Sharon Tate

Name: Sharon Marie Tate Polanski
Date of Birth: 01/24/1943
Date of Death: 08/09/1969
Place of Birth: Dallas, Texas
Place of Death: Cielo Drive, Los Angeles
Cause of Death: Multiple Stab Wounds
Place of Burial: Holy Cross Cemetery
Website: sharontate.net
Documents: Autopsy Report
Homicide Investigation: 1 & 2

During the ’60s, Tate played small television roles before appearing in films and was regularly featured in fashion magazines as a model and cover girl. After receiving positive reviews for her comedic and dramatic acting performances, Tate was hailed as one of Hollywood’s most promising newcomers.

Tate’s early life was one of constant moving as her father served in the military. When she lived in Italy, she was voted “Homecoming Queen” of her high school. After being an extra in a few Italian films, Sharon moved to Hollywood. Her first big break came when she was cast as the shapely bank secretary in the television series The Beverly Hillbillies.

She made her film debut in 1961 in Barabbas. She was seen next in 1966 with the occult-themed Eye of the Devil. Her most remembered performance was in the 1967 cult classic, Valley of the Dolls. Tate’s last film, Twelve Plus One , was released posthumously in 1969.

Tate became close friends with her Valley of the Dolls costars, Patty Duke and Barbara Parkins. Parkins later served as Sharon’s Maid of Honor when she married Roman Polanski in 1968.

The Barbie Doll Malibu Barbie was based on Sharon Tate’s character in Don’t Make Waves (1967).

Tate and Sebring

Jay Sebring

Jay Sebring was introduced to Sharon Tate at a party in Los Angeles in 1964. They fell in love and started dating. The relationship lasted for about two years. Tate went to London in 1966 to work on The Fearless Vampire Killers with director Roman Polanski. Polanski wrote in his autobiography that the two bonded during an LSD trip one night, and by dawn, they were in love.

Tate ended her relationship with Sebring over the phone. Sebring immediately traveled to London to win her back, however Tate decided to be with Polanski. Eventually Sebring and Polanski became friends. After Sebring and Sharon parted as a couple they continued to see each other as close friends. It was no secret that Sebring was still in love with Sharon and he stayed in love with her until the day he died.

Sharon Tate and Roman Polanski

Roman Polanski

On January 20, 1968, Tate married Roman Polanski in London. The star-studded wedding was followed by a reception at the Playboy club, a Supreme’s concert, and a honeymoon in the Alps.

While Tate reportedly wanted a traditional marriage, Polanski remained promiscuous and described Tate’s attitude to his infidelity as “Sharon’s big hang-up”. Polanski was never faithful to Tate. Not when they were dating, and not after they were married.

He reminded Tate that she had promised that she would not try to change him. Tate accepted Polanski’s conditions, though she confided to friends that she hoped he would change. Peter Evans quoted Tate as saying, “We have a good arrangement. Roman lies to me and I pretend to believe him.”

The couple returned to Los Angeles and quickly became part of a social group that included some of the most successful people in the entertainment industry, including Warren Beatty, Jacqueline Bisset, Joan Collins, Mia Farrow, Jane Fonda, Peter Fonda, Kirk Douglas, Jim Morrison, Steve McQueen, Peter Sellers and record producer Terry Melcher and his girlfriend, actress Candice Bergen.

Sharon Tate at 10050 Cielo Drive

10050 Cielo Drive

Tate became pregnant near the end of 1968. On February 12, 1969, Polanski and Tate signed a lease for the house on 10050 Cielo Drive. They moved in three days later.The house previously had been occupied by their friends Terry Melcher and Candice Bergen.

In March of 1969, Tate flew to Italy to film Twelve Plus One. After completing the movie, Tate joined Polanski in London.

A journalist asked Tate in a late July interview if she believed in fate, to which she replied, “Certainly. My whole life has been decided by fate. I think something more powerful than we are decides our fates for us. I know one thing — I’ve never planned anything that ever happened to me.”

When Tate returned from London, Polanski, who was still in Europe, asked Wojciech Frykowski if he and Abigail Folger would stick around until Polanski came back from Europe. Abigail and Wojciech decided to stay with Tate at the Cielo Drive residence, who was in the eighth month of her pregnancy.

Last Day: August 8, 1969

On August 8, 1969, Tate was two weeks from giving birth.

