before being murdered by the Manson Family

Sharon Marie Tate was 26 years old and 8 months pregnant when she was murdered by members of the Manson Family Cult in August 1969

Friday, August 8th was a busy day at 10050 Cielo Drive. It was the day before Sharon’s scheduled baby shower and the expectant mom was in nesting mode, despite the 90° temperatures. Her housekeeper Winifred Chapman arrived at 8:00am. Ms. Chapman had worked for Sharon and Roman since spring of ’68, when the Polanski’s rented Patty Duke’s Beverly Crest house. Winifred lived in the city and took public transportation to and from work, so she often stayed overnight at Cielo for convenience. She and Sharon enjoyed an easy, relaxed relationship and that day, Sharon asked Winifred if she would prefer to stay over. It was so terribly hot and Sharon knew that Ms. Chapman didn’t have air conditioning at her home. But Winifred declined, to her eternal gratitude.

At 8:30am a handyman arrived to paint the nursery. He stayed several hours, leaving a window open to air out the fumes. The screen was in place.

At 11:00am Roman phoned Sharon.

“She wanted to know if I wanted a birthday party {his 36th birthday was approaching}. I said, yes, let’s hold one. She said a little kitten had come in from the hills and she was trying to feed it with an eye dropper.” — Roman Polanski quoted in “Actress Had No Premonitions in Last Phone Call from Husband” ©August 1969 UPI (United Press International)

Actress Sharon Tate met film director Roman Polanski in 1966 on the set of the movie “The Fearless Vampire Killers”. They fell in love and were married in London in January 1968. In February 1969, the couple moved to 10050 Cielo Drive just shortly after Sharon learned she was expecting their first child.

At 12:00 noon, gardeners Tom and Dave (brothers) arrived. They mowed the lawn and groomed the hedges. Sharon planned to host her shower outside if temperatures cooled. While they worked, Winifred continued cleaning the house. Sharon’s new puppy and Gibbie and Wojciech’s Dalmatian had been scampering about the place, leaving paw prints on the white farmhouse door. Ms. Chapman washed the door down with soap and water during the noon hour.

(Gibbie — Abigail Folger — and her boyfriend, Polish screenwriter Wojciech Frykowski had been staying with Sharon at Cielo Drive at the request of Frykowski’s good friend Roman Polanski. Polanski did not want his pregnant wife to be alone while he was overseas in Europe working on pre-production for the film Day of the Dolphin.)

At 12:30pm, Sharon’s friends Joanna Pettet and Barbara Lewis arrived for lunch. Gibbie and Wojciech joined them, as did Winifred. It was a long, leisurely meal, with the guests departing at 3:30pm.

One of the gardeners left at 3:45pm. Jay Sebring called shortly thereafter to speak with Sharon. Gibbie left to run errands, including her weekly visit with a psychiatrist.

Sharon Tate dated famed men’s hairstylist Jay Sebring (on left) from 1964–1966. She ended their relationship when she began dating Roman Polanski, she remained friend with Jay — and Sebring graciously befriended the man who had stolen the heart of his girlfriend.

Wojciech left at 4:00pm, visited Jay at his studio, and then picked up the keys for the Woodstock house. Witold K had stayed there for a few weeks. With Roman’s impending return, Wojciech and Abigail planned to return to their rented house by mid-month.

The remaining gardener signed for a delivery at 4:30pm. It was Sharon’s two steamer trunks, sent from Europe. Sharon was napping when the delivery arrived and the gardener stepped in to let the woman rest. The trunks were placed in the living room, adjacent the entryway from the dining room, stacked at an angle.

The second gardener left at 4:45pm, giving Winifred a ride to her bus station.

At 6:00pm, Sharon was awake from her siesta. She spoke again to Jay, who said he would come over. At 6:30pm a bicycle that Abigail purchased was delivered. Jay arrived at approximately the same time as the delivery.

Abigail Folger was the 25-year old heiress to the Folger’s coffee fortune, a social worker and art historian. Wojciech Frykowski was the 34-year old former Polish competitive swimmer and a friend and financier of Roman Polanski’s early films. Wojciech and ‘Gibbie’ (as Abigail was called) met in New York City in 1967 and fell in love. They were staying with Sharon at 10050 Cielo Drive during much of 1969.

Within a few moments, both Gibbie and Wojciech returned. Early in the evening, Debra Tate (Sharon’s younger sister) called and asked to come over. But Sharon declined, as she was tired.

The four — Sharon, Jay, Wojciech and Abigail — spent the evening at home, followed by a late dinner at El Coyote, the Mexican restaurant on Beverly Boulevard. They arrived back at Cielo Drive shortly before 11:00pm, when Abigail took a phone call from her mother. After the call, she went to her bedroom. There, she changed into a long white night gown and laid down to read. Sharon and Jay retreated to the master bedroom, where Sharon slipped into a bikini bathing suit and a sheer peignoir layered over the swimsuit. It was all she could do to keep cool that sultry evening. Wojciech remained in the living room, and began to nap on the sofa.

Shortly after midnight (now Saturday, August 9th) four members of the so-called Manson Family hopped over the fence at 10050 Cielo Drive. They included Charles ‘Tex’ Watson, Patricia ‘Katie’ Krenwinkel, Susan ‘Sadie’ Atkins and Linda Kasabian. The first person they killed was Stephen Parent, an 18-year old high school graduate who had briefly visited the caretaker of the property and was leaving as the killers approached. Stephen was shot and stabbed in his car. The killers then approached the house where they killed Jay Sebring, Abigail Folger, Wojciech Frykowski and Sharon Tate.

Sharon’s unborn baby died as well, still in his mother’s womb.

One of Sharon’s final photos by famed British photographer Terry O’Neill

This has been excerpted from The Manson Family: More to the Story and you can find further information at

You can also read more about Sharon Tate and the history of the home where she perished here:

Author of the “More to the Story” true crime nonfiction series.

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