Sharon Tate’s gutwrenching final words as she begged for babys life
Sharon Tate stars as Freya in The Wrecking Crew
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Born in Dallas, Texas, on January 24, 1943, Sharon Tate rose to fame starring in the 1967 film Valley of the Dolls, for which she received a Golden Globe nomination. After playing Sarah Shagal in Roman Polanski’s The Fearless Vampire Killers, she married the now-disgraced filmmaker, writer and director in 1968. But her life has been tragically overshadowed by its premature end at the hand of the notorious Manson family, when the 26-year-old, who was eight and a half months pregnant, begged for the life of her unborn child moments before she was stabbed to death.
At the time of her death, Tate has been “completely and 100 percent ready to settle down”, to have a steady home life with a family, according to Alisa Statman, a friend of the Tate family and author of the 2012 book Restless Souls: The Sharon Tate Family’s Account of Stardom, the Manson Murders, and a Crusade for Justice.
On her last day alive, Tate had reportedly had an argument with Polanski — who was in London at the time — about his delaying his return home, but also had lunch with friends at Roman Polanski’s estate in Los Angeles where she spoke of her excitement to be having a child.
She then spent a quiet evening with three others, celebrity hairstylist Jay Sebring, Polish actor and aspiring writer, Wojciech Frykowski, and his girlfriend, coffee heiress Abigail Folger.
According to a United Press International report a decade after the incident, it was “a night so quiet you could almost hear the sound of ice rattling in cocktail shakers in the homes way down the canyon”. But it would not be quiet on 10050 Cielo Drive for long.
Cult leader Charles Manson is said to have ordered his right-hand man and loyal follower, Charles “Tex” Watson to kill everyone as “gruesomely” as possible at the luxury house, after a music business deal with the house’s former owners went sour.
In the early hours of August 9, 1969, Watson and other members of the Mason “Family” arrived at the house.
They first attacked Steven Parent, who was on his way out, having attended the Tate residence to sell the caretaker a radio. He begged for his life, pleading “please don’t hurt me; I won’t say anything”. But the 18-year-old was fatally shot by Watson.
The Manson members — Watson, along with Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkel, and Linda Kasabian — then turned their attention to the four inside. According to Watson’s testimony, the victims were beside themselves with fear, “running around like chickens with their heads cut off”.
Mr Sebring attempted to protect Tate but he was shot and stabbed seven times. Mr Frykowski, who had been asleep when the gang entered, was kicked in the head by Watson and then asked what the intruder was doing. To this, Watson replied: “I am the Devil and I’m here to do the Devil’s business”.
Tate, who had by then been tied up with Mr Sebring by her neck, pleaded with the killers for both her own life and her unborn child’s. She begged the Mason family to keep her alive long enough to have the baby, offering herself up as hostage, pleading: “Please, please don’t kill me — I don’t want to die. I just want to have my baby.”
Atkins, who met Manson in 1967, “gave herself” to the cult leader. There was “no limit” to what she would do for the “Jesus Christ-like person”. This commitment to Manson came to a gruesome climax in August 1969 when she followed his orders. It was she who replied cruelly to Tate’s plea. Court testimony from her trial, given by her former jailmate Virginia Graham, revealed that Atkins had replied: “Look, b**ch, you might as well face it right now, you’re going to die, and I don’t feel a thing behind it.”
They had no mercy. Tate cried her chilling final words, “mother… mother” as Watson repeatedly stabbed her 16 times while Atkins held her down. Both she and her unborn baby boy did not survive the vicious attack Atkins later admitted to stabbing Frykowski as well. It was also she who wrote the word “pig” in capital letters on Polanski’s front door in Tate’s blood.
Tate’s friends were also savagely murdered. Ms Folger, who was ordered to hand over $70 dollars, managed to flee but was eventually caught and stabbed by Krenwinkel. Her plight was not yet over however as she was then stabbed by Watson 28 times.
Mr Frykowski was tied up with a towel but managed to get himself free. Atkins then pounced on him, repeatedly stabbing his legs. He valiantly struggled on, managing to get himself out of the house before he was accosted by Watson. He was shot twice and stabbed multiple times but still attempted to escape. His battle was lost when he was stabbed a staggering 51 times.
Tate’s mutilated body was later found with the tie still around her neck.
Filmmaker Polanski was greatly affected by the tragedy, stating that he would never fully recover from his late wife’s murder.
“Even after so many years, I find myself unable to watch a spectacular sunset or visit a lovely old house or experience visual pleasure of any kind without instinctively telling myself how much she would have loved it all,” he wrote in the book Sharon Tate Recollection, released to mark the 45th anniversary of her death.
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Manson, continuing the “family’s” reign of terror, also took several of his cult members to Leno LaBianca and his wife Rosemary’s grocery store. There, the couple met their fate as they too were brutally killed with the words “rise” and “death to pigs” written in blood on the walls.
“Helter Skelter” was also painted in blood, a reference to The Beatles song that Manson believed alluded to the oncoming race war that he hoped to incite. Watson — who also killed Sebring, Frykowski and Folger as well as Tate — also alluded to this, stating to Manson of his heinous crimes: “Boy, it sure was helter-skelter”.
Initially, the murders at Polanski’s house and of the LaBianas were not linked. It was only after members of the Manson cult were arrested for car thefts that matters came to light as Atkins had boasted about her horrendous exploits to fellow prisoners while in custody.
After the murders, Watson had escaped to Texas. But when his fingerprints were identified on Tate’s front door, he was arrested and later convicted of first-degree murder. All four involved in the murders were sentenced to death after 27 separate counts were returned guilty.
In 1971, Manson was also convicted of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder, including for that of Tate.
Restless Souls: The Sharon Tate Family’s Account of Stardom, the Manson Murders, and a Crusade for Justice is published by It Books and is available here.
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