Sharon Tate Family’s Account: Restless Souls New York Post Article With Alisa Statman

  1. New York Post: Article on Restless Souls


    Restless Souls

    The Sharon Tate Family’s Account of Stardom, the Manson Murders, and a Crusade for Justice

    by Alisa Statman and Brie Tate

    It Books

    They were among the most shocking murders of the 20th century.

    In 1969, seven members of the Manson “family” brutally murdered seven people in a two-day killing spree, among them one of the most famous actresses of her day, Sharon Tate.

    They scrawled “Rise” and “Death to the Pigs” on the walls with the victims’ blood. Tate reportedly begged for the life of her unborn child as the group of murderers heartlessly stabbed her to death. The media went wild with the story, especially when ringleader Charles Manson carved out a swastika on his forehead during the trial.

    Suzan LaBerge, daughter of a Manson family victim Rosemary LaBianca, now corresponds with her killer, Tex Watson.

    Suzan LaBerge, daughter of a Manson family victim Rosemary LaBianca, now corresponds with her killer, Tex Watson.

    Yet the shocking postscript of the story has gone largely unreported.

    According to a new book written by a surviving members of the Tate family, Charles “Tex” Watson, one of the main perpetrators of the Manson family crimes, has bizarrely befriended the daughter of one of his victims, Rosemary LaBianca, whom he helped stab a total of 41 times.

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

    More than 30 years after the murder, Sharon’s mother, Doris, father, P.J., and sister, Patti, have all died of natural causes — leaving Patti’s daughter, Brie, and partner, Alisa Statman, to put together the pieces of the complicated story.

    On August 1969, four members of the cult were directed by Charles Manson to kill everyone at the home of “Valley of the Dolls” actress Tate and director Roman Polanski (who was away filming during the murder).

    Three guests and the 8-months-pregnant actress were brutally murdered.

    The next night, the Manson family entered the home of supermarket mogul Leno LaBianca (LaBerge’s stepfather) and his wife, Rosemary. Watson stabbed Leno through the throat and carved “War” in his stomach.

    After LaBerge, then 21, arrived on the scene with her brother, she reportedly suffered a nervous breakdown.

    Watson’s death sentence was reduced to life in prison after the death penalty was repealed in California. He was allowed conjugal visits, married and fathered four children (until conjugal visits were banned in 1996 for those serving life).

    But none of this stopped LaBerge from writing to Watson, after she discovered that he had, like she had, “found God.” She reached out to Watson through his mail-order ministry, called Abounding Love Ministries.

    She wrote to Watson for a year anonymously, until 1987, when she visited the killer — and told him that she was Rosemary LaBianca’s daughter. They continued speaking for three more hours, and she followed up with several more visits and regular correspondence.

    Patti Tate had no inkling of this when, in 1990, she met LaBerge at her daughter’s middle school, where LaBerge had coincidentally (or not) sent her own daughter.

    They began to chat and Patti revealed the name of her sister, Sharon.

    Suzan’s eyes grew wide; “You’re never going to guess who I am. Rosemary LaBianca is my mother!” LaBerge said.

    Patti was taken by the coincidence and felt comfortable with another victim. So she let her daughter stay the day at LaBerge’s house, which was just two miles from her own.

    Meanwhile, Suzan shared the news with Watson’s wife, who relayed the message to him in prison. He thought this was the key to getting his parole date set.

    “Suzan LaBerge, née LaBianca, is my ace in the hole,” Watson boasted to another inmate. “The Tate kid is playing in Suzan’s yard as we speak.”

    Patti learned about the connection only a few hours later — and ran to LaBerge’s house to collect her daughter.

    “It was just horrifying. Possibly the most horrifying experience of her life,” Statman told The Post.

    Later that year, LaBerge did testify on Watson’s behalf, but the Tate family was also there to speak out against parole.

    LaBerge went on about Watson’s “loving side” as Doris, Sharon’s mother, looked on in disgust. LaBerge proved not to be an ace — his parole was denied (and continued to be a total of 14 times).

    “Watson watched like a proud parent at LaBerge as she read her pages,” Doris wrote in her journal at the time. “I couldn’t put my finger on it, but there was more going on than mere forgiveness.”

    And according to Statman, “no one believes” the story of the prison meeting, especially when they likely knew each other long before. That maybe the “random” targeting of the LaBianca house wasn’t so random.

    Suzan and Tex lived an estimated 200 feet apart in nearby apartments in Los Angeles for six months prior to Watson’s move into Manson’s home base, Spahn Ranch. Suzan’s then-boyfriend was a member of the motorcycle gang Straight Satans that often frequented Spahn Ranch.

    “There’s lot of speculation that they knew each other. And take that where you will — you can only imagine what that might mean,” Statman said.

Sharon Tate Family’s Restless Souls, USA Today Article with Alisa Statman & Brie Tate

In 1969, the world was horrified by the murder of 26-year-old actress Sharon Tate, the pregnant wife of film director Roman Polanski, and four others at her home in Los Angeles’ Benedict Canyon. Charles Manson and a handful of his followers were tried and convicted. A new book, Restless Souls: The Sharon Tate Family’s Account of Stardom, the Manson Murders, and a Crusade for Justice (It Books, 380 pp., $26.99), examines the murders and their aftermath. USA TODAY spoke with the authors, California residents Alisa Statman, 48, who was the domestic partner of Sharon’s late sister Patti, and Brie Tate, 28, Patti’s daughter and Sharon’s niece.

Statman: This story has been around for 43 years, and it continues to fascinate people. But this was this family’s tragedy. Following Sharon’s murder, the Tate family was a positive force, from P.J.’s help in the apprehension of the Manson clan to all the work Doris and Patti put into making sure that Sharon’s killers were never paroled, as well as their being a voice for all crime victims.

