to take on film.
A Rocky Relationship
During this time, Tate and French actor, Philippe Forquet, got engaged in 1963. However the two had a tumultuous relationship and broke off their engagement the following year.
Return to TV
On the brink of a blossoming film career, Tate returned to television for a guest appearance on the hit show, Man from U.N.C.L.E. starring David McCallum. in 1965.
A Big Break
Tate landed her first film, Eye of the Devil, in 1965. She starred alongside child star Suky Appleby and David Niven.
A Stunted Romance
Tate began dating celebrity hairstylist Jay Sebring in 1964. The two had a solid relationship, but decided to part ways in 1965, remaining good friends. (Jay Sebrig was among one of the Manson Cult killing victims.)
The “It” Girl
Throughout the 1960s, Tate became one of Hollywood’s brightest starlets, appearing in fashion shoots and on magazine covers as a celebrated “it” girl.
The post-production of Eye of the Evil took a long time. Even though filming wrapped in 1966, the film didn’t premiere until 1967, delaying Tate’s ascension to stardom.
A Missed Opportunity
In her early film career, Tate auditioned for Liesl in The Sound of Music in 1965—but Charmian Carr was cast instead.
An Iconic Look
The actress was also known for her signature look of bold false eyelashes and blonde bangs—a look that soon became the aesthetic of the era.
Beautiful, Inside and Out
Tate was beloved by many for her kind nature. “She was so sweet and so kind, intelligent, and lighter than the air in every way,” Tate’s sister, Debra Tate told Vanity Fair.
After wrapping Eye of the Devil, Tate signed on to to play the inn keeper’s daughter in the 1966 film The Fearless Vampire Killers on one condition: she could wear a red wig.
Falling in Love
The young actress and up-and-coming director, Roman Polanski, began dating in 1966 after meeting on the set of The Fearless Vampire Killers. Here, Tate accompanies Polanski to the premiere of his 1966 film Cul de Sac.
The Year of Sharon Tate
Playboy magazine proclaimed that 1967 was the year of Sharon Tate, as the highly anticipated film star’s fame exploded.
A Film Debut
Although the 1967 film Don’t Make Waves was technically Tate’s third major film shoot, it was the first of her projects to appear in theaters.
Working With A-Listers
The budding starlet starred alongside Tony Curtis, who played Carlo Cofield, in Don’t Make Waves.
Tate’s character in Don’t Make Waves, Malibu, was intended to capitalize on 1960s beach culture and served as inspiration for the Malibu Barbie Doll.
Posing for ‘Esquire’
While living in New York City with Polanski in 1967, Tate posed for Esquire in photos that would become highly publicized and regarded in pop culture.
The Biggest Role Yet
Tate starred alongside Barbara Parkins and Patty Duke in the 1967 film adaptation of Valley of the Dolls.
A Tragic Character
In Valley of the Dolls, Tate portrayed Jennifer North, a beautiful Hollywood actress who ends up committing suicide.
Tate on Set
Tate is seen discussing a scene with director Mark Robson while filming her biggest—and by far most controversial—role as Jennifer North in Valley of the Dolls.
Plenty of Premieres
After long post-productions, both Fearless Vampire Killers and Eye of the Devil were set to release in 1967, making Tate the star of four major films in one year.
Tate’s role as Jennifer North in Valley of the Dolls, is easily her most notable and earned her a Golden Globe nomination in 1967.
Polanski and Tate got engaged in 1967. Tate’s sister, Debbie Tate, said the actress was “head over heels in love” with Polanski in an interview with The New York Times in 2018.
Another Big Role
In 1968, Tate starred in The Wrecking Crew with Dean Martin.
A New Look
Tate strayed from her signature blonde bangs for her film The Wrecking Crew, in which she wore a curly brunette wig.
Saying ‘I Do’
Polanski and Tate exchanged vows at London’s Chelsea Registry office in 1968.
The Wedding Dress
Tate’s wedding look—a long sleeve mini dress and flowers scattered in her hair—instantly became iconic. The dress sold at an auction last year for $56,000 to an anonymous buyer.
The Wedding Reception
Tate and Polanski celebrated their nuptials with an A-list Hollywood crowd during their reception at the London Playboy Club.
The Wedding Fanfare
As a couple, Tate and Polanski attracted a lot of attention from the press. Their wedding in 1968 was no different and garnered a lot of press, especially in the UK.
The Flower Child Era
In the late ’60s, Tate became synonymous with the flower child era and was often regarded as a modern or unconventional figure.
A Style Icon
Tate was often noticed for her fashion sense. Here she is at the Cannes Film Festival in 1968.
Supporting One Another
Tate visited her husband on the set of his film Rosemary’s Baby in New York. Polanski reportedly wanted Tate to play the lead, but Mia Farrow was cast instead.
A Hollywood Golden Couple
After her Golden Globe nomination, Tate began to be recognized as the newest ingenue in Hollywood. Similarly, Polanski had earned monumental success with his films.
Finding Her Niche
After receiving mixed critical reviews for Valley of the Dolls and enduring the box office flop of Fearless Vampire Killers, Tate spoke about her hopes of finding a career in comedy, similar to that of Carole Lombard or Catherine Deneuve.
In 1969, Polanski and Tate attended the premiere of Rosemary’s Baby, which Polanski directed. It would go on to receive 12 award nominations, including two Academy Awards.
A Presence on Screen
The actress was said to have a glowing presence on the screen. Even film critic Roger Ebert, who criticized Valley of the Dolls, said at the time that the actress “remains a wonder to behold.”
Your Normal Couple
Despite their blossoming Hollywood careers, Tate and Polanski managed to lead a semi-normal life. Here, the couple is seen shopping for antiques on King’s Road in London.
Based in Europe
After their wedding, the celebrity couple established their home in Polanski’s London apartment.
Always the Host
Tate loved to host friends and parties. The actress (center) and her husband, Polanski, pose on the spiral staircase in their London apartment with friends, which included Jay Sebring (left).
Expecting a Baby
In 1969, Tate and Polanski announced that they were expecting their first child together.
Tate cuts her husband’s hair while at their California home.
Her Final Role
Tate filmed her sixth film, Twelve Plus One, in London in June of 1969.
Concealing a Pregnancy
Tate finished filming 12 + 1 just as her pregnancy began to show. After wrapping production, the actress returned to California.
While Polanski was in London, Tate, who was 8 and a half months pregnant, and her friends were murdered in her Los Angeles rental home by the Manson Family cult on August 9, 1969.
Horror in Hollywood
The news of Tate’s murder shocked the world and Hollywood. “Los Angeles was in shock. For months, no one talked of anything else. Gates and guard dogs went up everywhere overnight,” Candice Bergen wrote in her memoir Knock Wood.
Remembering Sharon Tate
Tate was senselessly murdered just as her career was on the precipice of explosion. As the star of six motion pictures within three years, there’s no question of her inevitable success.
Sharon Tate’s Legacy Lives On
Tate’s mother Doris Tate (pictured) and sister Debra Tate have fought to honor her life by standing up for victims of violence. Doris founded the Coalition on Victims’ Equal Rights and helped pass the Victims’ Rights Bill in 1982.
‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’
The release of Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood brought new life to Tate’s legacy. With approval and praise from the late actress’ family, Margot Robbie portrayed the actress and gave audiences a glimpse at the starlet’s bright life. “The tone in her voice was completely Sharon, and it just touched me so much that big tears (started falling). The front of my shirt was wet. I actually got to see my sister again …nearly 50 years later,” Debra Tate said in told Vanity Fair.