Sharon Tate’s best films to watch before ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’
Writer Truman Capote described model and actress Sharon Tate as “delicious and beguiling.” Actor Warren Beatty said she could “stop traffic with her beauty.” In the 1960s, she radiated on the film screen, was best friends with actress Mia Farrow, who said Tate was “kindness at the core,” and Tate was loved by everyone who knew her.
That’s why it was heartbreaking when she was tragically murdered nearly 50 years ago on August 9, 1969, by the hands of the Manson family. A portion of Tate’s life [portrayed by Margot Robbie] is featured in Quentin Tarantino’s newest film, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. But before you go watch the movie, revisit three of Tate’s best roles during her short career.
Valley of the Dolls
Tate is best remembered for her role as Jennifer North in the 1967 cult classic film, Valley of the Dolls, a role that earned her a Golden Globe nomination. The film focuses on New Englander Anne Welles [Barbara Parkins], who becomes a secretary at a theatrical law firm. She falls in love with attorney Lyon Burke [Paul Burke]. After befriending up-and-coming singer, Neely O’Hara [Patty Duke], Anne realizes fame isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be. She witnesses as Neely competes against the beautiful but talentless actress, Jennifer North [Tate]. Together, Anne and Neely experience success and failure in love and work, leading to heartbreak and tragedy.
Tate’s supporting role in the film was praised highly by credits, who compared the actress to her movie character. Tate, Duke, and Parkins developed a strong friendship that continued after filming. Director Mark Robson remarked, “Few actresses have her [Tate] kind of vulnerability. She’s got a great future.”
Fearless Vampire Killers
Tate only had the opportunity to perform in eight films in her short career before her unfortunate murder. But her most important role would be as Sarah Shagal in the 1967 horror-comedy, Fearless Vampire Killers. The film not only made Tate an international star, but it also introduced her to her future husband, film director Roman Polanski. The movie focuses on vampire hunter Professor Abronsius [Jack MacGowran] and his assistant, Alfred [played by director Roman Polanski]. They’re traveling across Transylvania when they stop at a suspicious inn. That’s where they meet Sarah [Tate], who’s whisked away by a vampire, Count von Krolock [Fredy Mayne].
The role was a new experience for Tate. At first, she had multiple disagreements with Polanski, who had little patience for the inexperienced actress. Some scenes had to be filmed at least 70 times before he was satisfied with her work. However, as filming progressed, Tate became more confident on-screen and Polanski recognized her potential. The two began a relationship, and the rest was history.
The Wrecking Crew
In January 1968, Tate married Polanski and everything seemed perfect. This marriage shot Tate’s name into more stardom, where directors requested her to star in their pictures. This includes Phil Karlson’s spy comedy, The Wrecking Crew. In the film, Tate stars alongside Dean Martin and Tina Louise, where she plays a secret agent. Tate was praised for her comedic work in the film.
Tate’s role in The Wrecking Crew is featured in Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. The new movie shows Tate watching her film in a movie theater, laughing along with the crowd. She even poses with the film poster, symbolizing that she’s happy with her job and that she wants to continue to make films.
Unfortunately, Tate didn’t have the opportunity to pursue her dreams. She died a year later after filming her final movie, Twelve Plus One. However, her legacy has continued, and movie fans are still enamored with her beauty and impeccable charm.