The Official Sharon Tate Fansite


MEDIA RELEASE
Debra Tate - Official Statement - Regarding Alisa Statman's Book:
Restless Souls: The Sharon Tate Family's Account of Stardom,
the Manson Murders, and a Crusade for Justice

It Books/HarperCollins Published February 21, 2012

1st Statement Released March 6, 2012

Additional Statement from Debra Tate on Restless Souls: The Sharon Tate Family's Account of Stardom, the Manson Murders, and a Crusade for Justice

A Statement released by me on March 6, 2012 concerning the new book Restless Souls: The Sharon Tate Family's Account of Stardom, the Manson Murders, and a Crusade for Justice by Alisa Statman with Brie Tate, published in February 2012 by IT Books for HarperCollins Publishers, has resulted in requests for further information.  This will be my final statement on the subject.

 

Background

This book publishes accounts of our family story attributed to my mom Doris Gwen Tate, my dad Paul James Tate, and to my sister Patti Tate, all now deceased.  The book states: “The truth is, this book has been brewing within the Tate family since 1971, when Sharon Tate’s father P.J. attempted to write his autobiography.  In addition to his efforts, Sharon’s mother Doris also had numerous irons in the publishing fire.  Sadly, though, neither memoir was ever published, as each passed away before their books were completed.”(Page xiii)  An Introductory Note opposite the copyright page includes this assurance to readers: “In no instance have we altered or changed the stories entrusted to us and shared here with you.”  Contradictorily, though, in her introduction, Ms. Statman writes that she was “left to fill in the gaps” in the story and in the published accounts with her “own personal interpretation.”(Page xiv)  If facts in the book are wrong, as will be shown, readers might question precisely how much Ms. Statman’s “personal interpretation” may have intruded into this work and if liberties may have been taken.

Readers may find it helpful to know something of the background to the three autobiographical efforts by my mom, my dad, and my sister Patti.  All three manuscripts were composed in collaboration with others, none mentioned or credited in this book.  My mom first wrote her memoirs in the late 1970s and did not complete them.  Prior to 1990, she worked on her manuscript with writer Gary Kreisberg on a manuscript entitled, “The Legacy of Sharon Tate.”  This collaboration did not result in a completed work.  After this, she was in talks with author Greg King to collaborate on a book until illness forced her to abandon the project.  Beginning in 1970 and ending in 1974, my dad worked with Lieutenant Robert Helder of the LAPD and his wife Anne on a joint manuscript called “Five Down at Cielo Drive.”  Contrary to Page xiii of “Restless Souls,” this manuscript, incorporating my dad’s memoirs of my sister Sharon’s life and murder, was completed.  In the Introduction to this book, Ms. Statman intimates that it was she was the one who began working with my sister Patti on her memoirs.(Page xiii)  In fact, my sister Patti began work on her manuscript with Robin Olson, her closest friend since 1987.  The book was to be called “For Love and Justice.”  This work continued over many months in 1994 but did not result in a completed manuscript.

Work is currently underway to compare the published text with family material in my possession and in the possession of others.  Thus far, comparisons have been done on my dad Paul Tate’s unpublished manuscript and on my sister Patti’s manuscript and notes made in 1994 with her friend Robin Olson.  Even this brief review has exposed serious and significant errors, questionable assertions, undocumented statements, and raised troubling questions that readers may find useful in assessing the accuracy and integrity of this book.

 

Accounts by Paul James Tate

In my possession is my dad’s own copy of his unpublished manuscript, “Five Down at Cielo Drive,” written with Lieutenant Robert Helder.  My copy is in a folder labeled in my dad’s own hand, and was the one he brought with him when he moved out of our family house in Palos Verdes.  Again, contrary to Page xiii of the book, this manuscript was completed.  A sentence on Page 261 indicates the date of completion as 1974.  My dad did not work on this manuscript after this date, as it was finished.

In 1994 Robin Olson made extensive notes and tape-recorded conversations with my sister Patti for the latter’s intended book; these materials, which include comments by my dad, remain in Ms. Olson’s possession.  On the tapes, the status of my dad’s manuscript is discussed, including the impossibility of reproducing it verbatim owing to copyright issues.  Patti and Ms. Olson consulted my dad over what portions of his manuscript could and could not be used in my sister’s proposed book.  At the same time, Patti and Ms. Olson compiled an extensive list of questions for my dad, which covered topics and information that did not appear in his manuscript.  From notes in Ms. Olson’s possession, these included, “Memories of your kids’ childhoods,” and questions concerning events after Sharon’s death, including, “How much of the trial did you attend?  Were you the first to testify?  Do you remember what you said?”  The questions were asked because this material was missing from my dad’s completed manuscript, something readers should keep in mind when comparing the accounts reproduced in the new book attributed to my dad.

