Roman Polanski

Director, Screenwriter, Actor
Perhaps one of the most notorious directors in Hollywood, Roman Polanski was as known for his tumultuous personal life as he was for his dark, disquieting and quasi-autobiographical films. After a childhood stained by ... Read more »
Born: 08/17/1933 in Paris, FR

Filmography

Actor (32)

Seduced and Abandoned 2013 (Movie)

Himself (Actor)

Weekend of a Champion 2013 (Movie)

(Actor)

Roman Polanski: A Film Memoir 2012 (Movie)

Himself (Actor)

Quiet Chaos 2009 (Movie)

(Actor)

AFI's 100 Years...AFI's 10 Top 10 2007 - 2008 (TV Show)

Actor

Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired 2008 (Movie)

(Actor)

Rush Hour 3 2007 (Movie)

Detective Revi (Actor)

The Revenge 2001 (Movie)

(Actor)

Roman Polanski: Reflections of Darkness 1999 - 2000 (TV Show)

Actor

Intimate Portrait: Mia Farrow 1998 - 1999 (TV Show)

Actor

Ljuset Haller Mig Sallskap 1999 (Movie)

(Actor)

Tribute To Alfred Lepetit 1998 (Movie)

(Actor)

A Pure Formality 1995 (Movie)

Inspector (Actor)

Dead Tired 1995 (Movie)

Himself (Actor)

Back in the U.S.S.R. 1992 (Movie)

Kurilov (Actor)

Blood For Dracula 1975 (Movie)

(Actor)

The Evolution of Snuff 1975 (Movie)

Narration(Prologue) (Narrator)

The Tenant 1975 (Movie)

Trelkovsky (Actor)

Chinatown 1974 (Movie)

Man With Knife (Actor)

Che? 1972 (Movie)

Zanzara (Actor)

The Magic Christian 1969 (Movie)

Man Listening to Lady Singer (Actor)

The Fearless Vampire Killers 1966 (Movie)

Alfred--Abronsius' Assistant (Actor)

Repulsion 1965 (Movie)

Spoons Player (Actor)

Samson 1961 (Movie)

(Actor)

Ssaki 1961 (Movie)

(Actor)

Innocent Sorcerers 1960 (Movie)

Polo (Actor)

Le Gros et le Maigre 1960 (Movie)

Thin Man (Actor)

Lotna 1959 (Movie)

(Actor)

Two Men and a Wardrobe 1957 (Movie)

Young Thug (Actor)

Generation 1955 (Movie)

Mundek (Actor)

Koniec Nocy (Movie)

(Actor)
Director (31)

Venus in Fur 2014 (Movie)

(Director)

Carnage 2011 (Movie)

(Director)

The Ghost Writer 2010 (Movie)

(Director)

Chacun son cinema 2007 (Movie)

("Cinema Erotique") (Director)

Oliver Twist 2005 (Movie)

(Director)

The Pianist 2002 (Movie)

(Director)

The Ninth Gate 2000 (Movie)

(Director)

Bitter Moon 1994 (Movie)

(Director)

Death and the Maiden 1994 (Movie)

(Director)

Frantic 1988 (Movie)

(Director)

Pirates 1986 (Movie)

(Director)

Tess 1980 (Movie)

(Director)

The Tenant 1975 (Movie)

(Director)

Chinatown 1974 (Movie)

(Director)

Che? 1972 (Movie)

(Director)

Macbeth 1971 (Movie)

(Director)

Cinema Different 3 1969 (Movie)

("La riviere de diamants") (Director)

Rosemary's Baby 1968 (Movie)

(Director)

The Worlds's Most Beautiful Swindles 1967 (Movie)

("Amsterdam") (Director)

Cul-de-Sac 1966 (Movie)

(Director)

The Fearless Vampire Killers 1966 (Movie)

(Director)

Repulsion 1965 (Movie)

(Director)

Knife in the Water 1963 (Movie)

(Director)

Ssaki 1961 (Movie)

(Director)

Le Gros et le Maigre 1960 (Movie)

(Director)

Lampa 1958 (Movie)

(Director)

Two Men and a Wardrobe 1957 (Movie)

(Director)

When Angels Fall 1957 (Movie)

(Director)

Break Up the Dance 1956 (Movie)

(Director)

Morderstwo 1956 (Movie)

(Director)

Usmiech Zebiczny 1956 (Movie)

(Director)
Writer (27)

Venus in Fur 2014 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Carnage 2011 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

The Ghost Writer 2010 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

The Ninth Gate 2000 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Bitter Moon 1994 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Frantic 1988 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Pirates 1986 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Tess 1980 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

