On August 8, 1969 five people inside the home of Roman Polanski – including his heavily pregnant wife Sharon Tate – were brutally murdered by the Manson family. Former model Ava Roosevelt could have easily been the night’s sixth victim, but a stroke of luck saved her life.
Roosevelt has spoken of the guilt she still feels at having avoided the horrific events of that night in an interview with Town and Country.
“The guilt still lingers,” she says. “I survived and they didn’t, and it’s haunted me for years, I never stop thinking about Sharon.”
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Roosevelt, then a 21-year-old friend of Sharon’s was on her way to the Benedict Canyon home on Cielo Drive just before midnight when her Rolls-Royce’s petrol gauge began flickering.
“I was in the car, chugging up a hill around 11:45 p.m, about to turn onto Cielo Drive, when my gas gauge flickered and dropped to empty,” the now-69-year-old says.
“It was a finicky car, so I wondered if the gauge was broken or if I was truly out of gas.”
Fearing that the car could break down any moment, she turned around to drive home – not knowing that he faulty vehicle probably just saved her life.