Aug. 18th, 1933
Roman Polanski's Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles2008 - Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired
2007 - Rush Hour 3
2002 - Zemsta
1994 - Una pura formalità
1992 - Hugh Hefner: Once Upon a Time
1976 - Le locataire
1974 - Blood for Dracula
1974 - Chinatown
1970 - Ciao, Federico!
1969 - The Magic Christian
1965 - Repulsion
1955 - Pokolenie
Guest TV Roles
Roman Polanski's parents returned to Poland from France just two years before the World War II began: both were taken later to concentration camps where his mother eventually died. Young Roman managed to escape the ghetto and learned to survive wandering through the Polish countryside and living with the different Catholic families. Though local people usually ignored cinemas where mostly German films were shown, Polanski seemed not very much concerned about patriotism and frequently went to the movies. In 1945, he reunited with his father who sent him to technical school, but young Polanski seemed to have already made his choice.
In the 1950s, he took up acting, appearing in Andrzej Wajda's Pokolenie (1955) before studying at the Lodz Film School. His early shorts such as Dwaj ludzie z szafa (1958), Le gros et le maigre (1961), and Ssaki (1962) showed his taste for black humor and interest in bizarre human relationships. His feature debut, Nˇz w wodzie (1962), was the first Polish post-war film not associated with the war theme. Though being already a major Polish filmmaker, Polanski yet chose to leave the country and headed to France. Being down-and-out in Paris, he befriended young scriptwriter, GÚrard Brach, who eventually became his long-time collaborator. The next two films, Repulsion (1965) and Cul-de-sac (1966), made in England and co-written by Brach, won respectively Silver and Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festivals.
In 1968, Polanski went to Hollywood, where he made the psychological thriller Rosemary's Baby (1968). However, after the brutal murder of his wife Sharon Tate (I) by the infamous Manson gang in 1969, the director decided to return to Europe. In 1974, he again appeared with a US release of Chinatown (1974). It seemed the beginning of the promising Hollywood career, but after his conviction for the statutory rape of a 13-year old girl, Polanski fled from America to avoid prison.
After Tess (1979), which was awarded several Oscars and Cesars, his work became intermittent and rarely approached the level of his better known films. The director also stretched his talents to include occasional work in theatre. He still likes to act in the films of other directors, sometimes with interesting results as it was in Una pura formalitÓ (1994).
- Was offered the chance to direct _King Kong (1976)_ (qv) but turned it down.
- Won the Best Director Oscar in 2003 for _The Pianist (2002)_ (qv) at the age of 69 years and 7 months, making him the oldest person ever to win that award to that point in time. Polanski eclipsed the record previously held by 'George Cukor' (qv), who was 65 when he won for directing _My Fair Lady (1964)_ (qv). This record was beaten in 2005 when 'Clint Eastwood' (qv) won at the age of 74 for _Million Dollar Baby (2004)_ (qv).
- In 1969, while he was on out-of-town business, his wife, actress 'Sharon Tate (I)' (qv) was brutally murdered by members of Charles Manson's cult family; though Manson only ordered the killing and was not present during the murders. She was eight-months pregnant with their first child at the time. He has said that his life's biggest regret was not being present at the house on Cielo Drive, Beverly Hills the night his wife 'Sharon Tate (I)' (qv) and four others were brutally murdered.
- President of the jury at the Cannes Film Festival in 1991
- Was one of the judges in the Miss Universe pageant in 1976.
- Is portrayed by 'Marek Probosz' (qv) in _Helter Skelter (2004) (TV)_ (qv).
- Within the Hollywood industry in the late 60s and early 70s he was often mocked as the stereotypical short, tyrannical European director.
- (September 1997) Reuters reports that Polanski is returning to face sentencing on statutory rape charges. Ten years later with no return, it's clear the reports were false.