Sharon Tate is famous for her Hollywood stardom in the 1960s with roles in such films The Fearless Vampire Killers and The Valley of the Dolls. But there is so much more to this Hollywood icon that only her Tate’s sister Debra knows, and which she writes about in Sharon Tate: Recollection. Recoil was able to speak with Debra Tate the book.
Recoil: What was life like growing up with your sister Sharon and what kind of relationship did you have?
Debra Tate: Sharon and I grew up as army brats. Our father was a career military man, which required us to move every three years to other countries and military bases across the United States. Sharon and I had an extremely close relationship. Sharon moved out (from the family home) just prior to her eighteenth birthday. We emancipated Sharon so she could move from Italy to the U.S. to start her career. She was ten years older than me, I was the middle child. Patti was the youngest and was five years younger than me.
R: What do you hope people will learn from reading your book?
DT: I would like my readers to learn who Sharon was from a family perspective and also from her celebrity friends. Sharon valued all life. I want to establish with the younger generation that you can have it all. Sharon had an amazing body of work in just six years that had long-term impact even today, almost forty-five years later! She is extremely relevant today in several areas: clothing, makeup, hairstyles. She is relevant in her personality/persona and she is someone to aspire to be like and to emulate. Sharon was very soulful and spiritual. She did not use her beauty, it wasn’t just skin deep with Sharon – she was the whole package, a gem.
R: Roman Polanski wrote the forward to your book. How would you describe Sharon and Roman’s relationship?
DT: Sharon was deeply in love with Roman. The love between them was immense; very rare in Hollywood to have that type of relationship. Tate women do not give up on things. Relationships take work and require sacrifice and growth.
R: What were some of Sharon’s favorite things?
DT: Sharon loved strawberry ice cream. In our household we made ice cream by hand. Sharon loved clothes and wore minimal makeup. She was very comfortable to go out with a clean-scrubbed face, her hair in a ponytail and some Vaseline on her lips. She loved wearing ballet slippers, which have come back into style. Sharon and I loved visiting boutiques together. A favorite was Betsey Johnson’s boutique on Melrose. Sharon came from a generation where everything was structured: girdles, garter belts, tightened up/tucked in/hemmed up – but Sharon liked free-flowing clothing. We would create new looks at Betsey Johnson’s by combining Kimono and crepe fabric into one outfit. We gave her (Betsey Johnson’s) designs do-overs!
R: What surprises can we look forward to in your book?
DT: This is the introduction book. I will be working on another book that will be more in-depth and include very rare family photos and lots of surprises. I want my readers to get to know us as a family! Every thirty to forty years fashions come back, etc. and this is Sharon’s time again, Sharon’s time to shine! I want to reintroduce Sharon to the world, put her back up on her feet and make her real. Sharon had a lot to give and still does. I would like my readers to get a warm cozy feeling from this book – like they just got a great big hug. We were a very huggy family. If Sharon met you she would give you a great big hug.
For more information please visit sharontaterecollection.com. — Sherrie Coke