The Tate Murders
August 9, 1969
"It was so quiet, one of the killers would later say, you could almost hear the sound of ice rattling in cocktail shakers in the homes way down the canyon."
I LOVE that line. If you've ever been up to that house at night, you know exactly what they meant. Here's an evening view from the house.
Scott Michaels with Debra Tate 2014
I wish I could include more about this case, but it's been gone over so many times, by too many people. I do have some cool pictures though, so check it out please. It's curious that so many people are obsessed with this case, including yours truly. 1999 marks the 30th anniversary of the murders. Just try to get a table at the El Coyote that night. Anyway, I'll try to keep faithful.
In the summer of 1969, Roman Polanski and Sharon Tate were renting the house at 10050 Cielo Drive, in Los Angeles.
Sharon was 8 months pregnant, and Roman was working in London, but returning to LA in a week or so for the birth of their baby. Folger and her boyfriend, Frykowski, were also staying in the house, until Roman's return. A man named Rudolph Altobelli owned the joint.
Meanwhile, on the other side of town, the Charlie Manson and his clan were living at the Spahn Movie Ranch. Here's what it looks like now. (Photo courtesy of Steve Smith. Thanks Steve.)
George Spahn was a very old, legally blind man that let Manson and his "family" crash at the ranch, in return for upkeep and certain umm, favors. According to legend, Family member Squeaky got her nickname from the noise she made when George ran his hand up her thigh. Yum.
On the night of August 8th, 1969, Sharon and company ate what was to be their Last Supper at the El Coyote Mexican Restaurant, on Beverly Boulevard.
Anyway, the reservation was made under the name Sebring. Sebring was a very successful men's hair stylist, an ex fiancÚ of Sharon, and now good friend to both Sharon and Roman. The group left the restaurant to return to Cielo Drive for the last time.
Manson sent the psycho posse out on their infamous errand. Tex Watson, Pat Krenwinkle, Susan Atkins and Linda Kasabian (coz she was the only one with a driver's license) got in a 1959 Ford, and drove to the house on Cielo Drive.
Ford found in 2010
They arrived around midnite. Tex cut the phone lines, which landed on the gate.
They scaled the hillside beside the gate, for fear of electric shock.
Once on the other side, they encountered Steve Parent, 18, driving towards them in his white Rambler. Parent was visiting William Garretson, the caretaker - and trying to sell him a radio. Garretson was staying in the guest cottage, at the far end of the property.
Watson tells the girls to hide when the headlights head their way. Tex held up his hand and ordered Parent to "HALT." "Please don't hurt me, I won't say anything," were Steve's last words. Bang bang bang bang. Point blank distance. Wrong place, wrong time. Big Time.
Gun found 2010
Tex slit a screen in back of the house,
and crawled in a window, and let the girls in, sans Linda who was a lookout and snitch. Voytek was sleeping on the couch in the living room in front of the fireplace.
Susan scoped the house, and saw Folger reading a book in a back bedroom. Atkins waved to her, and Folger waved back. Susan then saw Sharon and Jay conversing in the other bedroom.
Susan herded them all into the living room, and lined them up near the fireplace.
This is when it got really nasty. Tex says he wrapped a rope around Sebring's neck and then slung it up over one of the rafters that ran across the room.
He started to tie the rope around Sharon's neck, and the other end around Jay's.
Rope found 2010
Jay protested, pleading that Sharon was pregnant, so Tex shot him twice. That was him done with. Of course Sharon and Abigail flipped out big time. Atkins had tied Voytek's hands with a towel (yes. A towel. I know.), so when Tex ordered her to kill him, and she hesitated, Voytek got loose, and a horrible grisly fight began. He got it worse than any of them, but then he just wouldn't give up. He made it out the front door
and onto the front lawn,
but was stabbed 51 times, shot, and pistol-whipped. They even broke the handle of the gun on his skull. Folger flipped and tried to run out the back bedroom,
but Krenwinkle tackled her, and Tex finished her off just outside.
Folger's last words were, "I give up. You've got me." That left Sharon pleading for the life of her baby. The last words she heard were "Woman, I have no mercy for you." Good ol' Tex stabbed her 16 times.
Afterwards the killers covered Sebring's head with a bloody towel, tied the other end of the rope to Sharon's body, and used Tate's blood to write the word "PIG" on the door.
June 2002 Mark Ashley sends us this: Thought you might like this picture of the door step of the house on Cielo Drive.
The next morning, Winifred Chapman, the maid, showed up to work. She let herself in the kitchen entrance,
and made her lovely discovery. Winifred was immortalized by her next action, running out the gates and down the road screaming those immortal words, "Murder, death, bodies, blood!"
The only living person on the premises was Garretson.
He was arrested, but he claimed he didn't hear a thing, and probably didn't, because it was a considerable distance from the guesthouse.
He was eventually released, so he could pursue his lifetime of therapy.
Roman was in his London flat when he got the phone call about the slayings.
