Paul Tate, 82; Investigated Murder of Daughter Sharon Tate

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Paul Tate, 82, a former Army intelligence officer who went undercover seeking clues to the murder of daughter Sharon Tate by the followers of Charles Manson, died of congestive heart failure Wednesday at a convalescent home in Coupeville, Wash.

Sharon Tate was among five people killed at her Benedict Canyon estate by Manson’s followers in 1969. Married to director Roman Polanski, the actress had appeared in the film “Valley of the Dolls” and was eight months pregnant when she was killed.

Manson and other members of his cult were convicted in the Tate murders and the slayings a night later of Leno and Rosemary La Bianca.


Paul Tate spent 23 years in U.S. Army intelligence and retired as a lieutenant colonel soon after his daughter’s death.

He spent four months masquerading as a hippie trying to track down leads in the case. Vincent Bugliosi, the prosecutor in the case, wrote in his book “Helter Skelter” that despite Tate’s diligence he failed to “come up with anything that was of use to us.”

When Manson and his followers came up for parole, Tate and his wife, Doris, wrote letters to parole officials to oppose their release. Doris Tate became a leader in the then-nascent victims’ rights movement.

In 1985, Paul Tate told parole officials hearing Charles “Tex” Watson’s plea for release about the grisly scene at his daughter’s home after the murders and how he had to scrub his daughter’s blood off the floor. “That man should never, never, never be turned out into society,” he told the parole board.