Sharon Tate has remained a Hollywood icon for her remarkable beauty and her gruesome murder. 

At just 6 months old, she was named Miss Tiny Tot of Dallas. Years later, at 16, she was crowned Homecoming Queen while attending high school in Richland, Washington. 

Her father was a military man, and their family moved around a lot, eventually settling in Italy. 

In 1962, Tate met and signed a contract with Martin Ransohoff, director of Filmways Inc., and made it to Hollywood with minor roles in popular TV shows like The Beverly Hillbillies and Mister Ed

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Sharon Tate (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

In 1965, she appeared alongside David Niven in the film Eye of the Devil. She starred in five more films before her breakout role in Valley of the Dolls, for which she was nominated for a New Star of the Year Golden Globe in 1968.

By then, Tate had fallen in love and married Polish actor and director Roman Polanski and was an up-and-coming 26-year-old movie actress. 

Tate was enjoying her newfound success and ready to bring her first child into the world when the shocking and grisly murder of the actress made headlines. She was killed by followers of cult leader Charles Manson on August 8–9, 1969, in Los Angeles.

'Once Upon A Time In Hollywood'

In 2019, Quentin Tarantino released Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, which referenced the gruesome murders described as an act of revenge.

In the movie, Tate is played by Margot Robbie and portrayed as a frisky, kittenish sex symbol and bit player. Margot’s Tate dances seductively, smiles coquettishly, and delivers a dozen lines she’s given throughout the movie.

The real Tate, however, freely mocked her sultry guise, and her loved ones knew her as a compassionate person. 

The movie follows Tate on two days in 1969. On the first day in February, when she goes to a local cinema to watch herself star alongside Dean Martin in The Wrecking Crew. The second is August 8, 1969, the night of her death in real life. 

In his version of events, Tate and her husband live next door to Leonardo DiCaprio’s Rick Dalton, a washed-up TV actor, and his former stunt double Brad Pitt’s Cliff Booth. 

Tarantino’s film gets most of the story down to a tee, but Tarantino’s film takes a shocking turn as he adds his own twist. 

The Actual Murder

The real story is, however, much sadder than Tarantino’s take. The criminals broke into the grounds of the Polanski house on August 8, intending to kill everyone inside, under Manson’s direction.

Tate's Murderers Mugshot (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Manson, who had aspirations of becoming a musician, had been rejected by producer Terry Melcher. Mason did not take the rejection well, leading him to take his revenge on Hollywood.

Melcher had previously stayed in Polanski’s house with his girlfriend. Mason knew he had moved out, but he still instructed Tex Watson, Patricia Krenwinkel, Susan Atkins, and Linda Kasabian to go to “that house where Melcher used to live,” and to “destroy everyone in [it]” as gruesomely as they could.

They killed everyone inside, leaving Tate for last, who was eight and a half months pregnant.

Manson was sentenced to life in prison without parole and died at 83 in 2017. Meanwhile, his cult members were sentenced to death, but that changed to life imprisonment when California’s death penalty was abolished in 1972.