Pages 8-15 of Restless Souls purport to be an excerpt from my dad’s unpublished memoirs of his visit to Sharon’s house after the murders. Reproduced below is what actually appears under my dad’s name in his unpublished manuscript, Pages 16-18:

“Mr. Tate, I’m sorry but the bodies have already been removed.” The Lieutenant’s words kept echoing in the far recesses of my mind.  I knew he must be lying.  I had been in San Francisco, finishing my tour of duty when I heard the news.  Within minutes I was on a plane to Los Angeles.  In a daze, I rented a car at the airport and drove directly to my daughter and son-in-law’s house.  I kept saying to myself, “This is just a movie.  Sharon’s doing a new film.  Just a movie.”  Throngs of reporters clogged the area.  Police car lights flashed.  I was numb.  Somehow I pushed my way through the mass of humanity and through the front gates.  I walked toward the house.  Suddenly my reverie was broken by a man’s voice.  “Mr. Tate, I’m Lieutenant Robert Helder.”(Page 16)  Mr. Tate.  I had a sinking feeling in my stomach the moment he said, “Mr. Tate.”  How long had it been since anyone called me “Mr.,” not “Colonel” or “Sir?”  I couldn’t remember.  He kept talking: “We have everything in hand now, Mr. Tate.  There’s no need for you to wait around.”  The voice trailed off.  I could see his lips move but the sound no longer carried to my ears.  I stared at the house while he spoke.  Some of the police officers moved away from their positions at the front door.  That’s when I saw it.  “PIG,” scrawled in blood.  All I could think of was, “Not my baby’s blood.  Not Sharon’s.”  I tried to calm myself.  I knew this would be the most difficult assignment I had ever undertaken.  I could imagine the Briefing Officer apprising me of my mission.  “Colonel, your role in this operation will be that of The Father.  Of necessity, you’ll handle this a little differently than usual.  Play it with dignity.  No threats, no speeches.  That’s the way we want it done, understand?  The only thing you may find particularly onerous is going home and explaining all this to your wife and daughters.”  Helder said something and it shocked me back to reality like a spray of cold water.  We spoke awhile, then I started towards my car.  I was already sifting the clues, the rumors I had heard on the radio and television broadcasts.  I was desperately trying to put things into perspective, to become the professional I was trained to be.  As I walked away, I heard someone say that the killer had cut the baby out of Sharon’s stomach.  This proved to be false, like so many other stories, but you can imagine what it did to me at the time.(Page 17)  I was retiring from US Army G-2 Intelligence in less than fourteen days and from that moment I knew I would never stop looking until the killer or killers were found.”(Page 18)

 

The above represents everything in my dad’s manuscript related to his visit to Cielo Drive.  Comparison of pages 8-15 of the published book to the above reveals that a mere 57 words from my dad’s original manuscript appear in the book.  My dad’s manuscript contains no extended conversations with Lieutenant Helder and no tour of Sharon’s house.  Nor do the sections written by Lieutenant Helder on Page 16 and again on Pages 18-19 of this same event contain any such extended conversations between him and my dad.

Page 19 of the book publishes an alleged account by my dad of his viewing of Sharon’s body at the funeral home.  This does NOT appear in my dad’s manuscript.

Page 37 of the book publishes another alleged extract from my dad’s memoirs.  This does NOT appear in his unpublished manuscript.

Pages 64-69 of the book publish another purported extract from my dad’s memoirs.  This does NOT appear in his unpublished manuscript.

Page 73 of the book begins a long narrative attributed to my dad’s memoirs running to page 98.  Only a minor portion, appearing on page 73 of the book, overlaps with the content in my dad’s unpublished manuscript.

Pages 80-81 of the book publish sections attributed to my dad’s memoirs.  This does NOT appear in his unpublished manuscript.

Pages 81-83 of the book publish an encounter between by my dad and Jim and Wende Mitchum attributed to my dad’s memoirs.  This does NOT appear in his unpublished manuscript.  In fact, Lieutenant Helder, on Page 60 of the unpublished manuscript, writes, “With Tate’s help, we interviewed Jim Mitchum and his wife Wende.”

