Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Sharon Tate Article Nouvelle Starlet and Kerstien Matondang's Coppertone Ad

Here is another article from my collection that I hope you enjoy:

From: Films of the Golden Age, Fall 1997

Sharon Tate - Nouvelle Starlet

By Eve Golden

In the late 1960s, she was one of the most promising starlets in Hollywood.  Breathtakingly beautiful, hard-working and genuinely well liked, Sharon Tate had a future easily as bright as other newcomers like Raquel Welch, Faye Dunaway and Candice Bergen.  But a handful of lunatics changed all that, and Sharon became better known as one of the decade's most famous murder victims.  She only made nine films, but Sharon had been on her way to becoming one of the industry's brightest stars as the 1970s dawned.

She was born in Dallas, Texas, on January 24, 1943, the daughter of Major Paul Tate and his wife, Doris.  Already a beauty at six months, she won the Miss Tiny Tot contest.  Sharon and her two younger sisters had adventurous childhoods: their father, working with Army Intelligence, spent much of the 1950s moving his family from Dallas to Tacoma, Houston, El Paso and San Francisco.  In 1959, when Sharon was 16, they moved to Verona, Italy, where she attended high school and quickly became multi-lingual.
It was in Italy that she also began mulling over an acting career.  Richard Beymer was making a film near Sharon's school, and introduced the teenager to his agent.  Nothing came of this, but Beymer had put a flea in her ear.  She came back to the U. S. in 1963 and began seriously looking for work.  "I was shy and bashful when I reached Hollywood," she said in 1965.  "I only had enough money to get by and I hitch-hiked a ride on a truck to the office of an agent whose name I had."
An audition for the TV series 'Petticoat Junction' didn't pan out, but her test was seen by Martin Ransohoff of Filmways Productions.  Impressed, he put her under a seven-year contract and set out to "develop" her in the old-fashioned Hollywood manner.  Ransohoff sent Sharon to New York's Actor's Studio, and to classes in dancing, singing, body-building and modeling.  "I'm sure the three years I spent in training to be an actress will pay off," Sharon told The New York News in 1966.
By that time, she had also gotten her first few jobs.  She can be briefly glimpsed guesting on 'Mr. Ed' and as secretary Janet Trego, Mr. Drysdale's secretary, in a few episodes of 'The Beverly Hillbillies.'  She did commericials, including one for cigarettes which nearly did her in: "The commericial required many takes," Sharon recalled. "Just when they were ready fro the final one, I passed out from taking too many puffs on my first attempt at smoking."
Ransohoff helped get her small roles in 'Separate Beds' (1963), 'The Americanization of Emily' (1964), and 'The Sandpiper' (1965), to help her get accustomed to filming.  Her first major role was in the dreadful, pretentious British-made thriller from 1965, 'Eye of the Devil', also known as '13'.  The film starred David Niven and Deborah Kerr as a middle-aged couple living in a chateau.  Sharon was thrilled to be in such company, even in a less than sterling project.  She portrayed Odile, a spooky local girl who wanders about looking creepy and uttering ominous  lines.  No one got much of a chance to act in this film, and it made no real impact on the budding starlet's career.

Sharon Tate was an odd duck in the swinging Hollywood of the mid-1960s.  Strictly brought-up, she was sweet and innocent in a town that was neither.  One actor called her "one of the toughest lays in town.  Strictly a one-man woman."  She reportedly had an unhappy relationship with a French actor for two years, then was briefly engaged to her hairstylist, Jay Sebring. The two broke up, but remained friends.  Then, at a London party in 1966, she met Roman Polanski.
The 33-year-old director and actor was already famous for his dark films 'Knife in the Water' (1962), and 'Repulsion' (1965).  He also had quite a reputation: one ex-girlfriend described him as "the quintessential male chauvinist pig.  He treats women like objects, like toys, like his latest pet car.  It can be fun to share his limelight for a while, but ultimately it becomes boring."  Ransohoff loaned Sharon to Polanski for his horror comedy film 'The Fearless Vampire Killers (1967).  Sharon and Polanski became involved, despite their obvious cultural differences.  He himself later said, "It took the longest time for me to get her to go to bed with me.  She was not someone who went easily to bed with a man."  They moved in together in Belgravia, London, and Sharon learned to love London's Swinging '60s scene:  "There are so many talented young people with fantastic, original ideas here," she said in 1967.  "...The Mod Look, the long, straight hair for girls and long hair for boys, mini skirts...it all started here and eventually got to America.  Americans are too inhibited but they are slowly coming around to realizing what a swinging world we live in."  But the fast Polanski crowd was too swinging even for her.  According to Mia Farrow, Sharon experimented with pot and LSD, but never really got into drugs.
Sharon's only film with Polanski turned out to be something of a disappointment.  Visually, it was stunning, capturing a vision of 19th century Eastern Europe in the dead of winter.  But the performers were given little to do.  'Vampire Killers' veered between bad sitcom dialogue and gory thrills, and never seemed to quite settle on a style. Sharon, in a red wig, looked beautiful and somewhat detached.  The film did not do well in the U.S., and Polanski tried to help it along by shooting nudes of Sharon for the March 1967 issue of Playboy.  Aside from raising questions of taste, this did nothing.
Sharon's first real U. S. exposure came with MGM's big-budget beach comedy 'Don't Make Waves' (1967), starring Tony Curtis.  Sharon had a small but showy role as Malibu, a sky-diving beach bunny whom Curtis steals from her body-building boyfriend.  The film wasn't up to much, but critics noted Sharon's combination of beauty and deadpan humor.  She, however, did not share their enthusiasm.

"It's a terrible movie," she accuarately noted before it had even been released, then admitted that "sometimes I say things I shouldn't.  I guess I'm too outspoken."

To be continued tomorrow...

I don't think Sharon's films were that bad.  At least she showed potential especially in comedic roles.

Her venture into the 'Valley of the Dolls' and more will be discussed in the article tomorrow.

I noted Kerstien Matondang's great video site yesterday and today she told me she has added another.  This time it is with Sharon's voice and images doing a Coppertone ad for when she made 'Don't Make Waves.'  Please be sure to comment on it and tell Kerstien what you think?  Here is the link:


1 comment:

  1. Thank You for sharing these wonderful articles on Sharon Tate.

    I will definitely check out Kerstien's "Don't Make Waves" art video on YouTube.

    Take Care, Ross