Archive for the ‘Sharon Tate’s Actual Life Awareness Month’ Category

Winter of my discontent: Sharon Tate and embracing the cold

January 13, 2011

Sharon Tate on set for Fearless Vampire Killers (Her husband, 1967. His is also the photo credit).

Nature has no mercy at all. Nature says, “I’m going to snow. If you have on a bikini and no snowshoes, that’s tough. I am going to snow anyway.”

(Maya Angelou.)

A harsh, deep, and well-put truth.

Maybe what I’m not so good at is quelling my instinct to hibernate: I need to face problems and conflict instead of waiting for them to melt away. Embrace the cold with the warm. I am more the type to sit in the lodge drinking cocoa and waiting for the storm to pass than to go flying down the mountain in to the drifts. I’ve always thought of that as the rational course, but maybe I am cheating myself out of testing my endurance.

Man. If someone has to make me feel like a physical and metaphysical wimp who can’t handle literal cold any better than frosty times served up to me in life, I suppose I prefer it be Maya Angelou.

Sharon Tate’s Actual Life Awareness Month: Day 30

August 30, 2010


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.


via welcometothepast.
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.


via weheartit.

“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.

Sharon Tate’s Actual Life Awareness Month: Movie Moment, Don’t Make Waves

August 29, 2010

Turn on! Stay loose! Make out!

Don’t Make Waves (Alexander Mackendrick, 1967) was a Tony Curtis comedic vehicle in which Sharon Tate debuted in the part of Malibu, a beautiful blonde bunny who rescues a New York tourist from drowning and sucks him into the swingin’, farcical Southern California beach scene, complete with over-inflated egos, nouveau riche developers, mudslides, meditation, and Muscle Beach.


via Mr. Peel’s Sardine Liqueur on the blogger.

The Ransohoff-produced-MGM film also stars Claudia Cardinale (Once Upon A Time In the West) as Laura Califatti, a hot-tempered and spontaneous Italian woman who is an even worse driver than this hot-tempered and spontaneous Italian woman used to be, and features genius comedian Mort Sahl (more on Mr. Sahl can be found in the recent Girls of Summer entry on his long-time wife China Lee, who also pops up in Don’t Make Waves). Also in a cameo is model-actress Joanna Barnes — she was Vicki Robinson, the gold-digging bad fiancee in the original Hayley Mills version of The Parent Trap, a role she lampooned/reprised in the Lindsay Lohan-starring 1998 remake as Vicki Robinson Blake, the gold-digging bad fiancee’s encouragingly avaricious mother; the idea being that a leopard never changes its spots, yes?


Ibid.

The cast of Don’t Make Waves was rounded out by a number of popular bodybuilders of the Venice Beach area and era, including David “The Blond Bomber” Draper, Mr. America 1965 and Mr. Universe 1966, who portrayed Ms. Tate’s character Malibu’s boyfriend, Harry Hollard.

The $4,000,000 film is based on Ira Wallach’s novel Muscle Beach. The movie can be described as a “sex and flex” gala spectacular featuring blondes, bikinis and bulging biceps. …

(Mozee, Gene. “Don’t Make Waves: Hollywood’s Greatest Muscle Movie.” Muscular Development, December 1967.)


As is Hollywood’s custom, the film pokes a little fun at the muscle world, but on the whole, the movie is quite entertaining and I am sure bodybuilders throughout the world will enjoy seeing it.

Co-starring as [Dave] Draper’s girlfriend is the very lovely Sharon Tate, one of the most beautiful girls these eyes have ever seen!

(Ibid.)

A legend in bodybuilding, Mr. Draper had a long career as a competitive weightlifter, actor, and author, and he runs a voluminous official website devoted to health, nutrition, and weightlifting.


I think of Sharon often as pictures of her during our filming of “Don’t Make Waves” adorn the walls of my gym in Santa Cruz, California. The members are mesmerized. … We first met on location in Malibu when we were advised to practice a trampoline dismount for the next film sequence, to begin promptly.