Pages 84-85 of the book publish an alleged encounter between my dad and Steve McQueen.  This does NOT appear in my dad’s unpublished manuscript.  In fact, on Page 61, Lieutenant Helder writes that HE interviewed McQueen.

Pages 85-86 of the book publish an alleged encounter between my dad and Warren Beatty.  This does NOT appear in my dad’s unpublished manuscript.

Pages 87-90 of the book publish an alleged encounter between my dad and suspect Billy Doyle in Toronto.  This does NOT appear in my dad’s unpublished memoirs.  In fact, Lieutenant Helder, on Pages 63-66, writes at great length about how he dispatched Lieutenant Earl Deemer to Toronto on August 28, 1969, to interrogate him.  It was Deemer who met and interrogated Doyle, not my dad.

Pages 90-92 of the book publish an alleged encounter between my dad and Mama Cass Elliot.  This does NOT appear in my dad’s unpublished manuscript.  In fact, Lieutenant Helder, on Pages 56-58, writes of how she was approached and interviewed first by Sergeants McGann and Buckles and, on the next day, by Helder and McGann.

Pages 92-98 of the book publish an excerpt attributed to my dad’s memoirs of his alleged surveillance on Cielo Drive and other incidents.  This does NOT appear in my dad’s unpublished memoirs.

Pages 114-117 of the book publish a purported extract from my dad’s memoirs on meeting Charles Manson.  This does NOT appear in my dad’s unpublished manuscript.  The encounter is described in the unpublished manuscript NOT by my dad but by Lieutenant Helder.  On Page 262, Helder wrote: “Paul called later to ask me if he could be present when Manson was returned from the jail in Independence.  I asked why and he said he just wanted to get one close look at the little son of a bitch.  He promised me he wouldn’t cause any trouble, so I agreed.  We were waiting in the basement of the police building when Sgts. Chick Guiterrez and Phil Sartuche walked in with the little hippie.  I watched Paul closely for despite his promise I really wasn’t sure what he would do.  There wasn’t a bit of emotion showing in his face when Manson walked by with his head down and his eyes glued to the floor.  Paul’s fists were clenched and the tendons stood out in his neck but he didn’t move when the trio entered the elevator for the ride to the felony jail on the second floor.  Paul just looked at me and said, “Thanks, Bob” and walked away.”

Pages 112-115 of the book publish a purported excerpt of my dad’s memoirs dealing with his reaction to the Grand Jury Testimony of Susan Atkins.   This does NOT appear in my dad’s unpublished manuscript.

Pages 120-139 of the book purport to publish my dad’s memoirs of the Manson trial.  This does NOT appear in my dad’s unpublished manuscript.

Pages 193-198 of the book purports to publish my dad’s memoirs about a parole hearing in the 1980s for Manson murderer Charles “Tex” Watson.  This does NOT appear in his unpublished manuscript.

My dad loathed this subject and was uninterested in continuing to regurgitate it over and over.  Had he worked on his memoirs in the 1980s I would have known of this as I was around my parents quite a bit.  Unfortunately, and as many witnesses can attest, my dad was not in a physical, mental, or emotional state from the late 1970s until his death that would have allowed him to work on his memoirs.  As the notes and taped materials in Ms. Olson’s possession demonstrate, in 1994 she and my sister Patti attempted to question my dad and fill in the gaps in his unpublished manuscript to no avail.  Readers may wonder how likely it is that my dad left some previously unknown, and vastly more expansive, set of memoirs than those included in the unpublished manuscript, “Five Down at Cielo Drive.”  In short, my dad’s personal copy of his unpublished memoirs in my possession contradicts at great length the excerpts attributed to him in this book.



Accounts by Patti Tate

As noted, my sister Patti began work on her memoirs, titled, “For Love and Justice,” in 1994 with Robin Olson.  As notes in Ms. Olson’s possession show, she originally proposed that my sister’s book “go back and forth” between the perspectives of our family, the same format followed in this book.  Correspondence between Patti and Roman Polanski as well as materials in Ms. Olson’s possession, indicate my sister’s intention to include my far more extensive memories of Sharon in any literary representation of our family’s story.  Patti wrote to Roman on January 10, 1994: “There is going to be a chapter for each of us (mom, me, my dad, and Debbie), our recollections of her before her murder and how we felt and what we did after it happened.”  Ms. Olson has notes and tape-recorded conversations with Patti as they worked on the proposed book and were given the contact information of a literary agent at William Morris Agency in New York.

