She's the doe-eyed starlet whose stunning face instantly conjures up an image of unspeakable horror.
On a hot summer night 50 years ago model and actress Sharon Tate was on the brink of a new life as an A-list movie star….and carrying a new life inside her.
But the heavily pregnant wife of film director Roman Polanski was about to have the leading role in a bloody, real-life horror story.
For on August 9, 1969, she was knifed to death by members of the evil Manson Family cult, becoming a tragic icon of Hollywood's greatest tragedy.
In the past half century 26-year old Sharon has featured in more films and TV documentaries about the murder.
And now Quentin Tarantino's blockbuster, Once Upon A Time in Hollywood, is bringing her story to a whole new generation – with Margot Robbie playing tragic Sharon.
Yet while Tate's own sister, Debra, has praised the Aussie star's portrayal, many critics claim Texas-born Sharon has, once again, been unfairly portrayed as a sexy vixen – rather than the clever, compassionate talented actress about to take the movie world by storm.
So who was Sharon, and how did she begin her Hollywood story?
Born in Texas to an army officer dad, Sharon was entered into the first of many beauty contests at just six months old by her mother, Doris.
She was crowned Miss Tiny Tot of Dallas and won other tournaments before moving to Italy where here dad was posted in her teens.
Her looks, charm, and grace won her her first two movie extra roles as well as modelling work and in 1962 she returned to the US and moved to Los Angeles where she got an agent and began her TV and film career in earnest.
In 1967 she met and married Polanski and featured in numerous magazine shoots.
In March that year Playboy magazine predicted “This is the year that Sharon Tate happens….”
Here are her most famous films and roles…
Barrabbas – 1961
She had an uncredited role in a crowd scene in the religious movie shot in Italy.
It starred Anthony Quinn as the criminal spared instead of Jesus Christ before his crucifixion.
Hemingway's Adventures of a Young Man – 1962
In another uncredited role Sharon played a burlesque queen in the adventure movie based on Ernest Hemingway's semi-autobiographical character Nick Adams.
She dated its star, Richard Beymer, who was 29 years her senior, and he helped her find an agent.
The Beverly Hillbillies – 1963-65
Sharon donned a black wig to play beautiful bank secretary Janet Trego in 15 episodes of the hit TV sitcom about a poor backwoods family, the Clampetts, who move to Beverly Hills
Mr Ed – 1963
She had bit parts as a telephone operator and a sailor's girlfriend in the famous sitcom about a talking horse.
The Americanization of Emily – 1964
Sharon was uncredited as “a beautiful girl” in the James Garner comedy drama set in London in the weeks leading up to D-Day.
Months earlier she had lost out to Tuesday Weld for the female lead in The Cincinnati Kid, opposite Steve McQueen and unsuccessfully auditioned for the role of Liesl in The Sound of Music.
The Man From U.N.C.L.E – 1965
She played a therapist in an episode called The Girls of Nazarone Affair.
Eye of the Devil – 1966
Sharon's first major role came in playing beautiful witch Odile in the occult horror film starring David Niven and Deborah Kerr.
The producer also made a short accompanying documentary called All Eyes on Sharon Tate.
It showed her on set, dancing in nightclubs, and sightseeing around London, and contained a brief interview with her.
Asked about her acting ambitions, she replied, "I don't fool myself. I can't see myself doing Shakespeare" and spoke of her hopes of finding a niche in comedy.
The Fearless Vampire Killers – 1967
Roman Polanski cast Sharon as Sarah Shagal, a Transylvanian innkeepers daughter in the horror comedy he also starred in.
But perfectionist Polanski had little patience with the inexperienced Sharon and said in an interview that one scene had required 70 takes before he was satisfied.
But as the film progressed her performance improved and her confidence grew.
They began a relationship, and Sharon moved into Polanski's London apartment after filming ended.
Don't Make Waves – 1967
Sharon returned to the US to play the role of a gorgeous surfer called Malibu in the American sex comedy with Tony Curtis.
She wore a bikini for most of the film and, disappointed, began referring to herself sarcastically as "sexy little me".
The film opened to poor reviews and ticket sales, and Sharon confided in a reporter "It's a terrible movie".
The Valley of the Dolls – 1967
The film version of one of the all-time best-selling books was Sharon's big break – but she didn't like the novel or the script.
She played Jennifer North, an aspiring actress admired only for her body.
Some magazines commented that Tate was viewed similarly – and her nude scene attracted huge attention.
But Sharon said: “I have no qualms about it at all. I don't see any difference between being stark naked or fully dressed — if it's part of the job and it's done with meaning and intention.
"I honestly don't understand the big fuss made over nudity and sex in films. It's silly.
"On TV, the children can watch people murdering each other, which is a very unnatural thing, but they can't watch two people in the very natural process of making love.
"Now, really, that doesn't make any sense, does it?"
The role won Sharon a Golden Globe Nomination for most promising female newcomer.
Wrecking Crew – 1968
Her next role was as Freya Carson, a beautiful but bumbling Danish tour guide and spy in the comedy film starring Dean Martin.
She performed her own stunts and was taught martial arts by Bruce Lee
The film was successful and brought her strong reviews for her comedic performance.
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