Saturday, September 26, 2009
News and a New Sharon Tate Article
You have probably already seen this on the news but, Susan Atkins has passed away at 61. Most of the news stories have talked only about Susan and her involvement with the murders. However, there was a new article on Sharon. For the most part, it is a good article. At least it gives more people an idea of who Sharon was instead of just listing her as a murder victim. Although the headline is sensationalistic journalism.
From Examiner.com :
(be sure to click on the link above for some great photos and You Tube Uploaded specials).
Film actress Sharon Tate, a rising star, shot down by her 1969 murder
September 25, Examiner by Deborah Smith Ford
Sharon Marie Tate was a film actress. She enjoyed a brief, yet successful career in the 1960s. Initially during that time she had small television roles before appearing in several films. After receiving positive reviews for her comedic performances, she was hailed as one of Hollywood's promising newcomers and was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for her performance in Valley of the Dolls (1967). She also appeared regularly in fashion magazines as a model and cover girl.
Tate's "career" began at the age of six months when she won the "Miss Tiny Tot of Dallas Pageant", but the Tates held no show business ambitions for their daughter.
Sharon Tate's military dad was promoted and transferred several times, so by the age of 16 Tate had lived in six different American cities, and she found it difficult to maintain friendships.
Tate and her friends, while in Italy, became interested in the filming of Adventures of a Young Man, which was being made nearby with Paul Newman, Susan Strasberg and Richard Beymer, and obtained parts as film extras. Beymer noticed Tate in the crowd and introduced himself, and the two dated during the production of the film, with Beymer encouraging Tate to pursue a film career. In 1961, Tate was employed by singer Pat Boone, and appeared with him in a television special he made in Venice.
Later that year, when Barabbas was being filmed near Verona, Tate was once again hired as an extra. Actor Jack Palance was impressed by her appearance and her attitude, although her role was too small to judge her talent. He arranged a screen test for her in Rome, but this did not lead to further work. Tate returned to the United States alone, saying she wanted to further her studies, but tried to find film work. After a few months, Doris Tate, who feared for her daughter's safety, suffered a nervous breakdown, and Sharon Tate returned to Italy.
Tate was considered for a lead role on Petticoat Junction, but Ransohoff realized that she was too inexperienced to handle such a role, so he gave her small parts in Mr. Ed and The Beverly Hillbillies (during the days of such sitcoms, also like The Andy Griffith Show) to help her gain experience.
In 1964, she almost married Jay Sebring (another of the five murdered) but didn't, saying that if she did she would retire from acting as soon as she married, and at that time she intended to focus on her career. That same year Tate made a screen test for Sam Peckinpah opposite Steve McQueen for the film The Cincinnati Kid. Ransohoff and Peckinpah agreed that Tate's timidity and lack of experience would cause her to flounder in such a large part, and she was rejected in favor of Tuesday Weld.
Tate continued to gain experience with minor television appearances, and after she auditioned unsuccessfully for the role of Liesl in the film version of The Sound of Music, Ransohoff allowed her to appear in the film Eye of the Devil co-starring David Niven, Deborah Kerr, Donald Pleasence, and David Hemmings.
Tate and Sebring traveled to London to prepare for filming. As part of Ransohoff's promotion of Tate, he arranged the production of a short documentary called All Eyes on Sharon Tate, to be released at the same time as Eye of the Devil. It included an interview with Eye of the Devil director J. Lee Thompson, who expressed his initial doubts about Tate's potential with the comment,
We even agreed that if after the first two weeks Sharon was not quite making it, that we would put her back in cold storage", but added that he soon realized Tate was "tremendously exciting".
Tate played Odile, a witch who exerts a mysterious power over a landowner, played by Niven, and his wife, played by Kerr. Although she did not have as many lines as the other actors, Tate's performance was considered crucial to the film, and she was required, more than the other cast members, to set an ethereal tone. Her next to her last film was with Dean Martin, The Wrecking Crew (1968), and The Thirteen Chairs (1969) was released after her death.
Niven described her as a "great discovery", and Kerr said that with "a reasonable amount of luck", Tate would be a great success. In interviews, Tate commented on her good fortune in working with such professionals in her first film, and said that she had learned a lot about acting simply by watching Kerr at work. Much of the filming took place in France, and Sebring returned to Los Angeles to fulfill his business obligations. After filming Tate remained in London where she immersed herself in the fashion world and nightclubs. Around this time she met Roman Polanski.
