by Debra Tate, with a foreword by Roman Polanski
(Running Press, $30)
Reviewed by Larry Cox
British actress Deborah Kerr said that Sharon Tate had “real talent” and predicted she would become a “big star.” Oscar-winner Yul Brynner recalled that “Sharon had a fragile, incandescent quality that brought oxygen into the room.” Patty Duke, Tate’s co-star in “Valley of the Dolls,” remembered that being in Sharon’s presence was like “being enveloped in grace. Her inner beauty superseded her outer beauty, if you can imagine. Once in a while she would catch me staring at her in awe.”
Life is full of questions about what might have been. No one knows what the 26-year-old actress, model and sex symbol eventually could have achieved if she had not been brutally murdered by members of the Charles Manson family one hot summer night in August 1969.
Debra Tate was just 16 when her famous sister and the unborn child she was carrying were slaughtered in the Beverly Hills home Sharon shared with director Roman Polanski. Also killed were three friends: Jay Sebring, Abigail Folger and Wojciech Frykowsky.
Debra, who is based in Southern California and has spent most of her life advocating for victims’ rights and counseling victims of violent crimes, has compiled a remarkable book documenting Sharon’s life and career. Hundreds of images, some never before published, from the Tate private collection, are featured in the coffee-table book, along with quotes and essays from those who worked with her and knew her best.
As Polanski points out in his foreword, “The book is a tribute to Sharon, to her beauty, to her spirit, to her talent, to the pleasure her presence gave to everyone who knew her.” He adds that it is, of course, “impossible” to imagine what might have been if Sharon had lived.” Indeed.