As materials in Robin Olson’s possession confirm and I can attest, Patti had few substantial memories of Sharon.  She had great difficult constructing any meaningful narrative and could only recall isolated incidents of our sister Sharon’s life that do not resemble the lengthy saga in these pages. Many incidents are completely out of character for my sister Patti, who was a gracious, gentle, and loving person and never spoke to our parents in the ways depicted.

Comparison of Patti’s memories in the notes and tape-recorded conversations of Ms. Olson with the published accounts in the book appearing under my sister’s name reveals serious discrepancies.  The memory ascribed to Patti of our sister Sharon’s funeral on pages 40-48 contradicts the mere 825-word account of the same event that Patti struggled to reconstruct with Robin Olson over many months in 1994 and that represented her entire memory of the event.  Even so, this was largely drawn from a document my mom wrote called, “The Day of the Funeral,” as Patti could remember very little.  For comparison, below is Patti’s account of Sharon’s funeral written in 1994 with Ms. Olson:

“The Limousine picked us up at 9:30 in the morning.  The drive on the San Diego freeway was interminable.  We were in a state of unreality.  Victor Lownes, a friend of Roman and Sharon’s, had made all the arrangements, so we didn’t even know where we were heading.  No one spoke.  Dad looked out of the window the whole trip.  None of us could bear the fact of where we were going.  Mom, Debbie and I cried the whole way there.  Finally we stopped.  I looked out of the window and saw very large wrought iron gates, with the words written, “Holy Cross Cemetery.”  My mother was pleased that they chose a Catholic resting place for Sharon, as she was a very devout Catholic.  We turned and entered through the gates, and slowly drove up the driveway toward the chapel.  There were flowers lining the entrance and many people standing on the sidewalk.  They were waiting for the family to arrive before entering the chapel.  Our limousine pulled in front of another one that had been waiting there.  My mom stepped out on to the sidewalk first.  As she did this, the door to the other limo opened.  Out stepped Roman Polanski, wearing dark sunglasses.  He and my mom locked eyes, walked toward each other, but said not a word.  I’m sure they both meant to comfort one another, but there were no words needed to convey the grief they both were sharing.  Their hearts were totally broken, so no words were really needed.  A mother, a first time grandmother.  A husband, a first time father.  Twin dreams shattered.  Who would do this to us?  To anybody?  And Why?  We were not to know who committed this senseless tragedy for four more months.  They turned and walked into the chapel together.  The moment could not have been any more solemn.  Roman seemed so alone, yet we knew he was surrounded by all of his friends.  People had come in from all over the world to show their support.  We followed behind them, and the crowd followed behind us.  There were about 170 people in attendance, including some of Sharon’s and Roman’s more well known friends.  Warren Beatty, Alex and Joanna Cord, Kirk Douglas, Lee Marvin, Steve McQueen, James Coburn, Peter Sellers, “Papa” John Phillips and his wife Michelle, Yul Brynner.  We walked through the double doors, into the entry hall.  About 50 feet in the front and center stood the casket.  “Could that box possibly be all that remains of my beautiful sister?”  We slowly walked up the aisle and took our seats up front, very close to the casket.  We sat down and the Priest began his sermon.  I cannot tell you what he said.  Words, words, beautiful words, that is all I can remember.  We all sat in stunned silence, each to his or her own thoughts.  Moments of sanity and moments of disbelief.  I believe the Lord, in his infinite mercy gave us this defense mechanism to keep us from going off the deep end.  The grief was overwhelming.  The sermon was over.  It was time for the family to receive a rose from the casket spray.  We each walked up to the casket to say our last farewell.  Mom, Roman, Dad, Debbie and I.  When it was my turn, I received a rose, and kissed the casket.  “Good-bye, Sharon, I’ll love you always,” I whispered to her in my thoughts, “good-bye, baby Paul.  I love you, too.  You will always be our baby.”  Good-bye.  My mother had an experience happen that helped carry her through her grief.  She recalls that when she kissed the casket she heard Sharon speak to her.  “Mother, that is not me.”  She stated that there is no doubt in her mind that Sharon spoke to her.  In those few words, Sharon told Mom that she had risen from the dead, that the body is just a house for the soul, that she still lives and that one day we shall all be together.  Those words became her salvation.  Mom knew Sharon was in God’s care.  We walked out of the chapel.  Outside many people came up to us to tell us how sorry they were.  They were all sincere and touched by Sharon’s death.  Mom told us later that she recalled seeing two special friends of Sharon’s, Barbara Parkins (co-star in “Valley of the Dolls”) and Steve Brandt, a publicist.  Steve had such pain written on his face, but she didn’t have the chance to speak with him.  She wished later that she did.  A few months later he committed suicide.  Sharon was buried with her baby, on top of a grassy hill over looking Los Angeles, the “City of Angels.”  I now know that the city has earned its name.”