“Sharon, this is Dave. Dave, this is Sharon. Sharon, I want you to bounce on the tramp as high as you can and jump into the arms of Dave, standing right here. He’s a sturdy fellow. Good.” — The instructions of Sandy McKendrick [sic], cogent director assuming magic. We smiled, nodded, shook hands and she mounted the trampoline for the first time in her life …


Sharon and Dave filming, via sharontate.info.

… Any fear or doubts the sweet girl had turned into resolve. Sharon bounced with all her might and within five minutes was leaping through the air like a gazelle. I didn’t dare miss her. We were smiles and laughter.

First take, “Cut. That’s a wrap.” I miss her now. A star on Hollywood Boulevard bearing Sharon’s name would warm my heart. She has a special place there, indeed.

(David Draper, memorial statement on Ms. Tate’s official website supporting Sharon’s receipt of a posthumous star on the Walk of Fame.

I can’t believe it is even an issue that needs lobbied. Why would Sharon Tate not get a star? Her career may have been cut short by something that we must reasonably not want to accidentally celebrate, but look at that career — even her presence in the cult classic Valley of the Dolls, which has likely never stopped playing at least somewhere in the campy-theater-viewing world, alone should position her for a star on the Walk of Fame. Come on. They gave ones to Pat Sajak and to Rin Tin Tin. Okay? Let’s get real. It’s bizarre to me that there is even debate.


Official soundtrack — the Byrds’ sang the theme song. Ransohoff spared no expense. (Get it.)

I do hate to throw in detracting non-Sharon Tate stuff on the “Sharon’s actual life” posts because, like I said from the beginning, it pisses me off that her unique character and burgeoning career is always getting overshadowed by the doings of all the others in her life story, but I must add that two reknowned Academy-Award winning actor-director-producers, Robert Redford and Clint Eastwood, do not have stars yet either. Lassie and Tony Danza, yes. Dirty Harry and the Sundance Kid, no. Um, what? The process of selection and awarding now officially baffles me. A more complete list of strangely overlooked performers, or those who have declined or been disqualified, is here.

Back to Don’t Make Waves.

A great deal of money was spent on an all-out publicity blitz for this movie (no doubt with the urging of Ransohoff, the head of Filmways and Sharon’s personal career guru, who’d been waiting for his chance to spring her on the public), with everything from cards with stills to giant cardboard cutouts of Sharon Tate as Malibu in theaters to promote the film. There was even a tie-in with a Coppertone ad, shown above.

The amount of attention that was suddenly on Sharon and her body was not terribly to her liking. Though her later roles in Valley of the Dolls and The Wrecking Crew, as we’ve discussed this month, gave her the opportunity to show off her more robust dramatic and comedic talents, she was at this time pretty nonplussed by her box office debut as Malibu.

Among her friends, [Sharon] began to refer to herself as “sexy little me.”

(Bowers, John. “Sexy Little MeThe Saturday Evening Post, May 6, 1967.*)


Despite the lauded publicity campaign, Don’t Make Waves did not do as well in theaters at its release as its backers hoped, but it has gained in popularity with critics as time has passed.

The film has [recently] received more positive comments from reviewers, such as Leonard Maltin who describes it as “a gem”, and makes note of the “fine direction and funny performance by Sharon Tate”.

(the wiki.)


As a final note, the character of Malibu is often cited as the inspiration for the Mattel line of Malibu Barbie dolls. The doll was introduced in 1971 and I’ve so far read nothing that confirms Ms. Tate in Don’t Make Waves being Malibu Barbie’s rock-solid model as fact — but it is certainly a thing that could be true.




*Besides interviewing Ms. Tate about her upcoming film releases, the article sheds light on the early stages of her relationship with her eventual husband and portrays his interaction with her in a none-too-flattering light from the get-go: I found it insightful but very depressing and disheartening. So if you are a person who does not like to read things like that about him, don’t follow the link, or at least don’t tell me about it if you have followed it and are unhappy with what you’ve read. I did not write it. I just quoted from it.

Sharon Tate’s Actual Life Awareness Month: Day 26 — Eye of the Devil

August 26, 2010


Cropped shot of Ms. Tate from the trailer for Eye of the Devil.

