As we approach 2019, let us take a moment to brace ourselves for the oncoming onslaught of Manson Family “tributes” destined for the 50th anniversary year of the Tate-LaBianca murders. Here at its epicenter, in the city of Los Angeles, it seems like every other week that there are murmurings about the new Tarantino flick, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. And I wasn’t aware of this, but apparently there will be two additional Sharon Tate films released next year as well - The Haunting of Sharon Tate and Tate. Manson’s orders may have led to the gruesome murders of eight innocent individuals between August 8-10, 1969, but we will always remember Sharon Tate.
Our frame of reference today may primarily recognize her as one cult’s sacrifice to Helter Skelter. Had these random, senseless killings not occurred, however, Tate would have been known for her promising career as a beloved Hollywood actress and style icon. Emerging onto the Hollywood scene in the early Sixties, Tate was part of a new generation of actors during a renaissance of film making known as the “American New Wave.” Beautiful and naturally talented, she starred in a number of films including Eye of the Devil, Valley of the Dolls, and The Fearless Vampire Killers, the prelude of her marriage to famous director and certified-creep, Roman Polanski. It was at Polanski and Tate’s home where the murders on 10500 Cielo Dr took place.
Over the weekend, located just three miles and essentially one long street from the scene of the crime, Julien’s Auctions of Beverly Hills held an estate auction of the property of Sharon Tate. While there were plenty of theories online as to why, the sale’s coinciding with the fiftieth anniversary of Tate’s untimely death seems aptly timed. The auction was arranged in accordance with Sharon’s sister, Debra, the owner of the former belongings and someone who has been vocal over the years toward victims’ rights and preserving her sister’s image. An excerpt of her intent to auction Sharon’s memorabilia is below:
When Julien’s first approached me with the idea of doing an auction of my sister’s considerable collection of clothes, accessories, and personal effects, I was immediately apprehensive. For 49 years I had lovingly stored and preserved these items as a way of keeping Sharon close by. While my sister is never far away in spirit, over the decades I have always been able to turn to these treasures for comfort and as a tangible reminder of the wonderful times we spent together.
Sharon was the sweetest, most gentile, most giving soul you could ever hope to meet - even more beautiful on the inside than she was on the outside. She had a special radiance, beyond the perfection of her features, that touched everyone she met. As her husband Roman Polanski said, “In those day, she was not just the love of my life, she was the love of everyone’s life.” And it’s true.
And as the years pass I have come to realize that my sister’s enormous popularity, both as an actress and as a ‘60s fashion and style icon, is continually growing. Sharon’s signature style - whether in couture, hippie chic, or her classic “Hollywood” look in Valley of the Dolls with the dramatic eye makeup and cascading blonde hair - are constantly referenced on the runway, the red carpet, and in magazine editorials worldwide. Today, my sister is loved and adored by so many fans and admirers. For this reason, and after much consideration, I now feel the time is right to share a little of Sharon with others.
As the world knows, in 1969 my sister was involved in an event that changed America in ways that still resonate. Through her fame, and the hard work of my family and I, she has become the face of a cause - Victim’s Rights - that continues to save lives to this day. That said, I always felt it was very unfair for her life to be remembered primarily for its final moments. Sharon had a magnificent life. Born into a family who loved her very much, she had a wonderful childhood. She traveled the world. She was talented. She became a film star. She met and married the man of her dreams. She experienced impending motherhood. She achieved so much in such a brief time, made a significant impact, and continues to fascinate and delight. It is important that her life be celebrated.
Among the items for auction were some of Sharon’s most favored dresses, including the one worn at her wedding, and those from film premieres, the Golden Globes, Cannes, photo shoots, etcetera. Also on display were clothing accessories such as jewelry, coats, bags, and sunglasses. And then there were souvenirs from her home, which were most likely present the night of her murder. Items like framed photos, makeup kits, treasured books, dishware, and other decorative items. Every single piece had a starting price from the hundreds to the five-digit thousands (the wedding dress sold for $56K). It was an ominous feeling in such an alluring setting. And while no one mentioned Manson, everyone was obviously thinking about him.
I was able to obtain some scans from the official Julien’s Auctions estate catalog, available below for the first time:
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
‘Charles Manson Superstar’: The underworld Pope is (finally) dead. May he rot in Hell
An Uncanny Resemblance to Manson Appears in Sharon Tate’s Last Film
Sharon Tate’s screen test for ‘Valley Of The Dolls’