Sharon Marie Tate (January 24, 1943 – August 9, 1969) was an American actress and model.
She was hailed as one of the New Hollywood's rising stars after her role in Valley of the Dolls earned her a Golden Globe Award nomination for Most Promising Newcomer. She married her director and co-star for The Fearless Vampire Killers, Roman Polański, in 1968 following their on-set romance.
Tate's life was tragically cut short when she was murdered on August 9, 1969 at the age of 26 by members of Charles Manson's "family", along with four other people and the unborn child she would have had with Polanski. Today, her actual life and career is heavily overshadowed by her murder, if only for the notoriety of it and its mastermind.
Works on TV Tropes:
- Barabbas (1961; appears as an extra)
- The Beverly Hillbillies (1963-1965)
- The Americanization of Emily (1964; she apparently filmed a bit part but it's uncertain if she made it into the final cut)
- The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (1965)
- Eye of the Devil (1966)
- Don't Make Waves (1967)
- Valley of the Dolls (1967)
- The Fearless Vampire Killers (1967)
- The Wrecking Crew (1968)
- The Thirteen Chairs (aka 12+1) (1969)
Portrayals in fiction:
- The comic book XIII Mystery: Little Jones has a film director named Norman Boltanski who married a blonde actress named Sharon. It's about the only things close to reality, as the murder of that Sharon happens by said director's hand, strangling her to death after finding out she cheated on him. The murder is then disguised by shadowy government agents as a racist attack by the Black Panthers in an attempt to undermine them, with no equivalent or mention of the Manson Family anywhere.
- Katie Cassidy played her in the 2016 horror film Wolves at the Door, loosely based on the Manson Family's murders.
- Rachel Roberts portrayed Sharon in the seventh season of American Horror Story, Cult.
- Grace Van Dien portrays her in Charlie Says.
- Hilary Duff portrays her in The Haunting of Sharon Tate, released in April 2019.
- She is played by Margot Robbie in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, also released in 2019.
- Kate Bosworth is set to play her in the upcoming Screen Gems biopic Tate.
Tropes associated with her work:
- Actor-Inspired Element: Although Sharon was not in Rosemary's Baby, she contributed a few ideas - notably for the scene where Rosemary is impregnated.
- Alternate Company Equivalent: Sharon joked that she wanted to be the American Catherine Deneuve.
- Awesome, Dear Boy: She starred in Twelve Plus One just so she could work with Orson Welles.
- Celebrity Crush: She had one on David Niven when she was in her teens, stating her intent to marry him one day. She revealed this to him when they worked together and he found the admiration flattering and amusing.
- Creator Backlash:
- She disliked the finished film of Valley of the Dolls. She privately told Roman Polanski she thought the book and script were awful, but knew the buzz around it would further her career.
- She disliked Don't Make Waves even more, calling it a "terrible movie" and resenting the focus on her looks. She mockingly referred to herself as "sexy little me".
- Cunning Linguist: She spoke fluent Italian due to her father being stationed in Italy for a good portion of her teen years.
- Dyeing for Your Art: Subverted. She just wore a red wig for The Fearless Vampire Killers.
- Everyone Loves Blondes: This was the image she was given by the press, although she was much more of a Shrinking Violet out of character.
- Fake Brit: Odile in Eye of the Devil, although French, speaks with an English accent. Sharon's is pretty convincing.
- Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: She was blonde and known as a very gentle, sweet-natured person.
- Hidden Depths: It is occasionally forgotten due to her incredible beauty but Sharon was also a legitimately talented and charismatic actress. Her debut film Eye of the Devil is an excellent illustration of her skills as she gives an exceptionally frightening and compelling performance and not only holds her own but evens steals the film opposite heavyweights David Niven and Deborah Kerr, both of whom praised her acting talents, and nails the English accent. She also proved herself a talented comedic actress in The Wrecking Crew and expressed a desire to do more comedic roles and beneath the camp aspects of the film, her performance in Valley of the Dolls is often praised for it's sincerity and making her character more than just fanservice. Terry-Thomas in his memoir praised her as a natural film star, someone whose charisma, magnetism and star power was apparent as soon as a camera was placed on them.
- Hollywood Hype Machine: There was hype about her for years before her breakout roles. There was even a small documentary about her produced while filming Eye of the Devil - anticipating big things for her. Sadly she died before she could live up to the heights expected of her, but she is still remembered years later.
- Leslie Nielsen Syndrome: She said she wanted to transition into comedies, citing Carole Lombard as her inspiration. She received praise for her comedic turn in The Wrecking Crew, and was planning to do more before her death.
- Military Brat: She was one in real life.
- Ms. Fanservice:
- Nice Girl: By all accounts, she was one in real life. Her friend Mia Farrow described Tate as "sweet and pure a human being as I have ever known".
- Prefers Going Barefoot: She really liked to go around barefoot: when she came to restaurants with "No shoes, no service" rule, she put rubber bands around her ankles to pretend that she was wearing sandals. This trait of hers made its way into Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, which isn't really surprising given that Quentin Tarantino made it.
- Production Posse: Martin Ransohof directed her in several films early in her career - giving her bit parts in The Beverly Hillbillies and Mister Ed. He was producer in The Americanization of Emily and The Sandpiper, which she had small parts in as well.
- Reality Subtext: Sharon said at the start of her career that she would retire from acting once she married. Jennifer from Valley of the Dolls does the same. Until she has to pay for her husband's stay in the sanitarium.
- Romance on the Set: With Roman Polanski on The Fearless Vampire Killers. He also had a role in the film as someone who becomes infatuated with her.
- Shameless Fanservice Girl: She had no problem appearing nude in films, and spoke out against the taboo of it."I have no qualms about it at all. I don't see any difference between being stark naked or fully dressed — if it's part of the job and it's done with meaning and intention. I honestly don't understand the big fuss made over nudity and sex in films. It's silly. On TV, the children can watch people murdering each other, which is a very unnatural thing, but they can't watch two people in the very natural process of making love. Now, really, that doesn't make any sense, does it?"
- So Beautiful, It's a Curse: Roman Polanski said after her death that people often went on about her beauty, and they rarely talked about her acting abilities.
- What Could Have Been:
- She screen tested for The Cincinnati Kid, and was rejected in favor of Tuesday Weld.
- She auditioned for Liesl in The Sound of Music but was passed over in favor of Charmian Carr.
- Roman Polanski was hoping she would play the eponymous Rosemary in Rosemary's Baby, but only if someone else suggested her. No one did, so Mia Farrow played it.
- Before she died, she had finished reading Tess of the D'Urbervilles and suggested making a film of it with Roman Polanski. It was eventually made as Tess, and was dedicated to her.