In 1966, Sharon was cast and began working on the picture Eye of the Devil. She worked with Deborah Kerr (who filled in for Kim Novak after Ms. Novak dropped out of the project), David Niven, Donald Pleasence, and David Hemmings. The picture was her first featured film performance. Though Sharon had only a few lines, her part as Odile de Caray, a mysterious witch with a vulnerable and sexual vibe, landed her in the hot-seat for stills and posters. She was already catching eyes.


Publicity still for Eye of the Devil.

Sharon is a great discovery. First of all, she’s a fabulously good-looking bird; and she’s got all the fun and spark and “go.” She’s a marvelous girl. She’s up on cloud nine, Sharon is. And I think she’s a very, very good actress. She’s obviously going to make a big hit in this picture.

(David Niven, co-star in Eye of the Devil (J. Lee Thompson, 1966).)

Sharon Tate’s Actual Life Awareness Month: Day 24, Teevee Time — Sharon’s “The Beverly Hillbillies” gigs and more

August 24, 2010

Sharon Tate’s agent, Marty Ransohoff, had a very specific plan for Sharon’s path to stardom. He wanted her to have acting lessons and cut her teeth in small parts on television, growing accustomed to being before the cameras. Mr. Ransohoff chose for Sharon to appear in series in which he himself was involved in one way or another so that he could continue his supervision of her career.

Ransohoff insisted that Ms. Tate go uncredited in these roles — that way, when she was ready for the big time, he could spring her on Hollywood as a breakout smash. Because of this long-term plan and careful keeping of her under wraps, Sharon could pop up repeatedly on the same show, slowly gaining experience and getting more lines, and the audiences would be none the wiser.

Wearing a black bobbed wig, Sharon anonymously portrayed Janet Trego in about fifteen episodes of “The Beverly Hillbillies,” and appeared in another, wigless, as “young girl” at a garden party. (She showed up first as “Sharon,” in a different hairpiece.)

Star Trek: TOS actress and small-screen beauty Grace Lee Whitney — you know I will always find a sci-fi connection — recalls hanging out with Sharon as aspiring actresses in L.A. in her autobiography:

I was in make up with Sharon Tate a number of times, and I remember her as a very friendly, sweet girl in her early twenties. We used to gossip like schoolgirls about how cute Troy [Donahue] and Chad [Everett] were.


Like me, she was doing a lot of episodic television–shows like The Beverly Hillbillies and The Man from U.N.C.L.E. I vividly recall how shocked and horrified I was a few years later when I heard that she [died].

(Whitney, Grace Lee. The Longest Trek: My Tour of the Galaxy Clovis, CA: Quill Driver Books, 1998.)

Besides a guest spot on The Man From U.N.C.L.E and her more regularly featured role of Janet Trego on The Beverly Hillbillies, Sharon also appeared in a 1963 episode of Mr. Ed as “Telephone Operator.”

Photos via PolarBlairsDen and tesla on liketelevision.com.

Sharon Tate’s Actual Life Awareness Month: Day 21 — Working hard for The Wrecking Crew

August 21, 2010


via beetlebum on the fotolog.

In 1968, Sharon was cast in The Wrecking Crew (Phil Karlson, 1969), the latest entry in a series of “Matt Helm,” spy-spoof films, based on the 1960 Donald Hamilton novel of the same name. There had been three previous Matt Helm movies, all starring singer and comedian Dean Martin. Sharon had the pressure of being a featured new player in an established franchise, and critics then were like critics now: they love to bash comedies. So it was a big deal.


via coolnessistimeless on the blogger.

Starring opposite Dean Martin, Elke Sommer, and Tina Louise, Ms. Tate got to make friends with some big names and show audiences her playful, comedically well-timed, blithe side. Though she had played a pivotal role as Malibu in the comedy Don’t Make Waves, the emphasis in that part had still been mainly on her beauty.


via the touching and well-curated SensationalSharonTate blog.

“My dear. You must be very dedicated to your work, to wear such an atrocious wig as that.”

“How very common of you to mention it.”

Wearing glasses and a series of wigs, Sharon got to have fun and be silly on the set of The Wrecking Crew, which must have been an especially welcome respite after the tough work she did for Valley of the Dolls (and the kind of trial-by-fire nightmare that set experience was.) With The Wrecking Crew, Sharon finally got the chance to delve in to the type of light comedy for which she hoped to become known in the industry.


via geminichilde on the tumblr.

