I’ve always felt a strange connection with Sharon Tate. The now iconic model and actress tragically died years before I was born, but I still feel this odd connection with her. I can’t explain why exactly, but no doubt this stemmed from a love of her and her movies combined with the tragedy that ended her life. Usually the death of a person whom you don’t know is easier to get over, but I’ve never been really able to forget about Sharon, her life, or her death. I first knew of her thanks to my love of film, it was only afterwards that I learnt of her death, but when many hear the name Sharon Tate, it’s unsurprising that they may only be aware of the tragic circumstances in which she died on August 9th 1969. At only 26 years old, the stunningly beautiful actress and model, her unborn child, and four of her friends were murdered by the followers of Charles Manson.
The horrific tragedy, which made headlines across the world, brought an end to the peaceful time of the sixties and it was after this, that the Tate family began their tireless crusade (which still goes on today) to ensure that all involved with the murders were never released. In 1982, Her mother Doris successfully amended Californian Criminal Law to allow the families of the victims to make Victim Impact Statements and she was the first woman to do so under this new law. Doris, her husband Paul James Tate and her daughters, Patti and Debra would attend all the subsequent parole hearings of the killers and to this day none of them have ever been released. Deborah continues to fight for this cause today (she is sadly the only member of the immediate family still alive) to ensure that Sharon’s killers never get released. She is also hoping to release a book about Sharon in the near future that will focus on everything but her death. She says:
“Sharon had an amazing body of work. I don’t know when she had time to interact with friends and family, she was so incredibly busy. I want to fortify her beauty as a person and as a style and fashion icon. I want to put that back out there again because she is not just a victim. That was a very small portion of her life.”
Sharon, born in Dallas in Texas in January of 1943, had just begun to make her mark on Hollywood before her death with her roles in two of my favourite films from the sixties; “The Fearless Vampire Killers” and “ Valley of the Dolls.” She also starred in the film “Wrecking Crew” with Dean Martin though this had very limited release. The actress, who was married to film director Roman Polanski, and her films have now reached a cult-like status. She was also an infamous cover girl and her style and look are still re-created in fashion today. Kelly Osbourne is said to be a great fan of hers, and Drew Barrymore and Blake Lively, for example, were featured in fabulous spreads in Vogue and Glamour Magazine with Sharon as the inspiration behind them, which I’ll be looking at in greater detail tomorrow.
I’ve always adored the style of the sixties and Sharon even then, really dressed ahead of the times. She was exquisitely beautiful, obviously very talented and is now a true style icon. It was truly horrific that her life was taken away when she was so young and had so much ahead of her, but it’s wonderful that she is still remembered in our culture today.
Are you a Sharon Tate fan? Tell all in the comments section!