Sharon Tate’s Sister on Margot Robbie: “I Actually Got to See My Sister Again”

The press junkets are over. The premiere has happened. And now the heavily anticipated 9th Quentin Tarantino movie is here. Aside from what critics have to say and fans have applauded, there is one person who has a particularly personal connection to Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. 

She is Debra Tate, the still-heartbroken younger sister of the late Sharon Tate, known largely for being brutally attacked and victimized by the Manson Family in August 1969. A woman who has done several interviews and even a few of speaking parts in documentaries about her sister, but when Tarantino envisioned Margot Robbie to portray her in film, many people waited to see what Debra had to say.

Fortunately, she loved the trailer, but that was only two minutes. What about the more than two-hour ride Tarantino will take many of us on?

In an interview with Vanity FairDebra shared about Margot’s performance in the film: “She actually touched me in a way that convinced me that she was Sharon. She did such a damn good job that, for me, personally, the visit was a little short. I had Sharon back in front of me again, and it was too short a visit.”

That is some praise. 

Make It Personal

sharon tate margot robbie
Courtesy: ‘Vanity Fair’ / Columbia Pictures / Everett Collection

Margot Robbie and Debra Tate formed a bond in the filming of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. Tate reveals to Vanity Fair she offered Robbie “a partially used bottle of perfume and some pieces of her jewelry.” Wanting to make Robbie’s depiction of her older sister as transparent and life-like as possible, she took the opportunity to reintroduce Sharon as a personal mission.

Although Sharon’s appearance in the film is reportedly limited, Debra understands Tarantino’s vision was not “The Sharon Tate Story,” but a film focused on Leonardo DiCaprio’s Rick Dalton and Brad Pitt’s Cliff Booth.

“I mean, I really wish that Quentin Tarantino would do the Sharon Tate story, and I would love to see Margot play [that]…But that was not the movie that Quentin had written, and I knew it and I understood it.”

Apparently, Robbie’s illustration of Sharon Tate came across to Debra in ways she wasn’t prepared to experience.

“She made me cry because she sounded just like Sharon,” she said. “The tone in her voice was completely Sharon, and it just touched me so much that big tears [started falling]. The front of my shirt was wet. I actually got to see my sister again… nearly 50 years later.”

The Vanity Fair article is a good read for those looking for a historical perspective from a familial connection, but most importantly, for fans of the great Tarantino–or even those who are history nuts about anything connected to Charlie Manson–Robbie as Sharon Tate should give us all the feels.

Just like it did for Debra.

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