Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Suddenly Sharon

(CNN) -- As
convicted
murder Charles
Manson comes
up for parole
review on
Wednesday,
there continues
to be an
enduring
fascination in
Hollywood
regarding his crimes.
The murder of pregnant actress Sharon Tate and four others on August 9, 1969, by members of a group known as the
Manson Family left a thumbprint on American pop culture that has influenced music, movies and books.
One of the latest projects is the book "Restless Souls: The Sharon Tate Family's Account of Stardom, the Manson
Murders, and a Crusade for Justice," written by a woman who has a personal tie with the story.
In March 1990, Alisa Statman was a young film director who had just been accepted into the Director's Guild, the
entertainment labor union that represents the interests of film and television directors.
To celebrate, she went house hunting and discovered there was a place for lease at 10050 Cielo Drive, which
happened to be the house where the infamous murders occurred. Although it was more than two decades later, as
Statman was unloading boxes, someone was filming something at the house.
Sharon Tate's sister on Charles Manson

"The day that I was
moving in, there was
a supposed producer
[on the property],"
said Statman, now an
assistant director on
"Modern Family."
"He was taking footage of some of the exterior. I just told him not to film me." About two weeks later, Statman said she received a letter from that producer, Bill Nelson. Nelson said he was working on a film about
the Manson murders and the Tate family, that he had the blessing of Sharon Tate's mother, Doris Tate, and asked if
Statman would be interested in helping. "Being in the business and being 21 years old, I was like 'Heck yes, I'd love
to do this.' "
From there, Statman said her life was radically altered: On a filming trip, she went with Nelson to the house of a
detective who had worked on the Tate case and who had mountains of police reports, photos, "everything
imaginable" piled high on a dining room table.
"Within all those pictures, I came across these two little blue boxes," she recalled. "I opened them up and there were
pictures of Sharon, Jay Sebring and Wojciech Frykowski, three of the victims. They'd obviously been taken in the
last week of her life. She was extremely pregnant. Along with the slides were the negatives. And they obviously had
been taken from the house, during the investigation, and never returned to the family.
"I was so angry. He'd been sitting on these photos for years. The second they left the room, I pocketed them, with the
intention of returning them to whoever I could find."
That person was Patti Tate, Sharon's sister, and Statman said the pair went on to strike up a romantic relationship.
The director said she helped Tate work on an unpublished autobiography and continued to be close to the Tate
family after Patti passed away from breast cancer in 2000. Statman spent the last five years constructing "Restless
Souls" using what she said are Patti's unpublished manuscripts, along with the unpublished writings of Sharon and
Patti's late parents, Doris and P.J. Tate.
Unlike many memoirs, which are written several decades after the incidents recounted, Doris and P.J. Tate wrote
their thoughts while everything that transpired was relatively fresh. The stories within, along with how Statman fell
into the Tate family legacy, are yet more fodder for those who remain interested in the tragedy, 40-plus years later.
"The murders happened in the middle of the hippie movement and there was a horrible outbreak of violence in one's
home," Statman said of the story's endurance. "Couple that with the victims were wealthy and famous, the months
and months of speculation as to who did this, only to find out that the Manson Family were right in the middle of this
hippie movement. I think that scared the hell out of a lot of people."
Manson and the Manson Family have long been weaved throughout pop culture. Musician Marilyn Manson is an
obvious example of someone who was influenced by the case, as well as British rock band Kasabian, who draw their
name from Manson Family member Linda Kasabian. Statman, while living at Cielo Drive, sublet her house to Trent
Reznor of Nine Inch Nails, where he recorded the group's second album, "The Downward Spiral" in a home studio
he constructed called "Le Pig." (Sharon Tate had been hung from a rafter in her living room and the word "Pig" was
written in her blood on the front door of the Los Angeles home.)
"About halfway through, I went to the house to pick up some stuff," Statman recalled. "I was terrified by what they'd
turn the house into and the bad vibes they'd brought with it. They had everything in black, there was a huge cross
with blood all over it; it was just weird." Reznor reportedly said that after meeting Patti Tate, he saw the murders
from the victims' perspective.
Manson has released albums of his own music and spoken word. TV specials about the murders have come in waves
over the years and now the Tate story has started to get the biopic treatment.
Over the past two years, reports have surfaced about three films in the works, all at various stages of development
and funding. "The Dead Circus," a half fiction half nonfiction account, has Michael C. Hall and Melissa Leo
attached and is being directed by Adam Davenport and written by author John Kaye.

