Actress, heiress, 3 men slain in bizarre setting

By Vernon Scott

LOS ANGELES (UPI) -- Five persons, including a beautiful Hollywood actress, a man's hair stylist and an heiress were found shot or stabbed to death in a shocking and mysterious outbreak of violence that had aspects of a weird religious rite.

The dead:


-- Sharon Tate, 27, fragile blonde beauty, a star of the sex film "Valley of the Dolls" and estranged wife of Roman Polanski who directed the occult and orgiastic movie, "Rosemary's Baby."

-- Jay Sebring, 35, Miss Tate's former fiancee who had made a fortune pioneering hair styling for men.

-- Abigail Folger, 26, heiress to a San Francisco coffee fortune.

-- Wojciech Frykowski, 33, a European writer and photographer.

-- An unidentified man in his 20s.

Arrested and booked on five counts of murder yesterday was William Garretson, 19, houseboy at the Polanksi home where the killings took place.


The bodies bore multiple stab wounds and some of the victims had been shot.

Cause of death awaited findings by Medical Examiner Thomas Noguchi who ordered the ... home sealed off and instructed that no one touch the bodies until he arrived.

The homicides came to light when a maid, Winifred Chapman, arrived at the Polanski home about 9:15 a.m. yesterday to start work. She saw the blood-spattered bodies of a man and woman on the lawn and frantically called police.

Miss Tate, who was pregnant, was found in the living room, a white nylon rope wrapped around her neck. She was clad only in a bikini -- bra and panties -- her favorite costume about the house.

The rope had been thrown over a beam and the other end was attached to the neck of Mr. Sebring.

Dead on the lawn were Miss Folger and Mr. Frykowski.

Miss Folger was described by a relative in San Francisco as "a very attractive brunette, very warm personality." Her father was Peter Folger, board chairman of the Folger Coffee Co.

The unidentified man was in a small car parked at the house and it appeared that he had been about to drive away when he was stabbed.


Police heard a dog barking in back of the red barn type $200,000 hilltop home and they investigated and found Garretson, whom they placed under arrest.

Miss Tate's husband, the 37-year-old Mr. Polanski was not a home. Police said they learned he is in Europe. It was common talk around Hollywood that he and Miss Tate had split up.

The home is located in the Santa Monica Mountains just east of the exclusive Bel Air district and north of Sunset Blvd. and Beverly Hills.

The houseboy, Garretson, lived in a small building on Blvd. and Beverly Hills.

Miss Chapman, the maid, was taken to a hospital for treatment of shock.

Identification of Miss Tate was made by her agent, Bill Tennant.

Police found part of a hand gun on the premises.

There were ropes all over the house, officers said.

Lt. James Shannon of the West Los Angeles Police Division said, "the ropes appeared to be ritualistic."

The house is isolated from neighboring places on a private road. Telephone wires in the house had been cut.

Miss Tate, a slender five-foot-five-inch beauty, was born in Dallas, one of three daughters of an Army career officer. The family traveled around quite a bit on the father's assignments. She spent her teens in Italy and learned to speak Italian fluently. She won the title of "Miss Richland" in a Washington state beauty contest.


Her first personal acting job was a small role in the television series, "Beverly Hillbillies." She had two other roles in the series before she got her first film job in the movie "13" as a substitute for Kim Novak who had hurt her back.

Miss Tate later won a role in "Valley of the Dolls" and in "Don't Make Waves" with Tony Curtis.

Jeff Corey, a drama coach, once described her as an "incredibly beautiful girl but a fragmented personality."

She used to refer to herself as "sexy little me."

Another drama coach, Charles Conrad, said "such a beautiful girl, you would have thought she had all the confidence in the world. But she had none."

Miss Tate traveled in a Hollywood group of "rich hippies" and one of her close friends was Mia Farrow. They often sat around a table in a seance-type session to meditate on Hindu philosophy.

This reporter first met Miss Tate at Sebring's hair styling shop in Hollywood. They had planned to be married and she sat around hour after hour just looking at him. She was a sweet-faced girl who had hoped to become a major star.

The last time I saw her was at Miss Farrow's home overlooking Malibu Beach. She had changed. She wore hippie type clothes. She spoke of "universal love" and "the cosmos." The room was filled with the scent of burning incense and Indian sitar music was played on a phonograph.


She was quoted in a Look magazine interview in 1957 as saying, "People look at me and all they see is a sex thing. I mean people see sexy. When I was put under contract I thought, oh, how nice, but it was just another piece of merchandize. Nobody cared about me.

"People expect so much of an attractive person. I mean people are very critical of me. It makes me so tense, even when I lay down I'm tense. I think sometimes people don't want me around. I don't like to be alone though. When I am alone my imagination gets all creepy."

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