Sharon Tate
Toby Tucker and Alisa StatmanAlisa Statman and Brie Tate, co-authors of Restless Souls, speak about the book.

Q: What should people know about Sharon’s mother’s advocacy for victims’ rights?

Statman: Because Sharon’s case was so famous, Doris felt obligated to raise her voice for all crime victims. That was part of her healing process. She was an integral part of getting the victims’ rights bill passed in California and crime victims being able to make impact statements at parole hearings. (Doris was named one of a Thousands Points of Light by President George H.W. Bush in 1992.)

Q: Were you also concerned about setting the record straight about Sharon?

Tate: The one thing that really burned my Nana (grandmother Doris Tate) out of all those rumors was the fact that they said Sharon was taking drugs the night of the murder, because it said something about her character. These stories continued for a long time, even after the coroner had done the autopsy and saw there were no traces of drugs, not even nicotine.

Q: Brie, your mom, Patti, was just a child when Sharon was murdered. When did you understand the tragedy that was part of your family’s history?

Tate: When I was 10, I found the crime scene pictures in my mom’s dresser drawer. I started to understand a little bit why Nana did what she did (attending parole hearings for Manson’s followers and fighting for victims’ rights) and why Mom took Nana’s place when she died. Seeing Sharon in those pictures — it really stuck with me and still is in my head. I still don’t look at those pictures. I saw them once and I don’t want to see them again.

Q: How do you picture Sharon based on what your grandparents and mother told you?

Tate: The way I picture her in my mind is very similar to how I picture my mom: incredibly sweet, very soft-spoken, almost naive, trusting. Just beautiful inside and out.

Q: Are you still worried about Manson’s influence? (Now 77, he’s serving life in prison.)

Statman: Back in 1969, Manson had maybe a hundred followers. Now, thanks to a cellphone and a Twitter account, he has close to 6,000 followers. He has an ability to read people, so when kids follow him, just out of curiosity, or because they think he’s a legend or has been unjustly accused, he is able to pull them in by relating to them on their own level.

Q: For decades, the Tates received threatening letters from Manson’s followers. Are you concerned that this book will spur more threats?

Statman: Anything’s possible, and I certainly would not discount it, but it’s more important for me to publish this book and to get the story out than it is to worry about whether there will be any negative ramifications from it.

Q: Brie, you were pregnant with your now-3-year-old daughter when you were working on this book. Did it make you think more about the fact Sharon was eight months pregnant when she was murdered?

Tate: I thought about it every day. More so toward the end when I could feel her moving inside me and kicking me and knowing that these were the same exact feelings that Sharon was feeling in the days before she was killed. It’s heart-wrenching thinking that was taken away from her.

Q: There are lots of family photos in the book but none from the crime scene or of Manson and his followers. Why?

Tate: We didn’t really want to focus on the killers. It’s a family memoir. We wanted to talk about the family and how what happened affected the family. And I don’t want to glorify him any more than he already has been. I want to put a face to the victims — put a face and a voice to the people he silenced.

Q: What do you want people to get out of reading the book?

Tate: I hope people gain some insight into Sharon and who she was as a person and not just Sharon Tate the murder victim. I think people are remembered just for what happened to them when they died. People forget that they actually had lives and families that loved them and cared about them and now miss them.


Sharon Tate Family’s Account: Restless Souls, Alisa Statman & Brie Tate CNN Article: The enduring fascination of the Sharon Tate murder

Actress Sharon Tate, shown here in a studio portrait taken in 1965, is still the subject of pop culture curiosity.

(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.

“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.”

Sharon Tate Family’s Account, Restless Souls on CBS This Morning

In 1969, Sharon Tate, a beautiful young actress married to Roman Polanski, was about to give birth to their first child. Then she and four other people were murdered in her home by followers of Charles Manson.

Now, for the first time, the Tate family has opened its extensive collection of letters, recordings and unpublished memoirs about the case. They’re in a new book, “Restless Souls: The Sharon Tate Family’s Account of Stardom, the Manson Murders, and a Crusade for Justice.”

On “CBS This Morning,” the authors, Brie Tate, Sharon Tate’s niece, and longtime family friend Alisa Statman, shared one of those recordings of a Sharon Tate audio journal to her father, Paul Tate. She’s talking about her husband, Roman Polanski, and the book “Rosemary’s Baby,” upon which Polanski’s now-famous film is based.

“Roman will be here in two weeks,” Sharon Tate says in the recording. “He’s doing a film out of a book called ‘Rosemary’s Baby,’ which you should read. It’s a fantastic book. Oh, yeah. By the way Roman’s just like you. He smokes cigars. He’s very sensitive and stubborn. He’s very — he makes decisions and nothing changes them.”

The book and its new details about the case were an effort to keep those convicted in the murders behind bars and were a way to honor the Tate family, Brie Tate said.

“My mom tried to write an autobiography and my grandmother tried and my papa tried and nothing was ever published, so this is kind of my way of honoring them and finishing what they started,” Brie Tate said.

The book also strives to clear the air over the hurtful headlines published at the time that claimed the house was filled with drugs and the site of orgies, Statman said. “The headline that always sticks with me is ‘Live Freaky, Die Freaky,” as if somehow they had brought these murders on themselves. That was a horrible, horrible thing for this family to see every day — that their daughter, by her actions, you know, none of them were (about) the drugs and the sex and the orgies and the black magic, none of them were true, and that people, in a way, were blaming her for these murders, and it was crazy. It was horrible.”