/Who Was Sharon Tate?

Who Was Sharon Tate?

Sharon Tate, the Hollywood actress known for her roles in Valley of the Dolls and The Fearless Vampire Killers, was killed in 1969 by Charles Manson’s cult followers. In 2019—fifty years after her death—the late actress’ story is making it to the big screen, with two new films about her set to come out this year.

The Haunting of Sharon Tate is the first film set to be released about the actress. Tate will be played by Hilary Duff, who has an eerie resemblance to the late Hollywood star.

The film details the final days of Tate’s life on Earth. According to Deadline, “The plot is inspired by an actual quote from the Golden Globe-nominated Valley of the Dolls star, from an interview published a year before her death, wherein she reveals having dreams about ghosts haunting her house and foreseeing her own death at the hands of a satanic cult.” The Haunting of Sharon Tate will be released in theaters and on demand on April 5.

Tate’s story will also be told in Quentin Tarantino’s forthcoming movie, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. Margot Robbie is set to play the late Hollywood actress in the star-studded film, which will come out over the summer.

Before the two films are released, here is everything you need to know about the ’60s actress before her story makes it to the big screen.

Actress Sharon Tate arriving at JFK in New York.

Getty ImagesNew York Daily News Archive

Tate was originally from Texas.

Tate was born on January 24, 1943 in Dallas, to Colonel Peter James Tate and his wife, Doris Gwendolyn. Because Tate’s father was a United States Army colonel, she often moved around from city to city, which caused her to have trouble forging friendships with other kids. She attended three different high schools in a span of three years, eventually completing her education at an American high school in Verona, Italy in 1961.

Tate was a pageant queen.

Tate participated in a series of pageants as a teenager before she got into acting. She won the title of Miss Tiny Tot at six months old, and continued to complete later on in her youth. In 1959, she won five beauty pageant titles: Miss Frontier Days, Miss Richland, Miss Tri-Cities, Miss Water Follies, and Miss Auto-Rama. Tate’s love for modelling and being in the spotlight inspired her to start acting.

Tate got her start in television.

While living in Italy, Tate began to dip her toes into acting and starred as an extra in small productions. After she moved back to America, she set her sights on Hollywood and was cast as Janet Trego in The Beverly Hillbillies in 1962.

Sharon Tate And Roman Polanski In 'The Fearless Vampire Killers'
Sharon Tate and Roman Polanski in a scene from The Fearless Vampire Killers, 1967.

Getty ImagesArchive Photos

The Fearless Vampire Killers was her first film.

Tate made her American film debut when she starred in 1967 horror comedy The Fearless Vampire Killers, directed by Roman Polanski (Rosemary’s Baby, Chinatown). Following the horror film, she most notably held roles in Valley of the Dolls, Don’t Make Waves, The Wrecking Crew, and The Wrecking Chairs (also known as 12 + 1).

Film Wedding
Roman Polanski and Sharon Tate at their wedding

Getty ImagesEvening Standard

She married Roman Polanski in 1968.

Tate and Polanski met while filming The Fearless Vampire Killers. At the time, she was dating Hollywood hair stylist Jay Sebring. Tate and Sebring split amicably, but Sebring wanted to make sure that Tate was making the right choice in being with Polanski. The three all had dinner together and was able to maintain a healthy friendship with each other. Tate and Polanski married in London on January 20, 1968.

Tate was murdered by Charles Manson’s followers.

On August 9, 1969, Tate and her friends Wojciech Frykowski, Abigail Folger, and Jay Sebring rented out a house on 10050 Cielo Drive in Los Angeles while her husband was working in Europe. At the time, Tate was 26 years old and more than eight months pregnant. Charles Manson instructed cult members Charlie Watson, Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkel, and Linda Kasabian to murder anyone who was on the property. On Manson’s orders, the four stabbed, shot, and eventually killed Tate and her three friends.