Thursday, April 15, 2010

Sharon Tate: Cinderella is a Colonel's Daughter and Another Part Sharon Would Have Been Good For...

I found this while going through some old Stars and Stripes Military Newspaper Archives:

The Stars and Stripes Sunday, January 1, 1967
Cinderella Is a Colonel's Daughter

By Harold Heffernan, NANA Staff Writer

Yes, Virginia, once there really was a Hollywood where magic happened almost every day.  That was when the movies were young and romantic and their wide-eyed audiences would buy glamourized waitresses for goddesses, and fumbling producers lately come from the garment trade found themselves endowed with princely wealth--and power--overnight.

Now the movies are as cannily industralized as General Motors, and audiences are wiser, and between them they seem to have lost the magic somewhere along the way.  Then comes a story that can almost make a fellow believe in Hollywood legend all over again. 

The story, for instance, of Sharon Tate, the "instant star."

Sharon doesn't look like any waitress, but exactly like a princess--golden-haired, slim, and lovely, with wide-apart, believing eyes and a voice that makes her sound like she came right out of the blue.  And, sure enough, she did!

Julie Newmar, co-starred with Tony Curtis and Claudia Cardinale in a movie called "Don't Make Waves," had suddenly bowed  out of the cast for the oddest reason.  She couldn't lift Tony Curtis. She'd been set to play "the Diana of Muscle Beach" in the story, but strained her back in a dance routine and withdrew.  So, Producer Martin Ransohoff, in charge of the Filmways-MGM movie, announced he was flying Sharon Tate from London to take Julie's place.

And who, everyone wanted to know, might Sharon Tate be?

"I'm a girl," said Sharon, "who met Richard Beymer in Italy, where my father was stationed.  He's an Army colonel.  Richard was making a film, and I was 18.  And he thought I could do something in pictures, so when we came back to America and settled in Los Angeles, he put me in touch with his agent.

"And I used to hitch-hike to the studios to try out for parts.  One day I went by milk wagon to audition for a bit in 'Petticoat Junction,' the TV show, and well, I got it.  But when they took me in to see Mr. Ransohoff, he said 'No.'  He said, 'I'm going to make this girl a star,' and put me under long-term contract.

"But for 30 months nobody outside of Filmways knew I existed.  I was told I was a secret.  I was being taught speaking, walking, dancing, fencing, calisthenics, and, of course, acting.  And sometimes Mr. Ransohoff would give me a TV bit, but always in a black wig and under another name.

"Finally, he said I was ready.  So I was shipped off to London to co-star with David Niven and Deborah Kerr in '13' ."

What about the co-star arrangement?  Here was a girl who'd never faced a movie camera before in her life, or even been billed on TV under her own name.  She went from complete obscurity to star status overnight.  And do you think she flopped?  Not at all.  Ransohoff liked her performance well enough to hand her the co-starring role in "The Vampire Killers," also made in London.
Then, with '13' and 'Vampire Killers' unreleased, and Sharon still totally unknown in the United States, our girl was brought home to replace Julie Newmar--and on a flying red carpet, with fanfare, a sure-enough Hollywood star the moment she touched ground.

"I'm a trick," Sharon laughed, explaining herself, "done with wigs, aliases, teachers, and, I guess, a lot of money."

Of course, she couldn't lift Curtis, either.  That made no difference in her charmed life.  The script somehow got rewritten so all she had to do was drag him up to the beach from the surf by the heels, and then the camera crew and the property department conspired to give her an unseen hand.

Magic and trickery, of course.  But the main thing is that once more in a subdued Hollywood, Cinderella rides again!

Here is another blogger who says Sharon would have been better for a part in 1966 film "The Oscar" in the Elke Sommer role.  She says:

Kay Berdahl could have been played by Sharon Tate. Kay needs to be beautiful yet vulnerable. Tate had that quality of being insecure and tender despite her gorgeous face and figure. Unfotunately, Kay was somewhat of a cold fish as played by Elke Sommer.

To see her other recasting pix for the film check here:

So possibly that would have been another interesting part for Sharon ...

1 comment:

  1. "Cinderella Is A Colonel's Daughter" is great. Thanks for sharing it with us all.