The Tenant 1975 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Che? 1972 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Macbeth 1971 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

A Day at the Beach 1969 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Cinema Different 3 1969 (Movie)

("La riviere de diamants") (Screenplay)

Rosemary's Baby 1968 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

The Worlds's Most Beautiful Swindles 1967 (Movie)

("Amsterdam") (Screenplay)

Cul-de-Sac 1966 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

The Fearless Vampire Killers 1966 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Repulsion 1965 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Knife in the Water 1963 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Ssaki 1961 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Le Gros et le Maigre 1960 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Lampa 1958 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Two Men and a Wardrobe 1957 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

When Angels Fall 1957 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Break Up the Dance 1956 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Morderstwo 1956 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Usmiech Zebiczny 1956 (Movie)

(Screenplay)
Producer (8)

Weekend of a Champion 2013 (Movie)

(Producer)

The Ghost Writer 2010 (Movie)

(Producer)

Chacun son cinema 2007 (Movie)

("Cinema Erotique") (Producer)

Oliver Twist 2005 (Movie)

(Producer)

The Pianist 2002 (Movie)

(Producer)

The Ninth Gate 2000 (Movie)

(Producer)

Bitter Moon 1994 (Movie)

(Producer)

A Day at the Beach 1969 (Movie)

(Producer)
Editor (3)

Weekend of a Champion 2013 (Movie)

(Restored and re-cut for 2013 limited release.) (Editor)

Che? 1972 (Movie)

(Editor)

Le Gros et le Maigre 1960 (Movie)

(Editor)

Biography

Perhaps one of the most notorious directors in Hollywood, Roman Polanski was as known for his tumultuous personal life as he was for his dark, disquieting and quasi-autobiographical films. After a childhood stained by Nazi atrocities, Polanski emerged from his native Poland with the Oscar-nominated "Knife in the Water" (1962). He went on to establish a reputation with several films shot in England - namely the claustrophobic sexual thriller "Repulsion" (1965) - before reaching artistic and commercial heights in America with "Rosemary's Baby" (1968). But his newfound success quickly descended into tragedy in 1969 when several of his friends and his pregnant wife, actress Sharon Tate, were brutally murdered by members of Charles Manson's "Family." After directing the landmark film noir, "Chinatown" (1974), Polanski became a victim of his own excesses when he fled the United States to avoid serving prison time following a conviction for statutory rape. As a fugitive, Polanski continued making films, albeit with less frequency and smaller budgets. But he found himself on top again when he tapped into his own experiences for the Oscar-winning Holocaust drama, "The Pianist" (2002). As an artist who exerted tremendous control - often co-writing screenplays and sometimes acting - Polanski instilled his films with a uniquely personal worldview. His recurring themes of violence and victimization, isolation and alienation, and a profound sense of the absurd, permeated a body of work that long remained unmatched by many a director before and since.

Relationships

Annette

Half-Sister
Daughter of Bula Polanski and her first husband

Nastassja Kinski Actor

Companion
Began romantic relationship 1976; he was 43 and she was 15; appeared in a photo spread in an issue of French Vogue guest edited by Polanski Starred in Polanski's film "Tess" (1979)

Barbara Lass Actor

Wife
Starred in Polanski's film "When Angels Fall" (1959) Married on Sept. 19, 1959 Divorced in 1962

Joanna Pacula Actor

Companion
Romantically involved c.1981-83

Elvis Polanski Actor

Son
Born Aug. 18, 1933; acclaimed director of "Chinatown" (1974) and "The Pianist" (2002); directed son in "Oliver Twist" (2005) and "Carnage" (2011)

Ryszard Polanski

Father
Polish Jew Died of cancer c. 1984

Bula Polanski

Mother
Russian Left her first husband to marry Ryszard Polanski in 1932 Gassed to death (while four months pregnant) in Auschwitz concentration camp during WWII

Wanda Polanski

Step-Mother

Morgane Polanski

Daughter
Born Jan. 20, 1993; mother, Emmanuelle Seigner

Paul Polanski

Son
Sharon Tate was eight months pregnant with Polanski's son when she was murdered on Aug. 9, 1969

Emmanuelle Seigner Actor

Wife
Married Aug. 30, 1989 Starred in Polanski's films "Frantic" (1987), "Bitter Moon" (1992) and "The Ninth Gate" (1999)

Sharon Tate Actor

Wife
Met shortly before filming "The Fearless Vampire Killers" (1967) Polanski directed Tate and starred opposite her in "The Fearless Vampire Killers" (1967) Married Jan. 20, 1968 in London Eight months pregnant with the couple's first child (a boy), Tate was brutally murdered on Aug. 9, 1969 by members of Charles Manson's "Family"