Sharon Tate, Jay Sebring, Wojciech and Abigail Folger went to dinner at El Coyote, a Mexican restaurant. After diner the four returned to Cielo Drive. Wojciech fell asleep on the living room couch, Abigail retired to her bedroom to read a book, while Jay sat and talked with Sharon in her bedroom.

That same night Charles Manson told Tex Watson to take some of the girls and to go to “that house where Melcher used to live” and to “totally destroy everyone inside, as gruesome as you can” and Manson told Watson to “leave a sign, something witchy”. Tex Watson took Susan Atkins, Linda Kasabian, and Patricia Krenwinkel to Cielo Drive.

Pregnant Tate Was The Last To Die

Tate pleaded to be allowed to live long enough to have her baby, and even offered herself as a hostage in an attempt to save the life of her unborn child. Susan Atkins told Tate as she begged, “Look, bitch, I don’t care about you. I don’t care if you are having a baby. You are going to die and I don’t feel a thing about it.” At this point either Atkins, Watson, or both killed Tate (testimonies differ). Tate was stabbed 16 times. Watson later wrote that as Tate was being killed she cried for her mother.

Sharon Tates Funeral

Tate’s unborn son was named Paul Richard Polanski. Tate’s tombstone bears both Paul’s name and her own. Sharon Tate and her unborn baby are buried at Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City, California, beside her mother and sister.

Sharon Tates Grave Stone

The last book Tate read was Thomas Hardy’s “Tess of the d’Urbervilles” which she convinced Roman Polanski would make a great film one day. Polanski’s film Tess (1979) is dedicated simply “For Sharon”.

Sharon Tate With Her Dog Prudence

Cielo Drive Survivor: Sharon Tate’s Dog Prudence

There were several dogs present at the time of the murders in the Cielo Drive house, most notably Sharon’s Dog Prudence. Roman Polanski bought puppy Prudence for Sharon after Wojciech Frykowski accidentally ran over Sharon’s Yorkshire terrier, Sappy, on the driveway of Cielo Drive.

The morning after the murders Prudence was found hiding in a closet. Prudence was adopted by Sharon Tate’s mother and sister. Unfortunately, 10 years after Sharon was murdered, Prudence was killed in a car accident. Debra Tate, Sharon’s sister, accidentally ran over Prudence in the driveway of her parents house.

The Two Puppies Were Found Hiding in a Closet

Sharon Tate Photo Gallery

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Jay Sebring

Name: Thomas John Kummer
AKA: Jay Sebring (Professional Name)
Date of Birth: 10/10/1933
Date of Death: 08/09/1969
Place of Birth: Birmingham, Alabama
Place of Death: Cielo Drive, Los Angeles
Cause of Death: Gunshot and Multiple Stab Wounds
Place of Burial: Southfield, Michigan
Documents: Autopsy Report

Born in Birmingham, Alabama, Sebring was the son of an accountant, Bernard Kummer, and his wife Margarette. He grew up with one brother and two sisters in a middle class home in Southfield, Michigan.

After graduating from Southfield High School in 1951, Sebring joined the Navy for four years, and during this time served in the Korean War. He then moved to Los Angeles, where he changed his name to Jay Sebring: Jay, after the first initial of his middle name, and Sebring after the famous Florida car race.

Lady’s Man

Sebring was considered a lady’s man and took numerous women to his residence in the Hollywood Hills. Sebring had a fetish, he loved to tie women up with a small sash cord and if they agreed, he would whip them, after which he would undress them and have sex. He was a well-known user of cocaine, staying high on the drug most of the time.

Sebring put on a big front, living in a large house with a butler, an expensive foreign car and at times hosting expensive parties. It is believed that all of these actions were to impress potential backers of his corporation. During the homicide investigation detectives discovered that in fact Sebring’s capital resources were “very limited.”

Celebrity Hairstylist

At a time when barbers charged $1 or $2 for a haircut, Sebring charged $25 to $50 and more. His clients included Warren Beatty, Steve McQueen, Jim Morrison, Paul Newman, Marlon Brando, and Henry Fonda. Sebring flew to Las Vegas once a month to cut Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr’s Hair. At Kirk Douglas’ request, Sebring did the hair-styling for the movie Spartacus.

Bruce Lee

Jay received Martial Arts lessons from Bruce Lee. Sebring passed a videotape of Lee on to a client , William Dozier, the producer of the television show Batman. Dozier gave Lee the part of Kato on the Green Hornet which set off Bruce’s acting career.