 

As will be seen, this bears little resemblance to the account appearing under my sister’s name in this book.

Other incidents are more egregious and contain errors.  According to the book, Page 275, Patti supposedly described the day of our mom’s funeral in 1992 as cloudy; in fact, as witnesses can attest, it was a gorgeous, warm and sunny day, with not a cloud in the sky.

Pages 284-85 of the book publish an excerpt attributed to Patti saying that she left our mom’s funeral early to slip letters onto Sharon’s casket.  As witnesses can attest, she sat in the front row of the chapel with the rest of our family and did not leave until the service was over.

Page 343 of the book publishes an excerpt attributed to Patti in which she supposedly wrote that she was “forced to cancel” her appearance on a 1999 E Channel documentary on our sister Sharon owing to illness.  In fact, Robin Olson handled this request for Patti and her correspondence with the producer shows that Patti was never involved in the program owing to her illness.  She therefore never cancelled any interviews, as she was never booked to appear.

The above, and other, similar discrepancies, may raise certain questions about the content of this book with some readers. 

 

Other Content of the Book

Sections in the book dealing with my sister Sharon’s life away from our family circle include verbatim conversations without attribution and statements whose veracity is in doubt.

Pages 20-22, for example, reproduce an alleged conversation between Sharon and Martin Ransohoff.

Page 25 asserts, “He’s right, Sharon thought,” thus placing an imaginary narrator into my sister’s head.

Page 28 repeats this apparent psychic ability in imagining my sister’s inner thoughts.

Page 32 presents an alleged conversation between Sharon and Jay Sebring for which no sources or citations are given.  Readers might have legitimate questions about these and similar incidents in the book.

The version of our sister Sharon’s murder appearing on pages 297-308 under Patti’s name is a gross insult.  It wallows in the tragedy of that night, imagining the feelings, thoughts, and emotions of those who lost their lives.  Comments attributed to the victims and to their killers are at odds with the known accounts and records available, leading readers to wonder what their source could possibly be.

Particularly troubling passages include:

Page 302: “Sharon hesitates at the archway.  The very familiarity of home has vanished.  Her senses are heightened. The intruder’s body odor is nauseating while her eyes are drawn to Watson’s bloodied hands.  She scans Woytek for injuries, searches his eyes for an answer to the festering storm.”  Readers might ask how this book can pretend to know what my sister thought or felt.

Page 303: “A cry hangs in her throat.  Silent tears tumble down her cheeks.  In spite of the heat, her skin crawls with a chill.”  Again, readers might ask how this book can pretend to know what my sister Sharon thought or felt.

Page 303 presents a dialogue between Sharon and Charles “Tex” Watson concerning Jay Sebring.  As this is starkly at odds with the killers’ own statements and books, readers might ask the source for these statements.

Pages 306-307 present an orgy of distasteful and questionable description regarding my sister’s brutal murder.  The text purports to describe who delivered each stab wound, and in what order, and offers a version of my sister’s last moments starkly at odds with the accounts of her murderers.  This wallowing obsession with Sharon’s death, which has her crawling on her hands and knees across the floor, is not supported by any facts and is grossly offensive to her memory and to her family.  Readers not offended by this morbid fantasy may well be offended by its tenuous connection to the known facts of that night.  As not merely my sister Sharon suffered this crime but also my personal friends Jay Sebring, Voytek Frykowski, and Abigail Folger, the inflated account is particularly hurtful and malicious, especially the latter as it purportedly comes from my own sister Patti.