The role also required some action and stunt work, another familiar feature to Sharon after working with former Mr. Universe Dave Draper in Don’t Make Waves (trampoline scene coming soon). In The Wrecking Crew, she was called to do fight scenes. None other than superfly jam-master BAMF to beat all BAMFs, a one Mister Bruce Lee trained Sharon for her part as Freya Carlson, Mr. Helm’s comically nearsighted and klutzy assistant. Joe Lewis was also a consultant on set and Chuck Norris had a cameo in the picture.


via geminichilde on the tumblr.

Playing Freya Carlson really was a departure for Ms. Tate, and one she was proud of. Tina Louise (Gilligan’s Island) and Elke Sommer (A Shot in the Dark) nailed down the voluptuous vixens — though they, too, gave great comedic lines — and Sharon got to shine in a chiefly buttoned-up, jokey ingenue role.

“Sharon Tate reveals a pleasant affinity to scatterbrain comedy and comes as close to walking away with this picture as she did in a radically different role in Valley of the Dolls.”

(The Hollywood Reporter, review of The Wrecking Crew, 1969.)


Judo … chop! Nancy Kwan as Yu-Rang takes an elbow to the head.

“It just so happens that I know where Yu-Rang hangs her kimono!”

” … I bet you do.”

Dean Martin raved about Sharon’s performance in all the on-set promo interviews, making it clear to one and all that he considered her not only a close friend but a major upcoming talent.


also via coolnessistimeless; more candids of Sharon and Dean there with lovely commentary.

Mr. Martin had played Matt Helm in a total of four movies to rocky critical acclaim but decent audience numbers (typical comedy reception), but, after Sharon’s death, he emphatically dropped out of The Ravagers, a planned fifth installment in the series whose title even appeared in the end credits for The Wrecking Crew. The film was shopped around but eventually abandoned and never made. The Wrecking Crew is the last in that series.

Sharon Tate Month, Day 13: A painfully shy girl with pigtails

August 13, 2010


via geminichilde on the tumblr.

Just three years ago, Sharon was a “painfully shy girl of 20 with blonde pigtails,” according to her own recollection. The Dallas-born youngster had never acted or had a smidgen of dramatic training.

Now that Sharon is an actress in the technical sense of the word, anyhow, she has set her goal on becoming “a light comedienne in the Carol Lombard style.”


“I’ll give up acting the second I’m married,” says Sharon, which leads many observers to believe it won’t happen for some time.

Most actresses would rather shed a husband than a career, but Sharon is an unusual girl. What actress, for example, would go out her way to point up the scars on her face? Sharon has a noticeable diagonal scar under her left eye. She also has a small one to the side of the left eye, and another one–“caused by chicken pox”–on her forehead.


“I suffered the big scar,” says Sharon, “when I fell on a piece of corrugated tin when I was five. I wouldn’t dream of having the scar removed. I am very proud of it. It’s me.”

(“Sharon Tate is on a crash program to get to the top.” New York Sunday News. December 18, 1966.)

So many thanks again to TheSensationalSharonTate blog for the transcript of the full and charming interview.

Sharon Tate’s Actual Life Awareness Month: Day 12

August 12, 2010


Mia Farrow, Roman, and Sharon at a Rosemary’s Baby premiere. After Frank Sinatra served Mia on set with divorce papers, Sharon took Mia in to their circle of her friends and made sure to squire her around to promotional events and include her in parties. Ms. Farrow says of Sharon, “She was like a princess in a fairy tale. As kind as she was beautiful.”

On one weekend while visiting [her husband on the set of Rosemary’s Baby], Sharon posed for photographs to appear in the December, 1967 issue of Esquire. Sharon and Esquire had a long running relationship and she had appeared in the magazine several times. The producers of Valley of the Dolls felt that this layout would be important for promoting the film. Sharon posed in a black miniskirt with a rifle on the first page of the layout. It was a very provocative and cutting edge session and generated a great deal of publicity.

(Official site of Sharon Tate, run by her family.)