He took the next flight back to LA, heavily sedated, I might add.
See their Death Certificates and Graves
Update: Janaury 28, 2015 - Yawwwwnnnn. The best part of waking up....
The front page of Sharon's Autopsy report.
After the murders, the address of the house was changed to 10066(?) Cielo Drive. The house was bought in 1991 by Al Weintraub, and he had it torn down in 1994.
When the house was destroyed, several of the bricks from the fireplace fell into our possession. This is the real deal. They are available as Sharon's Stones and are available from us.
A gigantic structure called "Villa Bella" has been built in its place.
Rumor has it that they can't give it away. Here are the new gates to the property.
About the new house they built there, I found it on
Century 21's website. They dropped the price considerably. $8,000,000. Haha, what a steal. Someone finally bought it. They had interior and exterior views on IPIX (360 degree views), and they probably still have them in archive. The telephone pole is still there,
that's how I identified it. Anyhow, I thought that might be useful info.
Tons o' Trivia: Sharon was originally cast as one of the "Petticoat Junction" girls
but they canned her because the producer, Marty Ransohoff, claimed she was too beautiful for a mere supporting role in television. Truth was, she couldn't act her way out of a bag. Thanks to Findadeath.com friend, Michael, for that tidbit. She also appeared in the Beverly Hillbillies, Mr. Ed, and even dated Max (Jethro) Baer at one point.
Jay Sebring appeared in an episode of Batman, playing hairdresser "Mr. Oceanbring." Clever. Thanks again Michael. It was a Julie Newmar/Catwoman episode, called "The Bat's Kow Tow."
Received from Findadeath.com friend, Tara - January 3, 2002: I just got a tiny tidbit of info on the Manson case. I was at a game show audition yesterday in LA and there was an older lady there who was once Doris Day's secretary. Her first day of work was the Monday after the Manson killings and she says when she got there, there were cops everywhere, loads of undercover non-uniform cops because of Terry Melcher and the fact that it was his old house where everything had happened.
August 2, 1964- Bruce gives a demonstration at Ed Parker's International Karate Tournament in Long Beach, California. Hollywood hairstylist Jay Sebring (and one of the infamous Manson murder victims) is present and is very impressed by Bruce Lee. He later brings him to the attention of producer William Dozier (Batman). No doubt this lead to Bruce being cast as Kato in The Green Hornet.
The music group, "Nine Inch Nails," were the last people to live in the house. Upon leaving the house, and knowing it was going to be demolished, lead singer Trent Reznor supposedly took the front (PIG) door with him. I went to the house just as they dismantled the fireplace, and grabbed a pile of the stones. They are prized possessions. Wanna buy one? Go here.
Here are letters I've received from LA County deputy district attorney Vincent Bugliosi.
& killer Tex Watson
Officer William Richard Walley was one of the first officers to arrive on the scene. It was his first big case. In 1994, Walley was one of the first officers to arrive at Nicole Simpson's house.
It was his last big case, as he retired shortly thereafter.
Finally, there was no party at the house that night. Abigail Folger was reading a book in bed, Voyteck was asleep on the sofa. No one was invited to the house, except for Robert Evans, the producer and a friend of Roman and Sharon's. He was going to keep an eye on Sharon until Roman got back. That night he phoned. Lucky him.
The character that Warren Beatty plays in SHAMPOO is based on Jay Sebring.
Sharon's only living sibling Debra, has a website for Sharon, sent to us by Findadeath.com friend, Robert. Here it is. Thanks Robert!
March 2002 - Findadeath.com friend, JDavis, sends us this: Sharon worked with Bruce Lee in the 1969 movie The Wrecking Crew with Dean Martin. Bruce was helping them to do the fight scenes. Here a pic of Bruce and Sharon together not long before her death.
Thanks JDavis. I love that film. It is awful, on an epic scale. Anyone - get this movie. Martin slurs through the entire thing, and a couple of times, Sharon is actually pretty funny!
UPDATE December 2004, from Findadeath friend, Kevin: In the early 80s, my Mom was an ER nurse at a hospital in Covina, CA. She was given a few tickets to the hospital's Octoberfest, and she offered one to me. I showed up, and ate dinner with Mom and a friend of hers, another nurse. I was introduced, and the conversation sort of rambled as we ate. Somehow the topic came up (this was a long time ago, so I don't remember how) that this woman was Steve Parent's fiancÚ, the guy who was the first one killed at the Tate house by the Manson family. She is pictured in the Bugliosi book with Parent. It was an interesting conversation; she related how she had tried suing everyone with any connection to the book to try to get her picture removed, but to no avail. She had also had to hide her whereabouts for years, for fear of the Manson family finding her to finish the job.|Thanks, Kevin!
Get the greatest True Crime novel ever written, Helter Skelter by Curt Gentry and Vincent Bugliosi.
To see our (Findadeath/DearlyDeparted) own version of the events - in early 2009 we released our own full length documentary about these infamous crimes. Click the banner below to see a free clip.