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January 24, 2021

Wonderful Black and White Portraits of Sharon Tate Taken by Sean Barry-Weske During the Filming of ‘The Thirteen Chairs’

The Thirteen Chairs (12 + 1 – original title and Italian release title) is a 1969 comedy film directed by Nicolas Gessner and Luciano Lucignani. It was based on the 1928 satirical novel The Twelve Chairs by Soviet authors Ilf and Petrov. The film is notable for the last screen appearance of Sharon Tate before her murder.

Sharon Tate was three months pregnant when she arrived in Rome for filming at the end of March 1969. Director Gessner arranged to film her several semi-nude scenes first, later hiding stomach with large purses and scarves. She spoke fluent Italian. She returned to LA in July 1969.

Terry-Thomas recalled: “Sharon turned out to share a distinction with Lena Horne. They were the only two performers I ever knew who were entirely natural before the camera. We were like a double act. She was nice, intelligent and pretty.”

Canadian producer Claude Giroux recalled: “It’s a comedy, and, let’s face it, no one wants to watch a comedy when the star has been wiped out in a real-life drama.”

The movie, originally titled Thirteen was renamed 12 + 1 for superstitious reasons. Claude Giroux recalled: ‘Miss Tate said that her very first movie Eye of the Devil (1967) had been originally called Thirteen and she had hoped this was not going to be her first and last film. We laughed and assured her otherwise, but I changed it to 12 + 1.”


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