Celebrity photographer Tyler Shields has been linked to a Tate biopic called "Eyes of a Dreamer" that reportedly has
Lindsay Lohan playing Tate and Shields playing Manson.
"True Blood" star Ryan Kwanten is attached to play Manson in an upcoming film called "The Family," reportedly
written and directed by Scott Kosar ("The Machinist," "The Amityville Horror").
"There's always hesitation for money to get behind the subject matter," said Davenport, who is still trying to secure
funding for "The Dead Circus." "[But] at its root, people are fascinated by evil and the psychological underpinnings
behind it."
Whether these films come to fruition, even the idea that several different people are actively pursuing this story now
is another nod to the influence of the Tate case. Statman said there has already been interest in the film rights to
"Restless Souls," but she said that for now, she's staying put with the survivors' words, as they told them, on page.
"I've gotten a few calls, but I haven't called anyone back yet," she said. "I want to focus on the book now. It's been
such a labor of love, I don't want to get distracted."

29 comments:

Panamint Patty said...

Yes, please, Colonel sir!

maria said...

Still gotta wonder why Alisa would want to live at Cielo knowing its history...seems a tad macabre...

I am fascinated with this case but I would never have wanted to live at 10050 or even on the property of the now 10066...(add another 6 and you have SATAN!!!)

Tell me Colonel...do you think that Alisa Statman had a bit of the stalker in her???? Even she, at 21, couldn't have been innocent of the notoriety of that address....or of Nellie....

DaytimeDivalicious said...

If Statman is a stalker, she certainly managed to have a successful life outside of her stalking. This is a woman who is accomplished in her career. Who in decades near the family, including undercover military trained Paul Tate, never slipped up and revealed her true purpose and nature.

It just doesn't track for me.

Eddy said...

I agree Daytime. Lisa is a success and that couldn't have been easy in a tough place like Hollywood. So good for you Lisa!

I've no doubt she knew what had happened at Cielo, but why would that or meeting Bill Nelson make her a stalker!?

Cielo Drive was a beautiful little place. I'd have lived there and I think alot of people would have given that so many people be-moan it being torn down and all the folks who still drive up there (out of curiousity don't ya know!)

I don't understand some people and their logic here about Lisa and or "Restless Souls?" Her and Brie gave us a gift by writing it from all the Tate families notes etc. Speaking for myself, I'm damn glad they did!

Marliese said...

Eddy and Daytime, i agree with you both and love the way you both expressed your thoughts on this.

I think the criticism of Alisa (and Brie) is very unfair.

One of the most important aspects for me is that Patti wanted Alisa to raise her two youngest children, along with Col Tate selling the house to her....a stalker? I don't think so.

I think both of you said it perfectly.

Jesse2112 said...

Alissa stated emphatically, she did know of the crime at cielo, she was told when she signed the lease, it was part of the disclosure agreement.
I think most people who are interested in this case would have jumped at a chance to rent the guest house if given the oppurtunity. I don't think that would make them or her a stalker.

maria said...

Don't get me wrong...I don't doubt Alisa's sincerity at all. After reading the book and seeing her speak, as well as conversing with her on other blogs...she comes off as a decent person.

I'm just playing the devil's advocate here. Both she and Brie are unfortunately getting a bad rap from quite a few individuals out there. One certain forum, from which I was banned, is just having a field day knocking the two of them.

I think what swayed me into believing that she is genuine was that she took those pictures and severed all ties with Nelson, then returning those pictures to the rightful owners...the Tate family.

Just wanted to see what the Colonel would respond.

katie8753 said...

Beautiful picture of Sharon. Yes indeed!!!

Col please...this is getting embarrassing for us and you. To keep hawking this book, knowing that no one wants to buy it and most likely 10% of the bloggers even bought and read it.

Let it die a natural death, just like all the other books written on this subject, just like the poor victims who gasped their last breaths wondering why.

If Alisa needs support, go to the book signing, if there is one, and ask her to sign the book.