EDUCATION

Lódz Film School

1954 - 1959
Accepted into the film school's rigorous four-year training program

Milestones

2011

Directed Kate Winslet, Jodie Foster, Christoph Waltz, and John C. Reilly in "Carnage"; film based on Yasmina Reza's acclaimed play "God of Carnage"; also co-wrote screenplay with Reza

2010

Co-wrote, co-produced and directed the film adaptation of "The Ghost Writer"; Polanski was arrested before the films released and he had to complete post-production from his house arrest at his Swiss villa in Gstaad

2008

Subject of the documentary, "Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired"

2007

Made a cameo in "Rush Hour 3" as a French police official

2005

Directed a film adaptation of the Charles Dickens' novel "Oliver Twist"

2002

Acted in Andrzej Wajda's "Zemsta"

2002

Directed "The Pianist," a true story about a Jewish-Polish piano player Wladyslaw Szpilman, who survived the Warsaw ghetto; won top prize at Cannes

1999

Returned to directing features with the supernatural thriller "The Ninth Gate," starring Johnny Depp

1997

Directed a stage version of "The Fearless Vampire Killers" in Vienna as "Tanz der Vampire"

1996

Directed the Paris production of "Master Class"

1993

Settled out of court in a civil suit with his former accuser, Samantha Geimer

1992

Helmed (also wrote and produced) "Bitter Moon" starring Hugh Grant, Peter Coyote and Emmanuelle Seigner

1987

Directed Harrison Ford and future wife, Emmanuelle Seigner in "Frantic"

1986

First film in seven years, "Pirates"

1984

Penned the autobiography Roman by Polanski

1979

Directed the well-received Tess (1979) starring Nastassja Kinski; film dedicated to the memory of Polanski's late wife, Sharon Tate; received third Academy Award nomination

1978

Accepting a plea bargain and plead guilty to the lesser charge of engaging in unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor; served 42 days under psychiatric evaluation in the Chino State Psychiatric Prison

1978

Tipped off that the judge was going to disregard the plea bargain, and sentence him to additional jail time, Polanski fled to France, where he held citizenship; France refuses to extradite its own citizens

1977

Arrested for having sex with a thirteen-year-old girl he was auditioning for a Vogue photo layout

1976

Served as guest editor for the Christmas issue of French Vogue featuring Nastassja Kinski

1976

Directed and played the lead role in "The Tenant"

1974

Directed the commercially and critically successful "Chinatown," starring Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway; produced by Robert Evans; film was nominated for 11 Academy Awards

1970

First feature following his wife's murder, the violent film version of Shakespeare's "Macbeth"

1968

Sharon Tate, Polanski's pregnant wife, and four others were brutally murdered by members of Charles Manson's "Family" (August)

1968

Wrote and directed his successful U.S. debut, "Rosemary's Baby"; produced by Robert Evans; garnered an Academy Award nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay

1965

First English language film, "Repulsion"

1964

First collaboration with Gérard Brach, the "Amsterdam" segment of "Les plus belles escroqueries du monde"

1962

First feature-length film, "Knife in the Water"; also co-wrote; earned first Academy Award nomination for Best Foreign Language Film

1954

Began acting in films and making documentaries

1954

Acted in Andrzej Wajda's first feature-length film "A Generation"; first collaboration with the director

1946

Set up by his father in his own apartment at age 13

1944

Began acting in radio shows at age 12

1943

Returned to Kraków at age 11; reunited with father and sister

1940

Avoided capture after his father pushed him through a gap in the wall sealing the ghetto

1940

As a seven-year-old, witnessed the Nazi's sealing off the Kraków Ghetto where his family lived

1936

At age three, moved with his parents to his father's native Kraków, Poland

1933

Born in Paris, France

Made several short films while studing at Lódz, including "Two Men and a Wardrobe" (1958) and "When Angels Fall" (1959)

Moved to Paris, France and met frequent collaborator Gérard Brach

Participated in smuggling runs by slipping out of the ghetto through secret passageways

Became a celebrity on Krakow radio, playing tough street kids

Bonus Trivia

.

"[Polanski] would be excommunicated by Hollywood because his wife had the bad taste to be murdered in the papers,' his friend Jack Nicolson said later." – from "Profile: Artist in Exile" by Lawrence Weshler, The New Yorker, Dec. 5, 1994

.

"When Sharon died, the press said the most terrible things about us – that it was connected to black magic, that it had something to do with the type of movies I had always made. They just lie and lie and lie, but when they print it, then people think it's true. When they found out that Manson was behind it, then they changed their song. But they were relentless. And when the trouble happened with the girl, it was like everyone said, 'We were right about him, he's crazy, that's why his wife got killed.'" – Polanski quoted in "Roman Holiday" by Martha Frankel, Movieline magazine, January/February 1995

.