Alisa Statman

Alisa Statman presents herself in this book as a “close family friend” and insinuates that she speaks on behalf of my family.  Readers should know that Ms. Statman has a long and troubling history involving my family’s tragedy.  Her recent television and other media statements that she had known Patti for nine years or since 1991 are false.  She met Patti only in mid-August 1992, and knew her for 7 years, 9 months, and two weeks until Patti’s death on June 3, 2000.  She also writes, on page xiv, that in this book she used “the personal knowledge shared over the years with me by P.J., Doris” and others in this book.  This is again false.  Ms. Statman never met my mom and any suggestion that this book conveys any personal information from my mom to Ms. Statman is untrue, clearly meant to insinuate that my parents selected her to tell our family story and shared information with her to this end.  In a book that easily conjures up verbatim thoughts and conversations of people long gone, it seems questionable that Ms. Statman cannot accurately present the simplest details of her own recent life.

As letters and correspondence in my possession and in the possession of others demonstrate, Sharon’s murder fascinated Ms. Statman before she met my sister Patti.  On February 25, 2012, one individual confirmed that they “met Alisa about 25 years ago, and she said she was doing a Manson book.”  I have verified that at the same time she approached one individual hoping to purchase research materials on the murders and crime scene photographs.  Only after this, as I have confirmed, did she move into the guesthouse of my sister Sharon’s former estate on Cielo Drive, presumably so that she could be closer to the scene of the crime.  She delighted, as correspondence in my possession from another individual confirms, in meeting those interested in the murders and even showing them her photographs of the Cielo estate and the guesthouse.  During her residence there, she befriended my mom’s former acquaintance and Manson buff Bill Nelson and proudly posed for photographs with him at the scene of my sister’s murder.  She used Nelson to meet others involved in the Manson case, and stole, as she has admitted, a number of photographs from Lieutenant Earl Deemer’s collection.

Ms. Statman then used these stolen photographs to meet Patti in August 1992 after our mother’s death.  She carefully concealed from Patti her obsession with the Manson case and Sharon’s murder.  Preying on my sister’s kindness and financial vulnerability, she insinuated herself gradually into my sister’s life.  She went from living in the guesthouse on Sharon’s estate in LA to renting a guesthouse on Patti and her husband’s property 90 miles north in Santa Barbara, which was soon after my mom’s death and at the end of my sister’s marriage, following her into our family house in Palos Verdes as a paying tenant in 1993.  In desperate financial circumstances, my sister allowed Ms. Statman to help her obtain work and health insurance in Hollywood.  Attempting to further associate herself with my family and Sharon Tate, Ms. Statman falsely claimed to be a Tate “stepsister” in documents she signed at Holy Cross Cemetery, which are in my possession.  She also falsely asserted to officials at Holy Cross Cemetery that she had obtained Roman Polanski’s permission to have our sister Sharon’s grave opened.  Roman granted no such permission, as letters in my possession from Roman confirm.  In late 2000, after Patti’s death, as correspondence in the possession of Robin Olson confirms, Ms. Statman was again meeting with a certain individual to discuss her Manson research and plans for a book on the case.  In 2001, as Susan Fisher, who was then Director of the Doris Tate Crime Victims Bureau can attest, Ms. Statman attempted to use Patti’s contacts in Sacramento to craft a bill in the California Legislature that would allow her to attend Manson family parole hearings.  These efforts failed thanks to Ms. Fisher and myself.

After my sister Patti’s death, as correspondence in my possession and in the possession of others demonstrates, my dad, myself, and Patti’s husband Don Ford all discussed strategies to care for Patti’s two youngest children.  In the end neither my dad nor myself was able to work out a solution and Don Ford and my dad found it easiest to let Ms. Statman remain in the Palos Verdes house, in custodial care only, of two of Patti three children.  According to Ms. Statman, page xiv, after my dad moved out of our house at Palos Verdes, she was “left to the task of cleaning out and organizing our home, a home that had accumulated the lifespans of three generations.  Room by room, box by box, I unearthed a treasure of the Tate family’s home movies, audio and visual recordings, journals, and letters dating back to 1961.”

My dad moved out of the Palos Verdes house several years before Patti’s death.  He stayed with me, in a motor home parked on my ranch, as receipts paid to the owner confirm, for the next several years.  He brought with him many of our family’s papers and belongings, but others were left in the house at Palos Verdes; he later allowed Ms. Statman to purchase the house at a time when his final illness demanded financial security.  When my dad returned to the Palos Verdes house to retrieve numerous personal photographs, objects, family papers, and other materials, they could not be located.  In 2001, I raised this issue with Susan Fischer, who was then Director of the Doris Tate Crime Victims Bureau, as communications from her, dated May 6, 2001, confirm.  At the end of 2001, my dad asked me to come to his house in Big Bear so that he could turn over to me all of the family papers, photographs, home movies, and other materials he had retrieved from the Palos Verdes house and those he had asked Ms. Statman to return to him.

