At Joshua Tree, probably via geminichilde on the tumblr.
Sharon Tate’s Actual Life Awareness Month is drawing to a close and I have so many beautiful pictures left still to share. I thought I’d use a few today to illustrate an aticle that sheds a lot of light on Sharon’s personality and some of her unique struggles with that unusual program for stardom we’ve touched on this month: how Sharon Tate continued to gratefully and sweetly obey her managers but unrelentingly champion her own intelligence despite being dominated by Marty Ransohoff and his “money men,” which is an admirable thing that many startlets of her day did not bother doing.
Like a lot of quiet, competent people-watchers, Ms. Tate followed the letter of instructions from “superiors” while retaining an independent spirit focused on the maintainenance of goals without compromising her sense of self. She did not want quite the type of spotlight for which they were grooming her, but she wasn’t going to turn down the chance to use their grooming to launch a career which followed more closely her own vision.
So here it is: More on Marty’s master plan and how Sharon integrated that with her own personal identity and gentle, inquisitive intellect. All quotes come from “Venus On A Treadmill,” by Johnny Columbus for Photo Screen, June 1968.
There was a top-level conference in [Marty Ransohoff's Filmways] office. Sharon Tate, the little girl from Dallas via Rome, was going into hiding. Sharon Tate, Movie Star, was going to be manufactured.
“They said they had a plan for me. They would train me and prepare me,” she remembers. “I was immediately put into training — like a racehorse.”
Three years went by. Sharon was completely under wraps. “I had a job to stay the way I was,” says Sharon. “They told me ‘Cream your face, Sharon. Put on more eyeliner, Sharon. Stick out your boobs, Sharon.’”
Sharon had many things in common with [her Valley of the Dolls character] Jennifer [North]. Both were acutely conscious of the value their bodies held in the flesh commerce of Hollywood; both were innocents; both were involved with European “art” filmmakers.
“I am like Jennifer,” says Sharon, “because she is relatively simple, a victim of circumstances beyond her control. But I have more confidence in myself…”
“I’m so afraid of hurting other people’s feelings I don’t speak out when I should. I get into big messes that way,” she once said.
Both Marilyn [Monroe] and Jennifer [North] were the “Beautiful Blondes” of their day. Both had astonishing figures. Both were treated very badly by those producers who exploited their sex appeal for the moviegoers. Both posed nude before they gained stardom. Both rejected their “dumb blonde” images to marry intellectuals.
“I will never be another Marilyn Monroe,” Sharon says now. “But I had to do what they wanted, at first.”
Valley of the Dolls still via lovely and officially sanctioned sharontate.info.
And they, meaning the money men, wanted her to be a well-trained sex symbol with a vacuum for a head. Sharon was tortured by their demeaning attitude towards her.
“They see me as a dolly in a bikini, jumping up and down on a trampoline,” she said of her producers. … “I love it on the beach — it gives me a kind of freedom. I don’t have to be a sex symbol or a movie star.”
“Beauty is only a look. It has nothing to do with what I’m like inside … I won’t play any more dumb blondes,” she insisted.
“Sometimes,” she says ruefully, “I think it would be better to be a sex symbol, because at least I would know where I was. But I’d lose my mind!”
Maybe that’s the happy medium. If Sharon can get off the Hollywood treadmill … if she can prove to others what she has proved to herself — that there is a head above her body — then she will have achieved true happiness and satisfaction — without escaping from her responsibilities.
Sharon puts it very beautifully: “I still have this teddy bear I’ve had since I was three … and all my old boxes — valentine boxes, cigar boxes, all kinds of boxes — I just won’t give them up. It’s like if I give them up, I’ve given in to being a movie star.”
Special thanks to the SensationalSharonTate blog for the full transcript of this interview.