Sebring himself had occasional acting roles. One was a cameo in a Batman episode where he played the part of Mr. Oceanbring, a character based upon himself. Sebring also appeared in a 1967 episode of The Virginian, playing a frontier barber.

The House With a Dark History

The House With a Dark History

Sebring was fascinated by a house on 9860 Easton Drive in Benedict Canyon. The house had a dark history. Sebring purchased the home in 1963 in part because of its dark Hollywood history. Sharon Tate often visited the house and even lived at the house for some time.

The house once belonged to famed actress Jean Harlow and MGM producer Paul Bern. On September 5, 1932, Paul Bern killed himself in the house. Paul Bern was found dead with a gunshot wound to the head and what appeared to be a suicide note. The official cause of death was ruled a suicide but there have long been rumors that Bern’s death was actually a murder staged to look like a suicide.

Three more people would die at the house, two other people committed suicide in the Easton Drive home and one person drowned in the pool.

Sharon Tate and Jay Sebring

Sharon Tate

Sebring was introduced to Sharon Tate at a party in Los Angeles in 1964. They fell in love and started dating. The relationship lasted for about two years. Tate went to London in 1966 to work on The Fearless Vampire Killers with director Roman Polanski. Polanski wrote in his autobiography that the two bonded during an LSD trip one night, and by dawn, they were in love.

Tate ended her relationship with Sebring over the phone. Sebring immediately traveled to London to win her back, however Tate decided to be with Polanski. Eventually Sebring and Polanski became friends. After Jay and Sharon parted as a couple they continued to see each other as close friends. It was no secret that Sebring was still in love with Sharon and he stayed in love with her until the day he died. Polanski would later say that despite Sebring’s lifestyle, he was a very lonely person, who regarded Tate and Polanski as his family.

Roman Polanski and Jay Sebring

Last Supper

On the night of August 8, 1969, Jay Sebring took Sharon, Abigail Folger and Wojciech Frykowski to dinner at a Mexican restaurant, El Coyote. When the four returned to Cielo Drive, Wojciech fell asleep on the living room couch, Abigail went to her bedroom to read a book and Sharon and Jay went to the master bedroom.

That same night Charles Manson told Tex Watson to take some of the girls and to go to “that house where Melcher used to live” and to “totally destroy everyone inside, as gruesome as you can” and Manson told Watson to “leave a sign, something witchy”. Tex Watson took Susan Atkins, Linda Kasabian, and Patricia Krenwinkel to Cielo Drive.

Tate Residence 10050 Cielo Drive

Death

Watkins, Atkins and Krenwinkel entered the Cielo Drive residence just after midnight. Atkins and Krenwinkel searched the house and found Tate, Sebring and Folger and forced them to the living room. Watson began to tie Tate and Sebring together by their necks with rope and slung the rope up over one of the living room’s ceiling beams. Sebring protested to the rough treatment of the pregnant Tate. He was then shot by Watson, who kicked him several times in the face, breaking his nose and eye socket. Watson then stabbed Sebring seven times.

Jay Sebring died defending the woman he loved.

Funerals for Tate and Sebring took place on the same day. Steve McQueen gave the eulogy at Sebring’s funeral.

Sebring is buried at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Southfield, Michigan.

Abigail Folger

Name: Abigail Anne Folger
AKA: Gibbie
Date of Birth: 08/11/1943
Date of Death: 08/09/1969
Place of Birth: San Fransisco
Place of Death: 10050 Cielo Drive, Los Angeles
Cause of Death: Multiple stab wounds
Place of Burial: Holy Cross Cemetery
Documents: Autopsy Report

Abigail Anne Folger was born to Peter Folger, chairman of the Folger Coffee Company, and Inez Mejia, the daughter of a prestigious California land grant family. Abigail attended the Catalina School for Girls in Carmel, California, graduated from Radcliffe College with honors, and received a graduate degree in Art History from Harvard.

Abigail worked a series of jobs in art galleries, book stores, and magazine publishers in New York City. It was at a bookstore party that Abigail met Polish author Jerzy Kosinski who introduced her to Wojciech Frykowski. Wojciech couldn’t really speak English but both he and Abigail were fluent in French. Abigail and Wojciech moved from New York to Woodstock Road in Hollywood, where they rented a home owned by “Mama” Cass Elliot of the Mamas and the Papas.

Abigail supported Frykowski, paying for the rent at the Woodstock address and supplying him with money for his drug habit which included marijuana, hashish, mescaline, MDA and cocaine. Abigail also used these drugs.

