As beautiful and she was kind, actress Sharon Tate left an indelible mark on the world.
The style icon's life is celebrated with a new book Sharon Tate: Recollection (amazon.com, $23) available June 10. Compiled by her younger sister Debra Tate, the gorgeous book is filled with never-before-seen photographs paired with anecdotes and memories from her friends, co-stars, directors, and family.
We talked to author and little sister Debra Tate about the book and Sharon as she remembers her. What follows is an intimate look into the starlet's life and style; from her extraordinary work ethic to what cheap drugstore product kept her famous pout so perfect.
Get a sneak peek inside Sharon Tate Recollection now and read our interview with the author, Debra Tate, below.
Sharon was one of the most beautiful women of her generation. She’s been referenced as inspiration for fashion shows, photo shoots, and as a style icon. Why do you think her style continues to resonate?
There was a light about Sharon, almost a fourth dimension if you will, that transcended the limitations of photography. It is almost as if you can see into her soul and know who she was just by looking at her picture. She really captured the essence of the sixties. I will say, if there was one “Sharon Tate” look that most fans seem to adore, it’s her high fashion appearance in Valley of the Dolls—the gowns, the false eyelashes, the hairpieces, the camp. That film seems to become more popular with each passing year.
What were Sharon’s favorite things to wear?
Sharon preferred clean, elegant, simple lines and suits in white or shades of ecru. She loved tailored clothing. She particularly liked antique camisoles; wide belts that could be worn over jeans or skirts; big hoop earrings and thin “love beads” that were made of tiny glass bugle beads. Needless to say, she adored miniskirts and looked spectacular in them.
What were her favorite beauty products?
Her favorite beauty product was simple Vaseline, for her lips. She also liked Yardley clear lip gloss, and used her brown Max Factor eyebrow pencil as a lip liner. For skincare, she preferred Erno Laszlo and she never went to bed with her makeup on. Sharon wasn’t into perfume, as she was scent sensitive. Instead she made her own custom blend of essential oils, usually including tea rose. She also loved a bath product called “Milk and Pearls.” I still have her last bottle.
Do you still have any of Sharon’s clothes or jewelry? Do you hope to pass them down to your daughter?
I do have a large amount of Sharon’s clothes and jewelry. It’s all kept in a climate controlled environment. My daughter is a fashion designer and I know we both plan to keep the collection in the family.
What inspired you to write this book and dig up all these incredible pictures and tributes from people who knew your sister?
I had always wanted to write a book about Sharon. For many years she had been in the public’s consciousness for a specific reason—and then I noticed a change. New generations began to appreciate Sharon for who she was. Fan websites started appearing, fashion blogs regularly featured her as a sixties fashion icon, and major celebrities even referenced Sharon as the style inspiration for their magazine editorials and red carpet appearances. The idea for the book was not to present a traditional biography, but to carefully assemble photographs and pair them with recollections from myself, Sharon's friends, costars and work associates, and even Sharon herself. I hope by doing this, it will give her current and future fans a sense of who Sharon really was.
As beautiful and she was kind, actress Sharon Tate left an indelible mark on the world. Her life is celebrated with a new book Sharon Tate: Recollection (amazon.com, $23).
"Ah, Sharon. The word 'exquisite' perfectly sums up this lady," said friend George Harrison. "Almost otherworldly, so beautiful and sensitive, a truly gentle soul."
3. Teen Dream
"Dear God, she was beautiful," Doris Tate said of her Texas-born army brat daughter. "In Europe people would turn around on the street just to look at her." Pictured here at 13 in 1956, Sharon already had her signature shy smile perfected.
4. The Fearless Vampire Killers
Here, a redheaded Tate dressed in denim takes a break on the set of 1967's The Fearless Vampire Killers. Said friend Warren Beatty of her beauty, "I have never seen a woman who could stop traffic with her beauty like Sharon, and that in town like Hollywood, known for its gorgeous girls!"
5. Beauty Queen
Sharon Tate collected titles easily as a teenager. Here, at 16 in 1959, she was crowned Queen of the Tri-City Autorama. Tate won her first pageant at 6 months old when her mother sent her baby picture to the Miss Tiny Tot of Dallas competition.
6. Only a Look
"Beauty is only a look," Tate famously said. "It has nothing to do with what I'm like inside."
7. Model Perfect
Sharon looks ethereal in this 1964 shot by celebrity photographer John Engstead. "Sharon Tate, in so many different attitudes and poses was always a delight to work with and very professional," the photographer said. "She worked hard to get the right shot and was a lot of fun always."
8. Valley of the Dolls
Tate's most iconic role was in 1967's Valley of the Dolls. "Being in Sharon's presence was being enveloped in grace," said he co-star Patty Duke. "Her inner beauty superseded her outer beauty, if you can imagine."
9. The Starlet
Photographer David Bailey remembered Tate as naturally exquisite. In Sharon Tate: Recollection, he is quoted as saying. "Even caught off-guard, Sharon was a study of elegance and poise." Here, a quiet moment in 1967 is captured on the set of Valley of the Dolls.
10. Here Comes the Bride
"Sharon was one of the most beautiful brides I had even seen," said Joan Collins of Tate's 1968 wedding to director Roman Polanski held at the Playboy Club in London. The bride wore white ribbons and pink-and-white flowers in her hair. "It was a fabulous wedding and everyone had a fabulous time.".