Just let this shit die....for pity's sake.

Alisa is a joke to everyone on the internet. She goes from Manson blog to Manson blog to glean notoriety and just ends up being an empty nobody.

Let's just let this book die a natural death. Please sir.

It's the best thing you can do for Doris Tate. She would hate that Alisa went to Manson blogs to tout her book. So would Patti.

maria said...

I wasn't aware that Alisa was jumping from blog to blog. Is this true?

It would be nice if she and Brie set up a book signing but in a way, I can understand why they aren't. Maybe they are afraid. However, if you publish a book, you are indeed "putting yourself out there" for public scrutiny,

I read the book, twice and enjoyed it. But I do question some of the facts in it. I realize that much of it is supposed to have come from journals kept by Doris, PJ and Patti.

There just seem to be some contradictions. Patti was very young at the time of the murders so her recollections of that moment in time have to be a bit fuzzy. Doris couldn't even begin to talk about the murders let alone write about them for 10 years. PJ's journals seem to be the one source which holds credible and timely information.

Now, isn't Debra supposed to be in possession of PJ's journals?

I know that there are a lot of Debra haters on this blog, but I think we need to realize that she too is a relative of Sharon's. She has what is left of her personal belongings. No doubt she is attention-seeking and mixes up her facts, but I want to wait and see if she publishes anything to contradict "Restless Souls". I'm sure it's in the making.

Matt said...

@ Maria - Love you, Maria but the point is getting beaten to death. The recollections are as Patti remembered them. Memories fade, then we remember what we remember of that memory. Alisa & Brie have pointed that out over again.

@ Katie - Love you too, even though you really love to lead with your chin.

Panamint Patty said...

Katie Katie Katie...sigh. At least you are no longer saying you will throw Alisa's book out on the highway and run it over with your car. That was so over the top. Glad you were smart/sober enough to delete that one. Alisa is hardly a nobody, that is more descriptive of you. May Patty suggest AA? We hope to see you back in a few more weeks with your first chip, ready to make amends. Bye, sweets.

Suze said...

Patty, as they say in sports you cannot stop her - you can only try to contain her. They don't give out chips for quitting hard liquor in favor of beer. Let it go. No more brawls on Col's blog ... please!

Marliese said...

From what I've seen of her on television, I don't care for Debra's manner of speaking. There just seems to be an uncomfortable harshness there...while Patti always came across so authentic and real, but that's just my personal opinion.

I guess Debra does have some of Sharon's belongings. I remember watching her explain how she doesn't like to go through or disturb Sharon's things too often because Sharon's scent still lingers...as she's having a model wear her clothes under hot television lights...

I wonder what she was paid for that disgusting display on tabloid tv? Can't help but wonder what her mother would have said about it too.

After everything i've seen of Debra on television, along with her rebuttal to Restless Souls, i'm not really interested in anything more she has to say...

ST. Circumstance said...

This was a very touching book, and I think that People should just take it for what it is....

a very compelling story told from a side- many of us had not heard from before...

Patti- Paul, and Doris are all heroes

Brie is person who has lost many of the most important people in her life... she does a really good job of keeping her head high, and her mind straight- that's enough for me after all she has been through...

Ms. Statman is a great writer in my opinion ( I read a lot- not all of my books have pictures either)

Those who would argue that it is not 100% factual or that this one or that one wasn't really doing this or that.... I don't really know and cant really argue- but it misses the point to focus on that stuff if you ask me...

The story is who really was close to Sharon, and who wasn't- and more importantly - who should have been closer ( Roman)

It was about the struggle and the process of healing ( if that is ever completely possible) of some real people who suffered a real tragedy....

and in that it broke my heart


I gots to get back to vacation...

BUT...

Why is everyone always so hard on drunks????

Some of my very favorite people are drunks...

( and that includes me )

:) See ya all soon

katie8753 said...

Chips??? You girls know a lot more about AA than I do. LOL.

Marliese, I tend to agree with you. I'm not a Debra-hater, but she has said some strange things in the past. If she did write a book, I would probably buy it, but again, I would have to wonder if it was based on actual facts, or just blurred memories from an aging brain. I would hope more than anything though that it would be unbiased.

Circumstance...stay cool!! :)

Panamint Patty said...