Wojciech Frykowski and Abigail Folger

Cielo Drive

By mid-1969, Abigail and Wojciech moved in to Sharon Tate’s house at Cielo Drive to house-sit while Roman and Sharon went to Europe to work on different film projects. It was during this time that the tension between Wojciech and Abigail increased.

Abigail saw her psychiatrist, Marvin Flicker, M.D., for one hour a day, five days a week. Her standing appointment was 16:30 each day. She discussed her use of drugs and her disappointment with Frykowski. Doctor Flicker stated that he thought she was almost ready to leave Frykowski.

Sharon returned from filming her final movie, The 13 Chairs. Roman asked Wojciech if he and Abigail would stick around until Roman came back from Europe. Despite the tension in their relationship Abigail and Wojciech decided to stay with Sharon, who was in the eighth month of her pregnancy.

Last Supper at El Coyote

On the night of August 8, 1969, Jay Sebring took Sharon, Abigail and Wojciech to dinner at a Mexican restaurant, El Coyote. When the four returned to Cielo Drive, Wojciech fell asleep on the living room couch, Abigail went to her bedroom to read a book and Sharon and Jay went to the master bedroom.

That same night Charles Manson told Tex Watson to take some of the girls and to go to “that house where Melcher used to live” and to “totally destroy everyone inside, as gruesome as you can” and Manson told Watson to “leave a sign, something witchy”. Tex Watson took Susan Atkins, Linda Kasabian, and Patricia Krenwinkel to Cielo Drive.

Death

Shortly after midnight, Susan Atkins passed by Abigail’s bedroom. Abigail thought Atkins was a friend of Sharon and, looking up from her book, smiled and waved to her.

Abigail Folgers Bedroom at Cielo Drive

A few moments later Atkins came into Abigail’s bedroom and forced Abigail into the living room. Jay Sebring protested to the rough treatment of the pregnant Tate. Watson then shot and stabbed Sebring. Chaos ensued. Wojciech freed himself while Patricia Krenwinkel and Abigail started wrestling.

After being stabbed multiple times Abigail ran down the hall in an effort to escape. Krenwinkel ran after Abigail, caught her, stabbed her, and tackled her to the ground. Watson joined Krenwinkel and they stabbed Abigail 28 times. According to Watson, Abigail pleaded them to stop stabbing her, saying, I give up, you’ve got me, I’m already dead.

Abigail was buried at Holy Cross Cemetery, California on August 13, 1969.

Wojciech Frykowski

Name: Wojciech Frykowski
Date of Birth: 12/22/1936
Date of Death: 08/09/1969
Place of Birth: Lodz, Poland
Place of Death: 10050 Cielo Drive, Los Angeles
Cause of Death: Multiple stab wounds and gunshots
Place of Burial: Lodz, Poland
Documents: Autopsy Report


Wojciech (pronounced “Voytek”) was the son of entrepreneur Jan Frykowski. He had two brothers, Jerzy Kajetan and Maciej. Wojciech graduated from the Textile Technicum in Lodz, Poland, and then the Textile Department at the Lodz University of Technology. In November 1958, Wojciech married model Ewa Maria Morelle, who in 1959 gave birth to their son Bartłomiej. Wojciech came to the United States in the hope of making a writing career.

Frykowski was a native of Poland and had lived in England, France, New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles. He met Abigail Folger in New York and accompanied her to San Francisco and then to Los Angeles. He had no means of support and lived off of Abigail Folgers fortune.

He was an extrovert and gave invitations to almost everyone he met to come visit him at his residence. Narcotic parties were the order of the day, and the parties continued on into the early morning hours.

According to Polanski’s 1984 autobiography, “Roman,” Polanski was working the door at a school dance and refused Wojciech entry due to his reputation as a troublemaker. The two almost came to blows but a few weeks later they met in a bar and Wojciech bought Roman a drink, talked, and became friends.

In New York, Polish author Jerzy Kosinski introduced Wojciech to Abigail Folger. Wojciech couldn’t really speak English but both he and Folger were fluent in French. Wojciech and Abigail moved from New York to Woodstock Road in Hollywood, where they rented a home owned by “Mama” Cass Elliot of the Mamas and the Papas.

Abigail Folger supported Frykowski, paying for the rent at the Woodstock address and supplying him with money for his drug habit which included marijuana, hashish, mescaline, MDA and cocaine. Folger also used these drugs.

