Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Charles Manson and the Manson Family

The Slaughtered - Sharon Tate

Eventually, all of the victims of the massacre at Sharon Tate's home were identified. The young man in the car was a teenager named Steve Parent who had come to visit Garretson, the caretaker. The two victims found outside the house were Abigail Folger and her lover, Voytek Frykowski. In the living room joined by rope were Sharon Tate and Jay Sebring.

A .22 caliber gun had shot Steve Parent, Jay Sebring and Voytek Frykowski. Of the five victims, all but Steve Parent had been stabbed repeatedly. Sebring had been hit in the face and Frykowski had been repeatedly hit on the head with a blunt object.

The stab wounds suggested that only one knife had been used for the wounds. The nature of the wounds indicated that something like a bayonet was the weapon. A strange knife, a Buck brand clasp-type pocketknife that the housekeeper could not identify was found very close to Sharon Tate's body.

Sharon Tate
Sharon Tate

Sharon Tate had been a beauty all of her life. Even as a child she had won beauty contests. But her ambition was not to be a model but a movie actress. Finally in 1963 at the age of 22 she found a sponsor in Producer Martin Ransohoff. With Ransohoff's help, she landed parts in the series Beverly Hillbillies and Petticoat Junction, and the movies The Americanization of Emily and The Sandpiper.

In 1965, she got her chance at her first feature role in the Eye of the Devil with David Niven and Deborah Kerr. In this movie she played the part of a country girl with special magical powers. While in London in the summer of 1966 for the filming of the movie, she met Roman Polanski, who had just made his mark as a director of the movie Repulsion with Catherine Deneuve and Cul de Sac, which had won many European film awards.

Polanski put Sharon as the lead in his campy film The Fearless Vampire Killers. During this period she became Polanski's lover.  This relationship lasted quite a long time and shortly after the filming of Rosemary's Baby, he and Sharon married. In 1969, they rented the house on Cielo Drive from Terry Melcher, Doris Day's son and moved in mid-February.

Sharon's career never skyrocketed the way Polanski's did even with her role as Jennifer in Valley of the Dolls. A good part of the reason her career was going nowhere is that she never had an opportunity to show off whatever acting skills she had. All the roles she had were ones in which all she had to do was look pretty. Her career took a backseat when she became pregnant. The baby and her husband became the center of her life.

She was a unique lady according to most everyone who knew her. In spite of her beauty and remarkable figure, she was a very down-to-earth woman with none of the phoniness normally associated with starlets. She was very sweet and a bit on the naïve side. Everyone seemed to like Sharon even in a jealous, bitchy town like Hollywood.

Sharon's life was ended by five stab wounds in her chest and back, which penetrated her heart, lungs and liver and caused massive internal hemorrhaging. The remaining eleven wounds simply added insult to her savaged body.

Her little boy, Paul Richard Polanski, died with her.

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