The Timeless Appeal of Sharon Tate.
She possessed a beauty that has endured decades after her death.
Sharon Tate. A beauty for the ages with her hazel doe-eyes, those tousled golden locks, and a bone structure from heaven. You cannot fault that face. However, the timeless appeal of this vintage movie star is more than skin-deep. She had an ethereal presence that touched the hearts of many.
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More than this...
For far too long, Sharon Tate was remembered for her death.
The setting: August 9th, 1969. A luxurious house at 10050 Cielo Drive, Los Angeles.
It was past midnight when a violent murder took the lives of 5 individuals.
Their names were Wojciech Frykowski, Sharon Tate, Steven Parent, Jay Seybring, and Abigail Folger. Not forgetting to mention Sharon’s unborn child.
Joan Didion famously pinpointed this atrocious act as the end of the 1960s "peace and love" counterculture.
From this moment onwards, Sharon Tate's radiant qualities were overshadowed by the cruel nature of her demise.
She was much more than that. She was an up-and-coming actress who was destined to find greater success in Hollywood.
And, most importantly, she was a beloved wife, daughter, and friend to those that knew her.
She deserved to have that child and live a happy life in motherhood.
I’m happy to say that there has been a resurgence of interest in Sharon in the past few years. There are many online fan pages dedicated to her, containing a strong community of admirers that want to keep her memory alive.
When news came out that Quentin Tarantino was going to make a film featuring a depiction of Sharon, I was not happy.
“Not another sensationalised film depicting the murders.” I, and many others, thought to ourselves.
We were all pleasantly surprised. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood had the blessing of Debra Tate; one of Sharon’s sisters. This meant she would play a huge part in deciding how her sister would be best represented on-screen. There was no way she’d want to disrespect Sharon's memory.
Margot Robbie, the popular actress who was chosen to play the star, portrays Sharon with tenderness and grace.
Her character dances, skips, and sings with Mama Cass and Michelle Phillips from The Mamas and the Papas. She visits a screening of The Wrecking Crew - a 1968 comedy film Sharon starred in - and gets taught screen combat by the one and only Bruce Lee.
In every action and every facial expression you can see innocence, pure joy, and a love for life itself.
That is how Sharon deserves to be remembered.
Even Debra was thrilled with Margot's performance:
"At one point, when I was on set, I had her in my ear on a mic, and I actually shed a tear because she sounded just like her”
A Life well-lived.
In her 26 years spent on Earth, Sharon achieved what most people could only dream of.
Her radiant appearance was noticeable from a young age, winning beauty pageants left, right, and center. A sixth-month year old Sharon was awarded Miss Tiny Tot back in the summer of 1943, and, as she grew older, she won five different pageants in 1959!
Sharon also lived a nomadic life. Her father, Paul James Tate, was a colonel in the US military.
This meant that her family were always on the move. (Her mother was called Doris Tate, and her two sisters were called Debra and Patti Tate.)
The actress grew accustomed to this lifestyle as she lived in various different countries throughout her life. Italy, France, and England.
All these precious experiences contributed to how we remember her today.
You have a Californian beach vibe, a cosmopolitan flair, and the carefree spirit of 1960s bohemia all mixed into one woman. Yes, she was drop dead gorgeous, but she also had an impressive sense of style and a worldly quality. Sophisticated to her core.
Throughout her career, Sharon got to shine in 6 feature length films. The 1967 Valley of the Dolls has to be her most popular role. It was where she portrayed the delicate Jennifer North: an aspiring showgirl with little talent.
Sharon in Valley of the Dolls with fellow stars Barbara Parkins and Patty Duke.
According to old quotes from the people that knew her, it’s easy to believe that everyone who met her couldn't help but fall in love. Adjectives like “radiant,” “gentle,” and “kind” come to mind. Just read this wonderful quote from George Harrison:
"Ah, Sharon, it's very hard to talk about her without getting a bit weepy. The word exquisite perfectly sums up this lady. Almost other-worldly, so beautiful and sensitive. But in no way wishy washy, she was smart and not taken in by the shallowness of the industry. Well grounded and natural, very much in tune with her life and very happy when I last saw her in London in 1969."- George Harrison
It’s amazing to know that they once met! If only the both of them were around for much longer…
Effortless Style Moments.
Sharon Tate's sense of style was ahead of the curve. If you look at some of her editorial photographs like the one above, you could almost imagine it being taken today! And, if you want something else to get excited over, just look at her wardrobe...
In 2018, Julien’s auctions - a company specialising in Hollywood memorabilia - held a special auction in Sharon Tate’s memory.
Their catalog advertised pieces from the property of Sharon Tate. This included garments from her wardrobe, old make-up relics, and various decorative objects that she’d have at home.
Debra Tate wrote a wonderful piece on her sister that was included in the auction booklet. She confesses that she had been holding onto these items for years. After all, they were the closest she could get to her sister.
However, it got to a point where she felt ready to let them go. These precious fragments of the past could now be enjoyed by fans of Sharon - old and new.
Pretty a-line dresses were a permanent fixture in Sharon’s wardrobe. They aligned with the popular women’s fashion trends of the mid-to-late 1960s. Skirts were now shorter than ever before.
Although 1960s fashion was filled with exaggerated, artificial, and dolly-like style motifs (think Twiggy with her colour-block mod dresses and huge fake-lashes), Sharon took a more natural approach. In a few pages from the Julien’s Auction catalog, there is an abundance of earthy tones; deep browns being the most popular.
She also had a recognisable everyday make-up look. (Not that she needed it!) She would use a light brown eyeliner to create a beautiful crease and accentuate those amazing eyes. Her favourite beauty item was the humble Vaseline. Small tubs of the product kept her lips glossy and moisturised. I adore this spread from the catalogue! It’s interesting to see what products she used back in the day...
Her favourite designer was Thea Porter who is known as the godmother of bohemian fashion. A connoisseur of print, Porter layered floral, paisley, and ethnic patterns that were inspired by hippie travels to exotic lands. These fabrics were draped to create an ethereal, flowing silhouette.
Above: Sharon wearing a dramatic, black caftan dress from Thea Porter.
Sharon fell in love with the film director Roman Polanski whilst filming his horror comedy the Fearless Vampire Killers.
When they married on January 20th 1968 in Chelsea, London, Sharon appeared in an amazing, Edwardian inspired wedding dress. It was complete with pastel blue ribbon, dainty trim around the sleeves and waistline, and a gorgeous button-up back. She looked adorable, and so, so happy!
I hope this short article has given you an idea of the amazing person she was. (I know I wasn't even alive then, but the countless quotes and anecdotes cannot all be lies!)
It is always lovely looking at the hundreds and hundreds of photographs of Sharon that are archived online. It’s refreshing to appreciate someone who was not only beautiful, but kind, intelligent, and a positive influence on those around her.
When it comes down to it, I think her timeless appeal stems from a reminder of simpler times. Where each and every moment is enjoyed; no matter how small. Sharon Tate's inner joy shone through her eyes and beamed out across her face. She represents a state of mind that we all should like to revisit now and again - especially within these pressing times.
A star indeed.
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See you all next week.