Wojciech Frykowski & Abigail Folger

By mid-1969, Wojciech and Abigail moved in to Sharon Tate’s house at Cielo Drive to house-sit while Roman and Sharon went to Europe to work on different film projects. It was during this time that the tension between Wojciech and Abigail increased. Abigail told close friends that she was intent on leaving Wojciech.

Sharon returned from filming her final movie, The 13 Chairs. Roman asked Wojciech if he and Abigail would stick around until Roman came back from Europe. Wojciech and Abigail decided to stay with Sharon, who was in the eighth month of her pregnancy.

Death

Wojciech and Abigail joined Sharon and Jay Sebring for dinner at El Coyote, a Mexican restaurant. After diner the four returned to Cielo Drive. Wojciech fell asleep on the living room couch, Abigail retired to her bedroom to read a book, while Jay sat and talked with Sharon in her bedroom.

That same night Charles Manson told Tex Watson to take some of the girls and to go to “that house where Melcher used to live” and to “totally destroy everyone inside, as gruesome as you can” and Manson told Watson to “leave a sign, something witchy”. Tex Watson took Susan Atkins, Linda Kasabian, and Patricia Krenwinkel to Cielo Drive.

They found Wojciech sleeping on the living room couch. Watson kicked him in the head. When Wojciech asked him who he was and what he was doing there, Watson replied: “I’m the devil, and I’m here to do the devil’s business.”

During the killing spree Wojciech was shot twice, hit on the head with a gun multiple times and stabbed a total of 51 times.

Wojciech fought so hard for his life that his killers commented on how tough he was.

Wojciech Frykowski’s body was cremated on August 22, 1969 in Los Angeles, and the ashes were buried at the Old Cemetery at Ulica Ogrodowa in Lodz, Poland.

Leno and Rosemary LaBianca

In 1958, Leno LaBianca met Rosemary while she was working as a waitress. The two fell in love and were married in 1960 in Carmel, California. In 1968 Leno bought the home at 3301 Waverly Drive that he had grown up in from his mother and settled in with Rosemary and her son, Frank.

In the summer of 1969, a number of odd occurrences frightened the LaBiancas. The couple noticed when they returned from being away, items from their home were missing and their dogs were outside the house when they had been left inside. It was later learned that Manson and the Family had creepy-crawled several houses in the area while the residents were away.

Charles Manson’s Waverly Drive Backstory

1966. While incarcerated at Terminal Island Prison Charles Manson met flamboyant producer Phil Kaufman. After Kaufman’s release from prison he hooked up with Manson. Kaufman spent most of his time crashing at the house of his friend, Harold True. Manson regularly visited Kaufman there, Manson even stayed a week at Harold’s house. Harold lived at 3267 Waverly Drive. The next door neighbors at 3301 Waverly Drive were Leno and Rosemary LaBianca.

Arriving Home

On August 9, 1969, the LaBiancas, along with Rosemary’s daughter, Suzan, drove to Lake Isabella to pick up Rosemary’s son Frank, who was spending a week vacationing with a friend. Frank was having such a good time that the LaBiancas decided to let him stay another day. At around 9 p.m., Leno, Rosemary and Suzan left Lake Isabella and headed back to Los Angeles. Around 1 p.m., the LaBiancas arrived in Los Angeles. After dropping off Suzan at her apartment, they stopped at a newsstand. Leno, a regular customer, was recognized by the newsstand owner, who readied a copy of the Los Angeles Herald Examiner. They briefly discussed the Tate murders. Talk of the Tate murders disturbed Rosemary. After arriving home, Rosemary retired to her bedroom, while Leno fell asleep in the living room while reading the sports page.

Murder

In the early morning hours of August 10, 1969, Manson and Watson entered the LaBianca house. They awoke Leno LaBianca at gunpoint and tied his hands. Leno was then asked if there was anyone else in the house. He told them that his wife was in the bedroom. Manson went to the bedroom and awoke Rosemary. Manson and Watson reassured the couple that they wouldn’t be hurt, and were just being robbed. After collecting all the cash in the house, Manson ordered Watson to take Rosemary back to her bedroom where Watson placed a pillowcase over her head, wound a lamp cord around her head, and gagged her. He told her to stay quiet and remain in the room. Watson returned to the living room and Manson then left the house. Manson then send Leslie Van Houten and Patricia Krenwinkel to the residence.