The little red book which contains hightlights from The thought of Mao Tse-tung is the most influential volume in the world today. It is also extremely dull and entirely unmemorable. To resolve this paradox, we, a handful of editors in authority who follow the capitalist road, thought useful to illustrate certain key passages in such a way that they are more likely to stick in the mind. The visual aid is Sharon Tate and, to give credit where credit, God knows, is due, she will soon be seen in the Twentieth Century-Fox motion picture, Valley of the Dolls.

1. Every communist must grasp the truth, “Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.”

“Problems of War and Strategy” (November 6, 1938)


2. Our fundamental task is to adjust the use of labor power in an organized way and to encourage women to do farm work.

“Our Economic Policy” (January 23, 1934)



3. How is Marxist-Leninist theory to be linked with the practice of the Chinese revolution? To use a common expression, it is by “shooting the arrow at the target.” As the arrow is to the target, so is Marxism-Leninism to the Chinese revolution. Some comrades, however, are “shooting without a target,” shooting at random, and such people are liable to harm the revolution.

“Rectify the Party’s Style of Work” (February 1, 1942)



4.The world is yours, as well as ours, but in the last analysis, it is yours. You young people, full of vigor and vitality, are in the bloom of life, like the sun at eight or nine in the morning. Our hope is placed on you. The world belongs to you. China’s future belongs to you.

Talk at a meeting with Chinese students and trainees in Moscow (November 17, 1957)



5. …the flattery of the bourgeoisie may conquer the weak-willed in our ranks. There may be some Communists, who were not conquered by enemies with guns and were worthy of the name of heroes for standing up to these enemies, but who cannot withstand sugar-coated bullets. We must guard against such a situation.

“Report to the Second Plenary Session of the Seventh Central Committee of the Communist Party Of China.” (March 5, 1949)



6. Whoever wants to know a thing has no way of doing so except by coming into contact with it, that is, by living (practicing) in its environment. …If you want knowledge, you must take part in the practice of changing reality. If you want to know the taste of a pear, you must change the pear by eating it yourself.

“On Practice” (July, 1937)

“You say you want a revoluuuutiooon, well, you know ….” An interesting tongue-in-cheek piece from the gents at Esquire. All quotes come from “A Beginner’s Guide to Mao Tse-tung.” Esquire, December 1967. Well, all save for that last one I just threw in. That’s the Beatles. But you knew that. (“I think everyone is born knowing all of the Beatles’ lyrics instinctively. In fact, I think they should be called the Featles.” — Sliding Doors, 1998.)

The pear picture has always been one of my favorites. Here is a cropped version absent of the Esquire text.

Sharon Tate’s Actual Life Awareness Month: Day 11

August 11, 2010

Valley of the Dolls (Mark Robson, 1963). Jennifer North (Sharon Tate) appears in a French art house film to get enough money to get her clingy, vampiric mother off her back and hopefully resolve other financial entanglements in her life. She becames a moderate success and something of a sex symbol in Europe, but continues to grapple with success in America. All the while, what the Jennifer North character wants more than anything is to have a child to whom she can show the affection and provide the loving stability she, herself, never received.


Travilla, Costume Designer: Sharon Tate is divine, a real find. Just wait and see what happens when the critics and public see her in Valley of the Dolls. Sharon has everything Marilyn Monroe had and more. She has the fascinating, yet wholly feminine strength of a Dietrich or a Garbo….a classically beautiful face, an exciting figure, the kind of sex appeal and personality appeal to become as glittering a star as Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, Rita Hayworth, Lana Turner, Elizabeth Taylor.

(“Valley of the Dolls.” Screen Stories. December 1967.)


Mark Robson: She’s not a sexpot. She’s a very vulnerable girl. The biggest surprise in the film is Sharon.

(Ibid.)


Robert Viharo: Everybody [on set] was competitive with everybody. The only one that I felt was above it, was Sharon Tate. The sweetest, purest, most open spirit.

(Viharo, Robert. AMC’s “Backstory: Valley of the Dolls.” Original airdate: April 23, 2001.)

