Sharon Tate’s budding acting career was just getting started when followers of Charles Manson tragically killed her in 1969. Had things gone differently, we very well may be talking about Tate as one of the biggest movie stars of all time. But despite her short-lived career, Tate still managed to make quite the impact. And believe it or not, all of that began with a small role on the classic family comedy “The Beverly Hillbillies.”
Running from 1962 to 1971, “The Beverly Hillbillies” was one of the funniest shows of the 1960s. It made stars of its main cast, including the likes of Jethro Bodine actor Max Baer Junior. The show was so successful that some of its best-performing episodes are still unrivaled to this day.
According to MeTV, the first two seasons of “The Beverly Hillbillies” enjoyed an average of nearly 60 million viewers. That’s quite the feat. And even though she wasn’t exactly the reason so many people were tuning in, Sharon Tate contributed to that success.
The eventual movie star and wife of Roman Polanski joined the show in 1963. She stuck around until 1965, when serious movie roles started coming her way. Over the three seasons she was involved with the show, Sharon Tate appeared in 15 episodes.
Interestingly, Tate played multiple characters during her time on the show. The best known is undoubtedly her role as bank secretary Janet Trego. Her first appearance, however, came on a 1963 episode titled “Elly Starts to School.” She played a one-off character named Mary.
Fellow ‘The Beverly Hillbillies’ Star Max Baer Jr. Remembers Sharon Tate Fondly
Even though the two were only co-stars for a brief period, Max Baer Jr. had the privilege of spending some time with Sharon Tate. The Jethro Bodine actor had fond memories of the star. And he appreciated how talented she was as an actress.
During a 2017 interview with Fore Magazine, “The Beverly Hillbillies” star talked about how he’d recently participated in a show reflecting on Sharon Tate’s life.
“I just did a retrospective show on Sharon and they asked if she could act. Hey, you’re asking Jethro if she can act!” said Baer.
One year, Sharon Tate even accompanied Max Baer to the Emmy Awards. It doesn’t come as much of a surprise that “The Beverly Hillbillies” star thought she was a knockout beauty. He’s quoted on the official website for Sharon Tate.
“When I first met Sharon on the set of ‘The Beverly Hillbillies,’ I thought she was the prettiest girl I had ever seen. Sharon was terrific and I support her for a star on Hollywood Boulevard,” said Baer, per the website.