Watson began stabbing Leno repeatedly, only stopping briefly when Leno started screaming. Rosemary, hearing her husband screams, began screaming and flailing around the room. Krenwinkel and Van Houten called Watson for help. Watson left the badly bleeding Leno in the living room, and entered the bedroom to find Rosemary swinging the lamp still attached to the cord used to gag her. Watson, Krenwinkel and Van Houten sthen stabbed Rosemary to death. Rosemary was stabbed 41 times.

Leno was still alive when Watson came back to the living room and the stabbing resumed. After Watson finished stabbing Leno, one of the family members carved the word “WAR” into Leno’s stomach. Krenwinkel then stabbed him a number of times and left a carving fork protruding from his stomach, and a steak knife from his throat. The girls then wrote messages in Leno’s blood. “Death to pigs” and “Rise” were written on the living room wall, and “Healter Skelter” (they mispronounced Helter Skelter) was written on the refrigerator door.

After the murders, the Family members remained at the house. Some ate food from the LaBianca’s refrigerator, played with the couple’s dogs and showered before hitchhiking back to Spahn Ranch.

Plot Twist

Suzan LaBerge, Rosemary LaBianca’s daughter, has been one of Watson’s closest friends behind bars after bonding over their shared beliefs as born-again Christians. She visits, writes and has even advocated for his release.

Coincidence (or not)

Before the murders Suzan LaBerge and Watson lived an estimated 200 feet apart in nearby apartments in Los Angeles for six months prior to Watson’s move into Spahn Ranch. Suzan’s then boyfriend was a member of the motorcycle gang Straight Satans that often visited Spahn Ranch. Manson Family member Danny DeCarlo also was a member of the Straight Satans.

More on Suzan LaBerge: Flirt with danger (New York Post)

Donald Shorty Shea

Name: Donald Jerome Shea
AKA: Shorty
Date of Birth: 09/18/1933
Date of Death: August 1969
Place of Birth: Massachusetts
Cause of Death: Multiple stab and chop wounds
Place of Burial: Angeles Abbey Memorial Park
Documents: Autopsy Report

Donald “Shorty” Shea moved to California to pursue a career in acting, but mostly worked as a horse wrangler at Spahn Ranch and as a bouncer at a topless bar. Although he occasionally obtained temporary employment elsewhere, he always returned to Spahn Ranch. “Shorty” actually stood about six feet 4 inches tall and weighed more than 200 pounds.

When Charles Manson and the Family first moved to Spahn’s Movie Ranch, Shea initially co-existed with them peacefully but, in time, Charles Manson began to look down on Shea because Shea married a black woman. Shea began to complain about Manson and the family to George Spahn. Eventually Shea planned to help George Spahn remove the Family from the Spahn Ranch when their brushes with the law grew out of control.

Shorty Shea (left) at Spahn Ranch

Murder

Somewhere between August 26 and 28, Charles Manson, Tex Watson, Steve Grogan, Bill Vance, Larry Bailey, and Bruce Davis asked Shea to come with them to get some auto parts. Shea was in the drivers seat, Grogan sat behind Shea, Watson sat next to Shea in the passenger seat and Davis sat behind Watson. Manson, Vance and Bailey followed them in another car. After Watson gave a sign, Grogan hit Shea over the head with a pipe wrench and Watson stabbed Shea several times. Shea managed to get out of the car. He then was surrounded by the gang and they brutally stabbed him to death. Grogan later said that Shea was so strong it took all of them to kill him.

According to Bruce Davis and Steve Grogan, both Bill Vance and Larry Bailey were participants in Shea’s murder. However Vance and Bailey were never prosecuted for Shea’s death.

Motive

Several motives are given for Shea’s murder. On August 16, 1969, the Sheriffs Department raided Spahn Ranch. They were looking for stolen cars not knowing they had the Tate/LaBianca killers in reach. Manson was convinced that Shea ratted on the Family and Manson blamed Shea for the raid.

Another suggested motive for Shea’s death was “bad blood” which existed between Shea and Manson. According to Windy Bucklee, Shea’s cousin , Manson never got over a beating he got from Shea. “The fact that Shea beat the shit out of Manson was the reason, I’m quite sure, that Shea always remained on Manson’s bad side,” Bucklee said. “I know he never forgot that.” And Manson reportedly resented the fact that Shea was married to a black woman.

Donald Shea with wife Magdalene Fuery

Barbara Hoyt testified that after Manson’s release from jail after the raid, he said that Shea was responsible for the sheriff’s raid and that Shea was trying to get the Manson family kicked off of the Spahn Ranch. Hoyt also testified that one night in August 1969 she heard screaming. She heard many loud screams coming from down by the creek. She recognized the screams as coming from Shea. Hoyt never saw Shea again after that night.