Jennifer North’s dislike of her career being centered around her body and her desire for a husband and children mirrors Sharon Tate’s own ambitions in life, and discomfort with being viewed only as a sex symbol and not recognized for her free spirit and comedic timing. (Of course, a major difference is Sharon had a very close relationship with her family and a positive upbringing.) Ms. Tate threw herself in to this part and received very good reviews, best of the cast and much better than her far more famous co-star Patty Duke. However, given her unique style and love for others, she would probably dislike that I wrote that comparison out. So I’m sorry, Ms. Tate — I merely wanted to point out that Travilla’s prediction came true!

Sharon Tate’s Actual Life Awareness Month: Day 10

August 10, 2010


via

As an Army “brat” (her father is Maj. Paul James Tate), she spent a great deal of her childhood packing and moving from one military base to another.

Before Sharon was 15, she had lived in Tacoma, Houston, El Paso and San Francisco — just to name a few cities. When Maj. Tate was shipped overseas in 1959, he took his wife and Sharon with him. As a result, Sharon boasts a fluency in Italian and a diploma from a Vicenza, Italy, high school.

(“Sharon Tate is on a crash program to get to the top.” New York Daily News, December 18, 1966.)

I believe that childhood upheaval, while it does give you an interesting background, is part of why she reports having been so painfully shy. I moved around a lot as a kid and felt the same. In interviews, though, she cites her background as having made her a “people watcher,” and a person who is open to new experiences and travel. I appreciate that, true to form, she gleaned the positive from what could have been a negative experience, and I think the above picture beautifully exemplifies that attitude of attenuation to detail and desire to marvel at the world around you.

Sharon Tate Month, Day 7: Smoke follows beauty

August 7, 2010


“You must remember I was shy and bashful when I reached Hollywood. My parents were very strict with me. I didn’t smoke or anything. I only had just enough money to get by and I hitchhiked a ride on a truck to the office of an agent whose name I had.”


“That very first day he sent me to the cigarette comercial job. A girl showed me how it should be done, you know taking a deep, deep breath and look ecstatic.”



“I tried to do as she said,” Miss Tate explained, “but the first breath filled my lungs with smoke and I landed on the floor. That ended my career in cigarette commercials.”

(“Sharon Tate Leaves You Breathless.” Robert Musel. Stars and Stripes Magazine. January 1, 1967.)

Special thanks to the SensationalSharonTate blog, you can read the full article here. I love how matter-of-factly self-effacing Sharon Tate comes off in interviews — a sense of humor about oneself is such a good quality.

Sharon Tate’s Actual Life Awareness Month, Day 2

August 2, 2010


Photographed by Walter Chappell at Big Sur, California. 1964.

This is my life: Only this moment counts, only this day. I have never worried about my future.

(Sharon Tate, “Mein Glück, Mein Angst, Mein Hoffnung / My fortune, my fear, my hope.” Jazmin, August 1969.)


Ibid.

This is also the hope I have for my own life: just carry on living like I do now — perfectly happy … or is this maybe asking a bit too much?

(Ibid.)

Sharon and Walter Chappell, the man who took these photos at Big Sur in 1964, became friends. Mr. Chappell did not make the pictures public until the last decade, when he consented shortly before his death for the photographs to be used in a 2001 showing in Los Angeles at the Roth Horowitz Anderson Gallery. Chappell originally printed three copies of the Big Sur portfolio he’d shot with Sharon: the first was the (rejected) portfolio he’d sent to her producer Martin Ransohoff; the second was the portfolio that was shown at the gallery in 2001. Her husband has the final copy. A much more detailed article on the story of Ms. Tate’s shoots with Mr. Chappell may be found here.

Sharon Tate’s Actual Life Awareness Month, Day 1

August 1, 2010

I’ve become very unhappy as time goes by that it seems Sharon Tate’s life has been eclipsed by her tragic death. I’d like to focus all this month instead on all the great and positive things she did in her brief and deserved rise. No C.M. and awful company, no post-murder husband accused of pedo-rape and fleeing the country, no oft-published pictures of crime scenes. I want all Sharon and only Sharon, vital and in the moment, and where the husband comes in, he comes in only as it relates to her and nothing more — for once he will be tangential to her. No more shenanigans of other people always surrounding her and overshadowing her warmth and charm and personal intricacies.

Sharon Tate was an interesting and complicated woman with an unusual background, an earthy life outlook, surprisingly flinty grit, and a great sense of humor. This month is about her actual life.