Sharon Tate

  1. Jennifer Riley, Petticoat Junction, TV, 1963-1965.     Tate landed the flirtatous Billie Jo Bradley of… wait for it… Hooterville! She never played the role because  producer Paul Henning put her in his other country folks show, The Beverly Hillbillies, as Commerce Bank secretary Janet Trego for  15 episodes, 1963-1965. Which is where MGM producer Martin Ransohoff discovered her and decided to make her A Star. In  Eye of the Devil,  Don’t Make Waves… Polanski did a better job with The Fearless Vampire Killers. He then stole her and wed her.  
  2. Charmian Carr, The Sound of Music, 1965.       Sharon’s beauty would have stolen the film…Also seen for Liesel Von Trapp:  Kim Darby, Patty Duke, Teri Garr and Lesley Ann Warren. Plus four daughters of the famous: Charlie’s Geraldine Chaplin, Judy Garland’s Liza Minnelli, Maureen O’Sullivan’s Mia Farrow and Ann Sothern’s Tisha Sterling.   Sharon’s beauty would have stolen the film. At six months, she was Miss Tiny Tot of Dallas, at 16, Miss Richland, Washington. By 1959, she was the winner of fiveb eauty pageants… And ten years later, slaughtered by the Charles Manson gang.
  3. Nancy Kovack, Tarzan and the Valley of Gold, 1965.    The ape-man debut of former linebacker for the Pittsburgh Steelers and LA Rams during 1959-1964 was launched with a splashy media conflab – shared by Sharon, his leading lady. Then producer Martin Ransohoff, who had Tate under contract, decided she should debut in something better … replacing Kim Novak in Eye of the Devil, leading to Don’t Make Waves, Roman Polanski and Charles Manson. Kovack played Sophia not Jane opposite the  modernised 13th ape-man – a jungle 007 in summer suits, helicopters and dancing the Watusi (rather than with them).
  4. Tuesday Weld, The Cincinatti Kid, 1965.     Original helmer Sam Peckinpah was unimpressed. Big mistake. She was the producer Martin Ransohof’s girl. Bye-bye Sam. Marty had Sharon under contract and off to Lee Strasberg for a tune-up…beforelaunching her in Don’t Make Waves,1967.She did just that!Her next two films were in Britain – the second for director Roman Polanski… Steve McQueen, although never into blondes, had also chosen Weld for Soldier in the Rain, “she’s the best actress I’ve worked with up to this point.”
  5. Faye Dunaway, Bonnie and Clyde, 1966.
  6. Faye Dunaway, The Thomas Crown Affair, 1967.   For the insurance agent investigating Tommy Crown, director Norman Jewison wanted Eva Marie Saint.  Too old, screamed the suits. OK, the director drew up a wet-dream list:  Anouk Aimé,  Brigitte Bardot, Candice Bergen, Leslie Caron, Julie Christie, Suzanne Pleshette,  Vanessa Redgrave, Sharon Tate, Raquel Welch… and his star, Steve McQueen, suggested testing Camilla Sparv.  “Yeah, well, I’ve just seen an early print of Bonnie and Clyde… and you’re gonna spend eight hours kissing her!”
  7. Jill Ireland, Città violenta (UK: Violent City; US: The Family), Italy-France, 1969.     As a switch from his spahehtti West, Rome director Sergio Sollima tried  a Mafia thriller: “The Godfather Gave You An Offer You Couldn‘t Refuse. The Family Gioves You No Alernative.“  Quentin Tarantino called it a re-hash of Jacques Tourneur’s Out of the Past. Replacing 1947’s Jane Greer-Robert Mitchum with Florinda Bolkan-Tony Musante or Tate-Jon Voight. Until Bronson became the betrayed hit-man, inevitably insisting on his wife…to double-cross him.  The Bronsons came as a pair.
  8. Natassja Kinski, Tess, France, 1979.    “For Sharon.” Tate gave the Thomas Hardy novel to her husband, Roman Polanski,but their dream movieended on the night of August 8-9, 1969, when she and six others were as brutally murdered by the Charles Manson “family.”After Polanski fled the US charges of raping a minor, he cast his (brilliant!) ex-lover as Tess and dedicated the finefilmto his slain wife. After her killing, top agent Sue Mengers was overheard pacifying a terrified client: “Don’t worry, honey, stars aren’tbeing murdered. Only featured players.”



 Birth year: 1943Death year: 1969Other name: Casting Calls:  8