Shea’s Remains Discovered

Shea’s remains were discovered in December 1977 when Steve Grogan agreed to tell authorities the location of the body. Grogan was granted parole after the discovery of Shea’s remains in exchange for his cooperation.

Shea is buried in a community plot in Angeles Abbey Memorial Park in Los Angeles, California.

10050 Cielo Drive

In 1994, the house at 10050 Cielo Drive was demolished. But the memory of what happened there in the early morning hours of August 9, 1969, endures. Actress Sharon Tate (eight-and-a-half months pregnant), celebrity hairstylist Jay Sebring, coffee heiress Abigail Folger, aspiring screenwriter Wojciech Frykowski, and recent high school graduate Steven Parent were brutally murdered by members of the Manson Family.

History

The house was built in the late forties for French actress Michèle Morgan. The house was similar to the house which sat on its own plateau directly below 10050, 10048 Cielo Drive, which was called the Twin House. The properties were built at the same time.

By the end of World War II, Michèle Morgan had returned to France and in 1946 actress Lillian Gish moved in 10050 Cielo Drive with her mother while filming Duel in the Sun (1946).

Rudolph Altobelli, a talent manager, bought the house in the early 1960s and often rented the house out. Residents included celebrities like Cary Grant and Dyan Cannon, Henry Fonda, George Chakiris, Mark Lindsay and Paul Revere & the Raiders.

Candice Bergen and Terry Melcher

Charles Manson, Dennis Wilson and Terry Melcher

In the summer of 1966, Altobelli leased the Cielo Drive house to music producer Terry Melcher (the son of Doris Day) and actress Candice Bergen, whose time at the house would set the tragic events of August 9, 1969 into motion.

Beach Boy drummer Dennis Wilson had befriended Charles Manson. Dennis Wilson was so impressed by Manson’s charisma and musical talent that he introduced Manson to producer Terry Melcher and pressed Melcher to land Manson a record deal. Manson auditioned for Melcher but Melcher was not impressed and declined to sign Manson. After witnessing Manson getting in a fight with a drunk at Spahn Ranch both Wilson and Melcher ended their friendship with Manson.

Not long after ending his friendship with Manson, Melcher and Bergen moved out of Cielo Drive. On February 12, 1969, Roman Polanski and his pregnant wife Sharon Tate signed a lease for the house on 10050 Cielo Drive. They moved in three days later.

The Tate Murders

Contrary to popular belief, Terry Melcher and Candice Bergen were never the targets of the August 9 murder spree carried out by Manson’s followers. Manson knew very well that Melcher moved out of Cielo Drive.

On the night of August 8, 1969, Manson told Tex Watson to take some of the girls and to go to “that house where Melcher used to live” and to “totally destroy everyone inside, as gruesome as you can” and Manson told Watson to “leave a sign, something witchy”. Tex Watson took Susan Atkins, Linda Kasabian, and Patricia Krenwinkel to Cielo Drive.

When they arrived at the entrance of the Cielo Drive property, Watson climbed a telephone pole near the gate and cut the phone line to prevent telephone access from the house. At this point it was after midnight, August 9, 1969.

Telephone Pole Near The Gate

Just then, headlights approached. Watson ordered the women to lie in the bushes. He then stepped out and ordered the approaching driver to halt. Eighteen-year-old student Steven Parent had been visiting the property’s caretaker, William Garretson, who lived in the property’s guest house. Watson first lunged at Parent with a knife, giving him a defensive slash wound on the palm of his hand, then shot him four times in the chest and abdomen.

Steven Parents Car

The group then proceeded to the main house. Watson told Kasabian to keep watch down by the gate. Watson cut the screen of a window and entered through the window, and let Atkins and Krenwinkel in through the front door.

They found Frykowski sleeping on the living room couch. Watson kicked him in the head. When Frykowski asked him who he was and what he was doing there, Watson replied: “I’m the devil, and I’m here to do the devil’s business.”

Atkins and Krenwinkel searched the house and found Tate, Sebring and Folger and forced them to the living room. Watson began to tie Tate and Sebring together by their necks with rope and slung the rope up over one of the living room’s ceiling beams. Sebring’s protested to the rough treatment of the pregnant Tate. Watson then shot Sebring and stabbed him seven times.