OK Suze, solamente por ti. xx

maria said...

@Matt...sorry babe...just a little slow on the draw these days...it's report card time..:(

I did enjoy the book. And really, no one knows what anyone really felt because all of the particulars passed away before telling their version. Doris and Patti touched on things but were taken too soon to really elaborate.

And Colonel Tate's silence through everything was stoic and remarkable. Obviously he was a very well-trained military man.

As for Brie...I feel for her and for Patti's two other children. Not only did they lose their mom early on, they had lost a piece of her to these murders well before their births.

Although I do question some things, which is natural, I don't necessarily challenge these things. Both Alisa and Brie have conducted themselves with grace and dignity.

Matt said...

Well said, Maria.

maria said...

Merci Mr. Matt...xo

Marliese said...

katie8753 said...>>>>>

Marliese, I tend to agree with you. I'm not a Debra-hater, but she has said some strange things in the past. <<<<<


Hi Katie, I feel the same. I don't 'hate' Debra Tate, and i don't deny she's also suffered, but I dislike her. I dislike her tone and her constant habit of misspeaking. I dislike her past behavior...Debra in all her naked glory...how she could have done that to her parents, people will say oh that's ancient history, so whatever, but some of her recent behavior is still like the problem child. There seemed to be a lot of underlying resentment in her statement on the book ...in my opinion. :) Reading it i thought wow, she likes to fight.

Going after Brie for using the name Tate? How petty. There's more to being a loving family than teaching your young niece how to put on make up, or the cousins playing together occasionally. How embarrassing.
And her explanation about her father's remains seemed a bit hollow to me...a lot of what she said seemed petty and hollow, actually. :)

The dress display on tabloid tv? Calling the anal rape of a 13 year old consensual?
And on and on and on...

maria said...

I actually have pity for Debra.

Putting aside all of the attention-seeking and mixed up facts and fabrications, and even her unsavory pictorial in Oui, this is still one very troubled lady.

The reason I feel pity and sadness for her and for Patti is that both of them, especially Debra, were at very impressionable ages at the time of Sharon's murder. They went from being sisters of a movie star, in-laws of a big movie director, aunts-to-be, to being thrown into the flashbulbs of the media and sharing the same name as one of the most notorious murder victims of all time.

Not to mention that both of them literally lost their mother to these murders as well. Doris checked out for a good long time. Girls, especially those of Debra's and Patti's ages need their moms in the best of circumstances. I can only imagine the abandonment they both must have felt at the emotional demise of their mother which they watched happen.

Honestly, it's no wonder that Debra made some questionable choices. Who knows what kind of people she turned to for comfort? Who knows what kind of people she turned to for guidance? With her mother not there to guide her and protect her, she may have become prey for those seeking a closeness to the notoriety of these crimes. She may have been used and abused by individuals she believed to be looking out for her best interest.

Usually, individuals who are as attention-seeking and limelight-seeking as she seems to me have had a rough past and overcompensate by feeling the need to validate themselves.

That's just my take.

Marliese said...

Debra Tate was nearly 17 years old when Sharon was murdered, and probably 25 or so when she spread her naked legs for Oui Magazine...old enough to understand right from wrong, old enough to have learned about responsibility and consequences for her own choices, old enough to be a help to her grieving mother and father, and certainly old enough to be a nurturing big sister and help ease the suffering and confusion her younger and likely even more impressionable little sister was experiencing.

And while none of us can say for sure, i think it's a fair guess that Debra's negative attention seeking behaviors were in place long before Sharon's murder and long before her mother's dark journey into grief...but that's just my opinion.

Danielle said...

Maria, yours was an eloquent and excellent post. I agree.

Marliese - I'm sorry you feel that at the age of 17, Debra was old and sufficiently developed enough to handle the nightmare into which her family was thrown, and to withstand the loss of her Mum and not only cope with her mother's emotional absence but to provide comfort to both her and her younger sister.

You also seem very judgmental about her 'opening her legs' at 25. She should have known better?

Perhaps you can enlighten us with your extensive experience in losing a sister and unborn nephew to brutal, notorious murder, at the apparently robust age of nearly 17? And your experiences in dealing with parents who have been lost to an abyss of grief and a shattered family and a support network, gone?