"As for the ending [of 'Chinatown'], [screenwriter Robert] Towne, in his original version, had the Faye Dunaway character killing her father [and incestuous tormentor], the creepy John Huston character, before he could get his hands on the barely pubescent child whom he had sired upon her and whom she was desperately endeavoring to protect. Instead, Polanski had the Faye Dunaway character herself getting gruesomely killed right in front of the child, whom the Huston character now enveloped in his oily embrace, leading her away as Jack Nicholson's detective character looked on ineffectually and a police pal muttered, 'Forget it, Jake, it's Chinatown.'" – from "Profile: Artist in Exile" by Lawrence Weshler in The New Yorker, Dec. 5, 1994

.

"When Polanski discusses the violence that occurs in his films, he often asserts that, far from being a sensationalist, he is a pure realist; and certainly he is one of the few directors around who have experienced at first hand such a sheer amount and so many varieties of violence." – from "Profile: Artist in Exile" by Lawrence Weshler in The New Yorker, Dec. 5, 1994

.

"I have a friend who worked for Polanski on 'Repulsion' (1965). For years after he kept the director's picture pasted inside one of his shoes, 'So every time I took a step I'd crush the wretched dwarf.' Roman Polanski has no problem playing the prick. He can also play a smarmy civil servant or a sentimental fool aching to be victimized. Terrorized children – Polanski eluded the Nazis – pick up useful tricks. If he hadn't needed to control things, he could've been an actor of Ben Kingsley's stature." – from Georgia Brown's review of "A Pure Formality" in Village Voice May 30, 1995

.

"I miss the efficiency of the studios, I miss the big machine, I know how to operate it. It has great inertia this machine, but if you know how to use it, you can do a lot of interesting things." – Polanski's response when asked if he missed working in the U.S., Village Voice, April 19, 1994

.

"Nothing I remember more for that period – none of the suffering – was greater than being separated from my parents. Not the fleas, not the gruel, not the beds I had to sleep on. It was just, 'Where's my father? Where's my mother?'" – Polanski on being separated from his parents during WWII, quoted in The Los Angeles Times, Sept. 18, 2005

.

In 2003 at the height of Polanksi's notoriety for directing "The Pianist" (2002), Samantha Geimer, the alleged victim in Polanksi's statutory rape case, claimed in an op-ed piece in The Los Angeles Times that the director fled to France because the judge in the case reneged on a plea bargain struck by both parties that limited Polanski's punishment to the 40 days he had already spent incarcerated awaiting trial."Who wouldn't think about running when facing a 50-year sentence from a judge who was clearly more interested in his own reputation than a fair judgment?" she said. Geimer also indicated that she believed his film work should be judged on its own merits: "I believe that Mr. Polanski and his film should be honored according to the quality of the work. What he does for a living and how good he is at it, have nothing to do with me or what he did to me."

.

"Lawyers for Roman Polanski, a fugitive for 30 years in a notorious sex case involving a 13-year-old girl, filed a request on Dec 3, 2008 to dismiss the charge against him because of prosecutorial and judicial misconduct.""The Polish-born Polanski, 75, has been living in self-imposed exile in France since fleeing the United States in 1978 after pleading guilty to having sex with a 13-year-old girl in Los Angeles. He was initially indicted on six felony counts and faced up to life in prison. Instead, he pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor and five other counts were dismissed. Polanski, who had already been incarcerated for a psychological diagnosis for 42 days, skipped sentencing that would have sent him back to prison, and fled to France. The judge issued a warrant for his arrest that is still in effect." – from The Los Angeles Times, Dec. 2, 2008

.

On Sept. 26, 2009, Polanski was arrested in Switzerland while on his way to pick up a lifetime achievement award at the Zurich Film Festival. He was facing the possibility of being extradited to the U.S. after more than 30 years. A spokesman for the Swiss Justice Ministry said Polanski was arrested upon arrival at the airport. A provisional arrest warrant was issued that week in Los Angeles after authorities learned the filmmaker was going to be in Switzerland.

.

On Dec. 4, 2009, Polanski was granted house arrest at his Gstaad residence, while awaiting decision of appeals fighting extradition. On Jan. 22, 2010, California Superior Court Judge Peter Espinoza ruled that Polanski must return to be sentenced.

.

On July 12, 2010, officials in Switzerland threw out a request to extradite Polanski to the U.S. for sentencing on the child-sex charge because they could not rule out the possibility that there was a "fault" in the request.

SIMILAR ARTICLES