Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Sharon Tate talks about it being creepy to live at Jean Harlow 's former home and how she got started

Here is another article I have had translated.  I am not sure what magazine it came from as I got it along with a group of clippings.  It looks to be from around 1965-66:

Two faces of this lady appear here, both the property of Sharon Tate.  Hollywood has bet $1 million on this face and is trying to make a star out of her.  On the right side photo she is pictured with her real hair, freshly washed and natural, the very important style that she is wearing is long like the new wave started by the top models of England.  (For instance, the leader, Jean Shrimpton).  On the left hand side photo she appears wearing a monocle wig made especially for her by Joshua--from Vidal Sassoon, the big London specialist of the geometric cut.  This style has also been copied by Brigitte Bardot, Catherine Denueve, and Jane Fonda.

There is something fascinating yet shameful that I must ask this pretty girl with two faces: Sharon Tate.  Remember that name, Sharon Tate because $1 million dollars are being invested on this 22 year old blond American born actress.  Born in Dallas (where the men are crazy and the women are gorgeous).  Who is this totally unknown lady?  Go to the Elstree Studios and go to the stage where they are filming "Eye of the Devil" and approach the reserved seats of the stars of the movie.  On the first one you'll read Kim Novak.  On the second one you will see David Niven and on the third one--written in the same big letters--it says: Miss Tate.  Sharon is the new star that Hollywood is trying to push.  That is why I have the right to ask this one question while I am driving in her very rich neighborhood of Belgravia to get to her home for the interview.  And that question is: What is left of the real Sharon Tate after her Hollywood transformation?  Read on.

In 1962, Colonel Tate from the US Army was based in Verona, Italy.  Tate is miraculously still alive.  He was in Pearl Harbor and was burned under the bombs of the Japanese.  "The surgeons saved my father's life by throwing just about anything on his skin," she says.  The only remaining sign of this: the black eyeglasses that the Colonel never removes from his face.  In Verona, that summer some people were making a movie.  Sharon was watching them and it wasn't long before they too, were watching her.  If destiny had it then Sharon would have gotten a small part in that movie.  But the movie was eventually released in 1963 and it was a flop.  Who would have noticed the young beginner anyway?

Her destiny improved.  When the young girl came back to California (where her father got transferred), she called a number she got from one of the actor's on the set of that movie in Verona.  She was hired immediately for a 15 second commercial ad.  She only needs to look pretty and to smile as she takes a puff from a Cool cigarette and then say in a soft voice, these are the best cigarettes in the world.  That was the first major step.  Nothing big but still a first step.

"I never had money at that time," explains Sharon.  "It was always my mother who had to buy my clothes."

When her big day came, Sharon smiled to the camera and lit a cigarette but didn't say a word.  The poor girl had never smoked a cigarette and was now coughing non-stop.  Ashamed, Sharon left the studio and went to the hallway crying.  At this point, she was frustrated and she hated herself, she hated the orange dress she was wearing, she hated television, Cool Cigarettes and even America--everything.  She was now only a sore throat and two wet eyes.  She was very upset and humiliated.  At that moment a man saw her, looked at her for a few moments and told his assistant: I want her.

That man was 33 year old Martin Ransohoff and, of course, he is a movie producer. 

Sharon still wearing her orange dress and wet eyes is now with Ransohoff.  He is a proud man and promises her glory, fame and fortune.  He says he is going to make a star of her.  She is shocked.

In her contract she must take some courses: diction, dramatic art, dance, singing, gymnastics, equitation, ect.  That's the price to pay to become a star.  She is not allowed to go out for the next 1000 days.  No galas and no parties with friends.  Nothing.  During her years as 19, 20 and 21 year old she is not to be seen.  Even if only one photo is shown in a newspaper of her during this time the contract will be canceled. Did Sharon accept these conditions?  Yes, she did.

"Actually," Sharon says, "I didn't have anymore liberty at home."

Sharon keeps her composure and patience in this inhuman and majestic mechanism that is suppose to make a star of her.  Is it patience or laziness?

"I was raised very Catholic and then I started doubting things like everybody does at some point.  I read some books on Hinduism.  I don't read them anymore but I have learned from them how to stay calm in front of whatever is thrown at you in life."

So I finally ask her the shameful question: if she realizes she is an object?  A very nice and expensive object that is manipulated very carefully but still an object.  "Yes, I know," she said. "Just a thing."  She says this without any sadness or bitterness.

What are your feelings for being reduced to an object only existing for others?

"I'm confident.  These people selected me.  If they invested so much on me it must be because I have a human quality that justifies their risk.  It's up to me to keep that quality."

Aren't you afraid to loose what you are by acting the way they want you to act?

"I have to admit that I lost my calm and got upset many times.  There were times I couldn't continue.  I ran to the phone a few times and called Marty.  I told him this was inhuman.  He answered that I was free to break the contract if I wanted but that it would be a big mistake."  She hung up and continued to resist. 

It was probably the old trick that consists of hiding the merchandise as long as you can.  When it's the right time, you show your merchandise to the whole world with a maximum of intensity and impact.

Sharon has a lot of self confidence.  If Ransohoff asks her to do something that she doesn't want to what would be her reaction?  Would she follow the instructions or throw the contract in the garbage? 

"None of the above," she answers.  "I would explain to him that I think it's a bad idea for me to do that and I would convince him."

And if Marty doesn't understand?

"I would explain it differently until he understands."

She definitely has some interior power. She uses it quietly but efficiently.  Maybe Ransohoff uses her but perhaps she is also using Ransohoff to get where she wants to be: At the top.

The scenarist Jerry Lee Thompson says that she is very talented.  A talent she developed at the Actor's Studio and in some Tv sitcoms where she appeared with brown wigs and eyeglasses in order to hide her beauty.

"I haven't really changed," she continues, "I have improved my makeup and I feel more comfortable with my body.  But I am still the same little Sharon who, at five years of age, jumped from a garage roof to land on my dog like it was a horse.  The problem was my dog left while I was still jumping in the air..."

After she finishes the movie, she is going back to Hollywood.  When I asked her if she has a nice villa with a pool she started laughing.  She then described the house she stays in that was formly owned by Jean Harlow and then husband, Paul Bern.

"At night in the area, people swear they see and hear Paul Bern's ghost."  He ended up committing suicide there.  "It's a house where you get scared."

In her very nice styled British apartment that the production is renting for her she goes to the kitchen and comes back with a bottle of bourgogne that she purchased in the afternoon.  She makes me a glass and gives it to me.  She continues in her soft voice:

"The Harlow house is lugubrious but the day I brought over my little sisters they had so much fun.  Life was back to normal," she laughs.

1 comment:

  1. Wow! This article is so good. After reading this I'm betting Marty Ransohoff, at the request of his producer Herb Browar, came to see Sharon while she was filming her cigarette commercial. I know Sharon did a Sante Fe cigarette commercial, but I guess she must have also done a Cool brand cigarette commercial, too. This article states Sharon was wearing an orange dress just as did the article,"She Gets Break in Remake: Same Role Twice for Sharon Tate".
    Thanks, Mike!