Tate returned to the United States to film Don't Make Waves with Tony Curtis, leaving Polanski in London. Tate played the part of Malibu, and was the inspiration for the popular "Malibu Barbie" doll.
Polanski returned to the United States, and was contracted to direct the film version of Ira Levin's novel, Rosemary's Baby. Polanski later admitted that he had wanted Tate to star in the film and had hoped that someone would suggest her, as he felt it inappropriate to make the suggestion himself. The producers did not suggest Tate, and Mia Farrow was cast.
For the same reason, inexperience, Tate ended up only appearing, uncredited, as a guest in Rosemary's Baby, in a party scene. A frequent visitor to the set, she was photographed there by Esquire magazine and the resulting photographs generated considerable publicity for both Tate and the film.
A March 1967 article about Tate in Playboy magazine began,
"This is the year that Sharon Tate happens..."
Tate was optimistic, as Eye of the Devil and The Fearless Vampire Killers were each due for release, and she had been signed to play a major role in the film version of Valley of the Dolls. One of the all-time literary bestsellers, the film version was highly publicized and anticipated, and while Tate acknowledged that such a prominent role should further her career, she confided to Polanski that she did not like either the book or the script.
Patty Duke, Barbara Parkins and Judy Garland were cast as the other leads. Susan Hayward replaced Garland a few weeks later when Garland was dismissed.
In interviews during production, Tate expressed an affinity for her character, Jennifer North, an aspiring actress admired only for her body. Tate, Duke and Parkins developed a close friendship which continued after the completion of the film. Tate promoted the film enthusiastically. She frequently commented on her admiration for Lee Grant, with whom she had played several dramatic scenes.
The All Eyes on Sharon Tate documentary was used to publicize the film. Its fourteen minutes consisted of a number of scenes depicting Tate filming Eye of the Devil, dancing in nightclubs and sightseeing around London, and also contained a brief interview with her. Asked about her acting ambitions she replied,
"I don't fool myself. I can't see myself doing Shakespeare."
Tate spoke of her own hopes, of finding a niche in comedy. She also expressed her desire to become "a light comedienne in the Carole Lombard style". She discussed the type of contemporary actress she wanted to emulate and explained that there were two in particular that she was influenced by, Faye Dunaway and Catherine Deneuve. Of the latter, she said,
"I'd like to be an American Catherine Deneuve. She plays beautiful, sensitive, deep parts with a little bit of intelligence behind them."
Later in the year, Valley of the Dolls opened to mixed reviews. These reviews would be Tate's last.
Married to the film director Roman Polanski, in 1968, Tate was eight and a half months pregnant when she and her unborn baby were murdered (stabbed to death) in her home, along with four others, by followers of Charles Manson on August 9, 1969.
On September 2, 2009 convicted murderer and former Charles Manson family member, Susan Atkins was photographed in a bed during her parole hearing. She was at the Central California Women's Facility in Chowchilla, California.
Atkins, who admitted killing actress Sharon Tate 40 years ago, died in a prison hospital Thursday night, September 24, 2009. She was 61. Atkins was again denied parole, just before her death, remaining the longest-incarcerated female inmate in the California penal system.
Year Film Role Notes--
1961 Barabbas Patrician in Arena uncredited
1962 Hemingway's Adventures of a Young Man undetermined role uncredited
1963-1965 The Beverly Hillbillies Janet Trego 15 episodes
1963 Mister Ed Telephone Operator
Sailor's Girl Episode "Love Thy New Neighbor"
Episode "Ed Discovers America"
1964 The Americanization of Emily Beautiful Girl uncredited
1965 The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Therapist Episode "The Girls of Nazarone Affair"
1966 Eye of the Devil Odile de Caray
1967 The Fearless Vampire Killers Sarah Shagal
Don't Make Waves Malibu
Valley of the Dolls Jennifer North
1968 Rosemary's Baby Girl at Party uncredited
The Wrecking Crew Freya Carlson
1969 The Thirteen Chairs
(also known as 12+1) ~ released posthumously