Maybe this will help those of us laboring under pesky characteristics such as compassion and common sense, to understand your dismissal of a murder victim's family member.

maria said...

I don't know if I agree that 17 or even 25 years of age are ages where one can make good and sound decisions.

I think it depends on the level of maturity of that individual as well as whether or not they have had good guidance and support from loved ones.

Patti was only 11. I felt absolute heartache for her when I read in "Restless Souls" what she had to go through that September of 1969 when she began not only in a new school, but with the black palor of the murders still so fresh. At that time, there were all kinds of horrible things being printed about Sharon -- blatant lies and speculation. It must have been horrifying for her.

For Debra, at 17, at the height of the counterculture, facing the same horrible things her sister faced, yet with more freedom to lead her to falling prey to undesirables, I imagine that she had a tough time as well.

As far as her lack of discretion when she posed for that pictorial -nobody really knows why she did it. If I had to surmise, I would venture to say that it was attention-seeking. After years of being in the middle....in the shadow of Sharon's stardom and fame and beauty, then in the shadow of her horrible murder...and not as cute and cuddly as Patti...well, who knows what motivated her. I have no doubt that she is deeply regretful of those pictures.

I'm not going to defend her recent behavior but we don't know what goes on in her mind. We don't know the intimate details of what went on to distance her from her family. We don't know what caused the estrangement.

We have all kinds of theories from pictures of her frolicking nude on the lawn of Cielo with Pic Dawson (which I would like to see for proof, myself), to notions that she did all kinds of other horrible things to make her family turn on her.

The Tate family became the most "unaverage" family after August 1969. It was no doubt a matriarchal household under Doris because of Paul's frequent absences for his work, so with her going into virtual seclusion post-murders, I have my doubts that he knew how to handle these two burgeoning girls.

Again, I fault no one. I cannot imagine either being a child in that circumstance nor a parent.

rfoster1 said...

My God, 24 posts of civilized discussion and the venom is still in the bottle, and the claws still in their sheaths!

Nicely done!

Marliese said...

There is a difference between making a judgment...as in offering an opinion or observation on a blog open for discussion, and being judgmental, Danielle.

There are many different opinions about Debra Tate's behavior...she was used, she was influenced, she was traumatized, she shouldn't be held accountable (sounds familiar) etc. and I understand that opinions of those who disagree may be valid.

However, my point...stated early on...was that I believe her patterns of negative behavior were established long before her sister was murdered and long before her mother's dark journey into grief.

I think most of us know grief, and sadly, will come to know through life experience that grief is deeply personal, and no two individuals and no two families necessarily grieve in the same way, so I would sincerely appreciate if you wouldn't challenge me to enlighten you or anyone else about it...I find that very offensive.

As always, just my opinion.

Eddy said...

It's a good opinion Marliese and you said it well.

You know they say you 'can't judge a book by it's cover.' Ok..well if you open the book and it's a lousey read seems you have full right to state you don't in fact like the book. Another old saying is that 'the proofs in the pudding.' That was true yesterday, today, and for all the tomorrows to come.

Marliese said...

Hi Eddy, thanks much for the compliment.

I agree with so much of what you write...love your posts.

Danielle said...

It's interesting how people hide behind phrases such as "it's just my opinion" ... the newspapers that printed salacious material about the Cielo murder victims probably tried to justify their actions with the same cop-out when they printed crap about Sharon being into orgies etc.

Marliese, I respect that you don't want to answer my hypothetical but this proves my point.

Did Debra choose to have her life unravel publicly when her sister and nephew were slaughtered? Or when her parents retreated into grief, leaving young sisters to deal with the unimaginable trauma in their own ways?

Her family had the misfortune of not only having a loved one murdered in a cruel and heinous manner, but having the entire ordeal played out in public.

And yet you and others judge and condemn on a forum that calls one of those sisters revolting names that would make her parents turn in their graves, and provides details of the other sisters' funeral arrangements (Patti's) alongside pictures of a naked woman giving oral sex. Classy.

You participate in such a forum and pass judgment on someone you admittedly don't know now and didn't know back then, while simultaneously being "offended" that your own credentials in grief and suffering are called into question?

I'm sure you'll find ways to rationalize this.