Friday, January 25, 2013

Robert Evans writes about Sharon Tate's murder

I am currently reading Robert Evans autobiography entitled "The Kid Stays In The Picture." He writes about being close friends with Roman Polanski, and explains, in detail how he found out about the murders on Cielo Drive. Here is an excerpt:

"Bob," said Sharon Tate, "the baby is kicking!"
"How does it feel?"
"It's the best feeling in the world."
"I'll tell Roman."
"While you're at it, tell him he'd better be home for his birthday. Remember, it's the eighteenth."
"He'll be here, baby."

Just about the only really happily married couple I knew in Hollywood were Roman Polanski, and Sharon Tate. Coming from a childhood horror in Nazi-occupied Poland, Roman couldn't believe he was the husband of this milk-fed American beauty. Sharon's movie career was just beginning to heat up after Valley of the Dolls. In Roman's eyes she was already the brightest star in the world. Around his gentle, sun-kissed bride he was like a child who's just seen his first Christmas tree light up.
(Robert Evans talks about traveling back to L.A. from London)

Before I took off for L.A., Roman said, "Look after Sharon for me, will you Bob?" "Tell her I love her." "I'll be home in a few days."

Now Sharon was on the phone from the house they were renting on Cielo Drive, up in Benedict Canyon. She loved feeling the baby kick, but she felt cooped up. How about joining her, and a few friends on Friday night? It would just be her house guests, Gibby Folger, of the San Francisco coffee family, and Gibby's boyfriend, Wojiciech "Voytek" Frykowski, a Polish rogue, and great friend of Roman's. Dinner at a nothing place like El Coyote on Beverly.

"Sounds great, baby. I'm working in the editing room. I might be a little late." At nine o'clock on Friday, August 8, 1969, I was still in the editing room. I called Sharon. "I'm stuck, baby. Count me out. Sorry."

"Don't be silly, Bob. I can always get Jay." Jay was the star hairdresser Jay Sebring, an ex-boyfriend who was still devoted to her. "Sweet dreams." "You too."

(He then goes on about having a meeting the next morning at his house with the head of Paramount Studios, Charlie Bluhdorn.)

When we returned to my house on Woodland Drive, David, my major domo, was standing at the door. Joyce Haber, the L.A. Times columnist, was on the phone. Bluhdorn frowned.
"I thought I said no calls this morning, David."

"She said it's urgent, Mr. Evans. She sounds terrible."

I took the call in my bedroom. When she heard my voice, Joyce started wailing. "You aren't dead!"

"You aren't dead!" "Joyce, what are you talking about? Of course I'm not dead!"

"You didn't hear?" "Hear what?" "It's on the radio. Last night at Sharon and Roman's house on Cielo.

They're all dead....."

"What are you talking about?"

"They're all dead."

"Joyce, what is this?"

"Sharon, Jay Sebring, Gibby Folger, that Polish Voytek what's-his-name...."

"I know. I was supposed to be there."

"They've all been killed!"

My body went numb. "A landslide?" "No, they were murdered-some kind of massacre."

"Joyce, are you making this up? From the sound of her voice, I knew she wasn't. "What about the baby?"

She couldn't go on. Charlie Bluhdorn had been pacing my living room impatiently, "Come on, Evans," he said when I walked in. "Let's go outside and get started." "I can't, I can't, Charlie." I started to cry.

He came over, and put his arm around me. "What is it, Bob?" "What happened?"

I told him what happened, and we went out to sit under the tree. When Roman arrived from London, I arranged for him to be driven to Paramount, and installed in the suite that had recently been Julie Andrew's dressing room for Darling Lili. There, he hibernated for a few days, heavily sedated by a Paramount doctor. Not wanting to leave him alone at Paramount, Roman moved into my guest house. Sounds simple; it wasn't. Every crackpot in the state wanted to get a jab in. It necessitated having around-the-clock guards for the duration of his stay. The LAPD put their own tap on my phone, which became an integral instrument in their investigation. How I remember cradling Roman as if he were a child. I loved him. I felt his pain Even though criticized, I went the extra nine yards, doing whatever I could, whatever to ease his suffering. Though I could do little, at least I was there.

The horrific murders of Sharon, and her friends by the insane followers of Charles Manson sent a shock wave through Hollywood that is still felt today. What made them even uglier was the media orgy of lies, all of which came down to one outrageous innuendo: because of their "decadence," the victims had somehow brought it on themselves. Typical was a Newsweek story calling the massacre not a tragedy, but a "fascinating whodunit" and reporting, among other ridiculous speculations, that the murders might have "resulted from a ritual mock execution that got out of hand in the glare of hallucinogens." The press even implicated Roman. It didn't matter that he was six thousand miles away when the tragedy occurred. Somehow the "master of the macabre" had to have been involved.

Roman's good friends-Warren Beatty, Richard Sylbert, I and a few others-took turns keeping him company. Roman threw himself into helping the police investigation, and with incredible strength he got through it. Many of the biggest names in Hollywood turned out for Sharon's funeral. Later, Roman wrote that "it was like some ghastly movie premiere."

Leaving Holy Cross Cemetery, he said something that would come back to haunt me: "The only one of Sharon's good friends who didn't come, Bob, is Steve McQueen. Sharon loved that cold son of a bitch."