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Pregnant Sharon Tate Planned to Divorce Roman Polanski before Being Killed by Charles Manson’s 'Family' — Inside Her Final Days

Oyin Balogun
Sep 03, 2021
06:40 A.M.
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A pregnant Sharon Tate had been planning to divorce Roman Polanski before she met her tragic fate at the hands of Charles Manson's followers — here is how she spent her final days.

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Sharon Tate was a talented actress who became eternally famous because of the tragic fate she suffered. The late woman was married to Roman Polanski and had been carrying his child at the time of her demise.

Their love story is one of the most tragic and infamous ones Hollywood has ever seen. Their union was a complicated one rife with disputes — in fact, they had been in the middle of one when she lost her life.

Picture of Sharon Tate, Roman Polanski and Charles Manson | Photo: Getty Images

Picture of Sharon Tate, Roman Polanski and Charles Manson | Photo: Getty Images

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Tate had been feeling unhappy and fed up with the way Polanski was mistreating her and had reportedly been threatening to divorce him when she was killed. She had not been exclusively targeted but had simply fallen victim to Manson's attempt to start a racial war.

HOW SHE MET POLANSKI

Sharon Tate was introduced to Polanski by producer Martin Ransohoff in the mid-1960s. At the time, he was trying to help her land a role in the filmmaker's upcoming film. According to what the actress told her sister, Debra, she and Polanski did not immediately hit it off.

According to the book "Sharon Tate Recollection," compiled by Debra, Polanski did not speak to Sharon on their first date. On the second meeting, he reportedly scared her by rushing at her while wearing a Frankenstein mask.

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Sharon Tate (1943-1969), US actress, wearing metallic disc sleeveless top, with a scoop neckline, in an exterior portrait, circa 1965. | Photo: Getty Images

Sharon Tate (1943-1969), US actress, wearing metallic disc sleeveless top, with a scoop neckline, in an exterior portrait, circa 1965. | Photo: Getty Images

THEIR TUMULTUOUS MARRIAGE

Despite their less than ideal start, the couple fell in love and tied the knot on January 20, 1968, in London. As earlier stated, the marriage was riddled with disputes, but even those were not as publicized as the rumors, which ranged from infidelity to forced threesomes.

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Sharon loved him deeply but was also intimidated by him. In the book "Sharon Tate: A Life," one of Tate's friends, Joanna Pettet, revealed how controlling Polanski had been with his wife:

"He told her how to dress; he told her what makeup he liked, what he didn't like. He preferred her with nothing, no makeup."

Roman Polanski at the 45th Deauville American Film Festival on September 07, 2019 | Photo: Getty Images

Roman Polanski at the 45th Deauville American Film Festival on September 07, 2019 | Photo: Getty Images

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THE TRAGEDY

According to Alisa Statman, who penned "Restless Souls," a book about the Tate family, Sharon had been waiting to see how her husband would act in the first couple of weeks after their child arrived. If she saw no change, she was prepared to part ways with him.

They were married for a year, but it ended in 1969 after Tate was killed along with Jay Sebring, Abigail Folger, Wojciech Frykowski, and Steven Parent in a stabbing at their Los Angeles-area home by members of cult leader Charles Manson's "family."

Sharon Tate (1943 - 1969) with her husband, Roman Polanski, at the premiere of psychological horror film "Rosemary's Baby," in the UK, on 24th January 1969. | Photo: Getty Images

Sharon Tate (1943 - 1969) with her husband, Roman Polanski, at the premiere of psychological horror film "Rosemary's Baby," in the UK, on 24th January 1969. | Photo: Getty Images

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Just before the tragedy, Sharon and her beau had traveled to Europe where she filmed "The Thirteen Chairs" and returned home alone to Benedict Canyon, Calif, on July 17, 1969. At the time, Polanski insisted he had to spend more time in London, where he had been scouting movie locations.

Her words made history because it became the first victim impact statement in California.

It was later revealed that he remained in London because she refused to terminate the pregnancy she carried. He refused to have sex with her and reportedly started an affair with another woman.

Roman Polanski at the 70th International Cannes Film Festival on May 27, 2017 | Photo: Getty Images

Roman Polanski at the 70th International Cannes Film Festival on May 27, 2017 | Photo: Getty Images

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On August 8, 1969, Statman said Polanski called Sharon, and they argued over him refusing to leave London. She told him if he did not return in time to meet the birthday party she was planning for him ten days later, she would leave him.

While sharing lunch by the pool with actresses Joanna Pettet and Barbara Lewis, Sharon complained about Polanski and expressed excitement over her baby. Frykowski and Folger joined them later that afternoon before Tate left to take a nap.

Sharon's former fiancé, celebrity hairstylist Jay Sebring, joined the group at the house that evening, and it is speculated that they went out and returned by 10 p.m. It was a quiet night, but it was the calm before the storm.

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Polish film director Roman Polanski and American actress Sharon Tate (1943 - 1969) at their wedding. | Photo: Getty Images

Polish film director Roman Polanski and American actress Sharon Tate (1943 - 1969) at their wedding. | Photo: Getty Images

THE STABBING

Sometime in the following morning, four followers of Charles Manson, an American cult leader, scaled the driveway gate and launched a fatal attack. After they killed Steven Parent, who had been trying to sell a clock radio to the estate's caretaker, they went inside and killed Sharon and her friends.

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Sharon was stabbed a total of 16 times by the assailants, and the killers were identified as Charles "Tex" Watson, Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkel, and Linda Kasabian.

The killing triggered fear in other celebrities who feared they would be next. That night, Manson, along with several of his followers, went to the home of a grocery store executive named Leno LaBianca and his wife, Rosemary LaBianca, and killed them.

Seven deputies escort Charles Manson from the courtroom after he and three followers were found guilty of seven murders in the Tate-LaBianca slayings. | Photo: Getty Images

Seven deputies escort Charles Manson from the courtroom after he and three followers were found guilty of seven murders in the Tate-LaBianca slayings. | Photo: Getty Images

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HER DEATH WAS NOT IN VAIN

More than a decade after her daughter passed, Doris Tate conjured a futile plea as she sat across from one of three murderers responsible for her daughter's death.

"What mercy, sir, did you show my daughter when she was begging for her life?" Doris demanded of Charles "Tex" Watson during his 1984 parole hearing. "When will I come up for parole? Can you tell me that? Will the seven victims and possibly more walk out of their graves if you get parole?"

Doris Tate (1924 - 1992) poses in her home, Los Angeles, California, October 03, 1984. | Photo: Getty Images

Doris Tate (1924 - 1992) poses in her home, Los Angeles, California, October 03, 1984. | Photo: Getty Images

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Her words made history because it became the first victim impact statement in California. Because of what Doris began, victims' voices now carry weight in the nation's legal system.

Doris' work helped get the Victims' Bill of Rights passed in California back in 1982, and as a result, all 50 states now allow victims to speak either written or orally at certain phases of the legal process.

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