The Early Life of Sharon Tate

her childhood, teen years and early years as an actress

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A candid photograph of Sharon Tate by esteemed photographer Sharokh Hatami

Sharon Marie Tate as born on January 24, 1943 in Dallas, Texas. Her father Paul was in the United States Army (eventually rising to the position of Colonel) and her mother Doris was a homemaker.

Sharon was a stunner from the moment she entered the world. Doris entered the baby in her first beauty pageant at just six months old. Baby Sharon won ‘Missy Tiny Tot of Dallas’ and later pageants as a teen.

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Sharon Marie Tate

When Sharon was nine years old, Doris gave birth to her second daughter, Debra, and then five years later to her third child, Patricia. Before Debra was born, Sharon had grown up as an only child. She was also a military brat, traveling often for her father’s duties. In fact, she lived in six different U.S. cities before the age of 16 and reportedly had trouble making friends. Her peers from that era thought she was aloof or unfriendly, but she was just shy.

But she was also a tomboy. In some ways her personality was equal parts her mother and father: Doris was warm and affectionate, Paul was stoic, even brooding.

Then in 1959, Colonel Tate was transferred to Verona, Italy and his family soon joined him there at the U.S. military base. Sharon was enrolled in the American High School at Verona where she easily took to the European lifestyle. She made friends much easier there, and they often enjoyed ski trips together to the Alps. She was also crowned both Homecoming Queen and Senior Prom Queen.

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Teenage Sharon with her sisters

We now know that shortly after Sharon’s high school graduation, she was date-raped. She felt ashamed and told very few people about the assault, believing it would bring shame to her family.

In 1961, the film production of Adventures of a Young Man came to Verona, and Sharon and her friends showed up at a crowd scene hoping to spy the cast and crew. Lead actor Richard Beymer (West Side Story) glimpsed the fair-haired beauty in the crowd and called her over. The two began dating and Beymer encouraged his girlfriend to consider a film career. I mean, with her looks — why not?

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Actor Richard Beyer with Sharon Tate

The following is excerpted from The Manson Family: More to the Story

After breaking off her relationship with Forquet, Sharon was introduced to men’s hairstylist Jay Sebring. Jay was enamored of her, and had begged a friend for the introduction and soon, the two were dating. Sharon loved Jay and they had a good relationship, but when he proposed she turned him down. She wanted to wait until her career was better established, before marriage. In fact, her contract with Ransahoff forbade marriage until her seventh year with the agent.

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Sharon and Jay were very happy together, and remained close friends after their romantic relationship ended

Again, from The Manson Family: More to the Story

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A publicity photo of Sharon in “Eye of the Devil”

You can read other stories about Sharon Tate by this author here:

Written by

Author of the “More to the Story” true crime nonfiction series. https://www.mansonfamily.net/

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