On Saturday, December 9, 2001, accompanied by Robin Olson, I arrived at my dad’s house and took inventory of the materials.  When I pointed out that many items were missing, my dad agreed, and in the presence of Ms. Olson said he would call Ms. Statman and order her to turn over any remaining family property he had neglected to remove from the Palos Verdes house.  Ms. Statman assured him she would do this.  Before my dad moved to Washington State, we again tried to retrieve the manuscripts, photographs, and other intimate family possessions that remained missing.  My dad told me that, despite his requests, he found it difficult to get Ms. Statman to release the remaining materials, and he was unfortunately in no physical condition to intercede.  He did telephone Ms. Statman, alerting her that I was coming to Palos Verdes to retrieve our family’s property.  Accompanied by a witness, I later went to Palos Verdes where Ms. Statman denied, contrary to her assurances to my dad, that any such property remained in the house.  She denied me entrance to view my dad’s storage areas in the house.  The same materials that my dad told Ms. Statman to hand over to me and which she denied possessing now compose this book.

 

Brie Ford (Tate)

I find it distasteful to discuss my niece but she has asserted things in this book that are not correct.  My niece is named Brie Ford, not Tate.  On page 365 of the book, she writes of me: “Though she is my mother’s sister, she is a far-removed aunt.  Never close with mama, often at battle with her, I knew Debra less than I knew Aunt Sharon.”  This is false and designed to diminish my role as guardian of our family’s legacy.  I was a part of Brie’s life with great regularity. I took care of my mom six days a week during her final illness and often spent time with Brie and her siblings at the house in Palos Verdes.  I recall two such occasions, when Brie visited my house where I taught her how to professionally apply makeup and of which we have photos.  My daughter and Patti’s children all played together, and Patti and her husband Don Ford routinely stayed with me while my former husband worked on their various vehicles.

My niece also writes, on page 365, of me: “Because we were such strangers to each other, I had no way of knowing if she cared enough to fight to keep Aunt Sharon’s killers in prison.”  This is also false, meant to impugn and undermine my role in the public eye as spokesperson for our family and its legacy.  Patti never wanted her children involved in the Manson saga or parole hearings, as numerous people can attest.  After mom’s death in 1992 I helped Patti to take on this role hoping to keep her mind occupied during the disintegration of her marriage.  Patti attended three parole hearings until 1997 when she became ill.  I then began regularly attending parole hearings and have consistently done so for the last fifteen years, a fact known to Brie since 1997.  Aside from one occasion in 2005, my niece has made no effort to attend parole hearings for the convicted Manson murderers.  Authorities in charge of these hearings tell me that neither my niece nor Ms. Statman, who present themselves as advocates on behalf of my family, have apparently ever bothered to write a single letter or statement to the parole board opposing release of any of those involved in the deaths in 1969.  It would seem that Ms. Statman has used my impressionable niece’s name to lend credence to the book that she has long wanted to write.

This book and my niece’s words have left the public with the impression that I was alienated from my family.  I remained in close and constant contact with my parents and with Patti until their deaths.  Like all families, we endured relationships that were, at times, troubled, but we never severed the loving bonds that existed between us.  I cared for my mom during her final illness, spending six days a week with my parents in our house at Palos Verdes. I was Maid of Honor at Patti’s wedding. I was with my mom and Patti when President Bush presented her with his “1000 Points of Light” award.  Patti was excited and thrilled at this, not resentful as the book asserts at losing any time with our mom.  During Patti’s final illness and at her insistent request, I spent days in our family house preparing and decorating her last Christmas tree when my niece Brie was present. Christmas was Mom’s favorite holiday and for Brie’s entire life, until my mother’s death, we all spent Christmas together at the Palos Verdes home with our parents, as many family photos will attest. In early 2000, I visited Patti in Mexico where she had gone to seek alternative cancer treatment. I went down there with my daughter and met up with Patti’s eldest daughter, we were all together and we watched Patti receive some of her treatments. Until my dad left the state of California I saw him consistently, and proudly possess dozens of family letters, birthday cards, Christmas cards, and memorabilia demonstrating that our family bonds remained unbroken.

