Grief destroyed Sharon Tate’s parents

Sole Tate family survivor tells the story we seldom hear.

Sharon Tate’s mother and father never recovered from the brutal murder of their daughter, said Sharon’s younger sister Debra.

Debra was 16 years old when her 26-year-old sister was stabbed multiple times and strangled along with four others in Sharon’s L.A. home on August 8, 1969.

Sharon Tate’s parents destroyed by grief
Sharon Tate

“My mother would break down almost every day until the day she died,” Debra, now 69, said in an exclusive interview with The U.S. Sun.

“There would be triggers that would totally reduce her to the way she felt on the day she first heard the news, and it would take several months to get her back to being functional.”

Sharon Tate’s parents destroyed by grief
Doris Tate with daughters Debra and Sharon.


Sharon’s father, Paul, a decorated U.S. Army colonel, could never speak of his feelings about the unspeakably brutal way his daughter died. He had gone to the scene of the slaughter the following day. Blood was still splattered all over the floor and the walls. 

The impact of that experience was written across his face for the rest of his life, Debra said. “Going to the house did terrible things to my dad.”

Immediately after the crime, Paul Tate grew a beard and disguised himself as a hippie in an effort to find his daughter’s killers. When Manson was arrested two months later at a ranch in Death Valley, California, Paul Tate distanced himself from the horror and never spoke of it again. He died in 2005 at the age of 82.

Col. Paul Tate with Sharon, 1965.

Debra Tate has dedicated the last several decades to preventing the remaining members of the Manson cult from being paroled, through her website

Debra Tate

She is also an advocate for other families who have suffered similar trauma at the hands of murderers.


Debra’s mother began the cause to keep the killers in prison after years of clinical depression and when she read that a Manson family member was seeking parole.

Doris Tate died in 1992. Her youngest daughter Patti died in 2000 after a battle with cancer.

Now Debra, who also has cancer, attends the parole hearings alone.

“I’m going to keep fighting like hell to ensure these people remain behind bars.”

Back to the front page

6 thoughts on “Grief destroyed Sharon Tate’s parents

  1. On the Grim Anniversary of Sharon Tate’s Murder by Manson Cult, reminded by the Once Upon A Time in Hollywood novella movie fantasy, The reality of Criminality pop culture exalted in America is sickening. Profound writing Mich and delving into the recesses of dark Culture subconscious of publicity irony duality of perceived Good and stark evil.

  2. Well said. That Quentin Tarantino movie was interesting, though, in that he re-wrote history — the maniacs went to the wrong house and were themselves killed by the cowboy actor (DiCaprio) and his stuntman buddy (Pitt), and Sharon Tate and her friends were spared.

  3. That’s pretty sad. The whole family is gone and as time passes the last breath of that decade seems to become an urban legend. If I’m not mistaken, Paul Tate kept a diary, but I don’t know if that contained thoughts about losing his daughter. He cleaned the blood in that living room, the owner of the house threatened to sue the family for damages and he was still one of the few to see Sharon in the coffin and he went so far as to say he was looking for the signs of violence while looking at her so quietly there. As we all know, the unborn baby was buried in the mother’s arms. It’s too traumatic for a father to experience. Tarantino’s film is, in my opinion, overrated.

    And this picture here where the caption attests that it’s Doris with her daughters, it’s not her in the photo. It’s Sharon herself with her sisters Patti and Debra.

  4. Some things are to tragic for words or sh*tty Q.T. movies. Thank you for highlighting the horrific grief of her family. To imagine they had to clean their daughters blood off the floor she was murdered on.