Abigail Folgers Bedroom at Cielo Drive

Frykowski’s hands had been bound with a towel. Freeing himself, Frykowski began struggling with Atkins, who stabbed at his legs with the knife with which she had been guarding him. As he fought his way toward and out the front door, onto the porch, Watson caught up with Frykowski and struck him over the head with the gun multiple times, stabbed him repeatedly, and shot him twice.

Around this time, Kasabian was drawn up from the driveway by “horrifying sounds”. In an effort to stop the massacre, she falsely told Atkins that someone was coming.

Meanwhile, Folger had escaped from Krenwinkel and fled out a bedroom door to the pool area. Krenwinkel ran after Folger, caught her, stabbed her, and tackled her to the ground. Watson joined Krenwinkel and they stabbed Folger 28 times. In the meantime Frykowski struggled across the lawn. Watson went over to Frykowski and then stabbed him to death. Frykowski was stabbed a total of 51 times.

In the house, Tate pleaded to be allowed to live long enough to have her baby, and even offered herself as a hostage in an attempt to save the life of her unborn child. Susan Atkins told Tate as she begged, “Look, bitch, I don’t care about you. I don’t care if you are having a baby. You are going to die and I don’t feel a thing about it.” At this point either Atkins, Watson, or both killed Tate (testimonies vary). Tate was stabbed 16 times. Watson later wrote that as Tate was being killed, she cried for her mother.

Using the towel that had bound Frykowski’s hands, Atkins wrote “pig” on the house’s front door in Tate’s blood.

In a photo published in Life magazine days after the murders, Roman Polanski sits on the veranda, next to the front door that has been covered with his wife’s blood. According to the photographer, Julian Wasser, Polanski wanted the Polaroid shots to be given to a psychic to track down the then-unknown killers.

Nine Inch Nails “Le Pig” Studio at 10050 Cielo Drive

Nine Inch Nails – The last resident of Cielo Drive

The last resident of the original house was Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails. Reznor began renting the house in 1992 for a reported $11,000 a month, and set up a recording studio in the house. The studio, dubbed “Pig”, a reference to Susan Atkins writing “Pig” in Tate’s blood on the front door of the house, was the site of recording sessions for most of the Nine Inch Nails album The Downward Spiral. Reznor moved out of the house in December 1993, explaining “there was too much history in that house for me to handle.” Reznor took the front door of the house with him when he moved out and installed it at the New Orleans headquarters of his record label, Nothing Studios, which had been converted from a funeral home.

Demolition of 10050 Cielo Drive

Demolition

In 1994, the original house was demolished. A new house was build on the property called Villa Bella, with a new street address of 10066 Cielo Drive. The owner of the property as of 2013 is Hollywood producer Jeff Franklin.

Sharon Tate With Her Dog Prudence at the Cielo Drive Swimming Pool

Cielo Drive’s Survivors: The Dogs (and cats, a lot of cats)

There were several dogs present at the time of the murders in the Cielo Drive house, most notably Sharon’s Dog Prudence. Roman Polanski bought puppy Prudence for Sharon after Wojciech Frykowski accidentally ran over Sharon’s Yorkshire terrier Sappy on the driveway of Cielo Drive.

After the murders Prudence was adopted by Sharon Tate’s mother and sister. Unfortunately, 10 years after Sharon was murdered, Prudence was killed in a car accident. Debra Tate, Sharon’s sister, accidentally ran over Prudence in the driveway of her parents house.

Fun fact: There was a population of about 26 cats on the Cielo Drive property.

Sharon Tate having fun at Cielo Drive with her dog Prudence
Police Remove Dogs From Cielo Drive. The two puppies Were Found Hiding in a Closet

Debra Tate:
After the murders, police found the two puppies hiding in a closet. “They were scared to death, We took Prudence home and found a home for Tom. I wouldn’t leave him behind.”

The Dog on the right is Rudi Altobelli’s Weimaraner Christopher

Debra Tate:
“I’ve been told that people want to know what happened to Prudence. I accidentally ran over Prudence in my parent’s driveway and killed her. It was awful! I was leaving after a visit, backing out of the driveway and I didn’t realize that she’d run outside. I was twenty six when this happened so it was ten years after Sharon died. So now you know –Prudence is with Sharon.”

Sharon’s Mother Doris Tate Holds then senior Prudence

Sharon Tate with Prudence at Cielo Drive

Cielo Drive Images

Jay Sebrings Porsche and Abigail Folgers Firebird at Cielo Drive
Candice Bergen Talks About Living At Cielo Drive (Click To Enlarge)