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).
- President of the jury at the Cannes Film Festival in 1991
- (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.
- Two children with 'Emmanuelle Seigner' (qv): Morgane and Elvis.
- Has not been back to the United States since 1978.
- 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.
- Shortly before her murder, wife 'Sharon Tate (I)' (qv) gave Polanski a copy of 'Thomas Hardy (I)' (qv)'s 1891 novel "Tess of the d'Urbervilles", and he planned to film it with her. When he finally made the movie _Tess (1979)_ (qv), he dedicated it to her.
- After Polanski fled from the American justice, the judge on his case swore to have him behind the bars. Though the judge died in 1989, the director still can't enter the US; otherwise, he would be arrested.
- He was due to have directed "The Double," a modern-day, comedic adaptation of 'Fyodor Dostoyevsky' (qv)'s novel about a man whose life is taken over by his doppelganger. 'John Travolta' (qv), who was being paid $17m, was to have played the lead, alongside 'Isabelle Adjani' (qv), 'John Goodman (I)' (qv), and 'Jean Reno (I)' (qv). Shooting was to have begun in May 1996 in Paris. 'Lili Fini Zanuck' (qv) and 'Todd Black' (qv) were producing, 'Jeremy Leven' (qv) had written the screenplay and other personnel such as director of photography 'Robert Richardson (I)' (qv) and production designer 'Pierre Guffroy' (qv) were in place. Just nine days before principal photography was scheduled to start, and with around $15m already spent, Travolta flew back to US following an argument with Polanski. Travolta claimed that the screenplay had been significantly altered compared with the one he had signed up for. Following Travolta's departure, 'Steve Martin (I)' (qv) was quickly hired to replace him, but 'Isabelle Adjani' (qv) said she was only prepared to work with Travolta, and she, too, left the film. The project collapsed shortly afterwards.