My niece, also on page 365, writes of me: “What little I knew about her firsthand was that she’d taken my grandfather’s ashes and, to date, had not given him a proper burial.”  This is a malicious statement.  My dad, as Brie is aware, left no written instructions regarding funeral arrangements and gave me verbal instructions to dispose of his ashes as I saw fit.  His only request was that he did not want to rest at Holy Cross Cemetery, because the grave has become a tourist attraction.  After thoughtful consideration, as my dad’s closest relative and heir, I decided to keep his ashes in my possession out of love, not some imagined revenge.  Brie Ford’s statement is therefore incorrect.

Since 1997, I have been the public face of the Tate family, appearing at the various parole hearings for the convicted Manson murderers, working with political leaders and speaking on behalf of victims’ rights, doing numerous television specials, interviews, and serving as the principal media contact when issues related to my sister Sharon or our family have arisen.  I am a well-known presence and easily available to the media, yet surprisingly neither the publisher, IT Books, nor its parent company HarperCollins, bothered to contact me by telephone, email, letter, or fax before publishing this book.

Given all of the above, this book presents a challenge to readers.  They may wonder at the contradictions between my dad’s own copy of his unpublished manuscript and the text; at the contradictions between Patti’s tape-recorded conversations and manuscript and the text; at the verbatim conversations published without citations; at the factual errors and demonstrably false statements in the text; and at how the book purports to know what was in my sister Sharon’s mind on numerous occasions, not least of which was during her tragic murder.  And readers may have questions concerning the story told by Ms. Statman of how this book allegedly came about, given her history of fascination with the crimes and with my sister Sharon.  They should know that my treasured family photographs have been maliciously edited to eliminate my presence prior to publication in the book.

To clear up these discrepancies, and to help Ms. Statman assure her readers of the book’s veracity, I now publicly offer to pay for Ms. Statman to take a polygraph examination, at my expense and to be arranged at her convenience, under mutually agreed conditions, to answer the following questions:

1. Before moving into the guesthouse at Cielo, did you express to others your intent to write about my sister Sharon’s murder?

2. Did you begin working on or researching a book about my sister Sharon’s murder before you met Patti?

3. Is it true that you used the photographs you stole from Lieutenant Earl Deemer’s collection to meet my sister Patti?

4. Did you ever meet my mom Doris Gwen Tate?

5. Would you swear that the statement in the book as to how it came about is absolutely accurate?

6. Is every word in the book attributed to Patti exactly what she herself said or wrote?

7. Did you use any of the materials written and prepared by Robin Olson for Patti’s book in this book?

8. Did you change, alter, or add anything to my dad’s unpublished manuscript prior to publication?

9. Did you change, alter, or add anything to my mom’s unpublished manuscript prior to publication?

10. Can you provide independent corroboration to verify the many verbatim conversations given in the book between people now deceased?

11. Can you provide independent corroboration to verify the account of my sister Sharon’s murder appearing in your book?

12. Did my dad order you to turn over to me all Tate family materials left in the Palos Verdes house?

13. Did you turn over to my dad or to me, as requested, all Tate family materials in the Palos Verdes house?

14. Did you deny to me that such Tate family materials remained in the Palos Verdes house?

15. Did you sign statements at Holy Cross Cemetery describing yourself as a Tate “stepsister?”

16. Did you tell authorities at Holy Cross Cemetery that you had obtained Roman Polanski’s permission to open Sharon’s grave?

17. Did you try to have legislation passed in California that would allow you, as a non-relative, to attend parole hearings for convicted members of the Manson family?

I would be happy to make arrangements for such a polygraph test at Ms. Statman’s convenience.

Undoubtedly this saga will continue, as it has done for nearly 20 years, but I plan to make no further statements about this book, nor will I publicly address any issues unrelated to the content of the book itself.  Work continues on analyzing its content against documents and papers in my possession and in the possession of others but those judgments will be reserved for my own future work, when I will make public the full story of my family, my sister Sharon, our tragedy, and my life in a definitive way. Again, until then, and for as long as I live, I will honor my family’s memory by continuing to work on behalf of our legacy and other victims of violent crime.

Debra Tate
March 9, 2012



Our Web Site Policy
©2001 Estate of Sharon Tate, c/o CMG Worldwide