Roman Polanski (born 18.8.1933)
Roman Polanski is a Polish-French film director, producer and actor. As a director, he has earned a great deal of acclaim. However, his personal life has been blighted by controversy, which has often overshadowed his career.
Roman Polanksi: Childhood
Roman Polanski was born Rajmund Roman Liebling in Paris, France, to Bula and Ryszard Liebling (aka Ryszard Polanksi). His father was a plastics manufacturer and a painter. His father was a Polish Jew and his mother was a Catholic. The Polanski family lived in Krakow during World War II. They were forced in the ghetto, along with thousands of Jews.
Polanski's mother perished in Auschwitz, but his father survived the Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp. After the war, Roman was reunited with his father, who died of cancer in 1984.
Roman Polanski: A Career in Film
Roman Polanski graduated from the Polish film school in Lodz in 1959. He had already taken up acting, appearing in Pokolenie in 1954, as well as Zaczarowany Rower He made his own directorial debut in 1955 with a short film entitled Rower. Two other films, Two Men and a Wardrobe and When Angels Fall (1959).
Roman Polanski's first full-length film was Knife in the Water, the first significant post-WWII film not to have a war theme. Polanski earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Foreign Language Film.
Polanski then moved to England and collaborated with Gerard Brach on Repulsion (starring Catherine Deneuve), a film heavily influenced by the likes of Alfred Hitchcock, Jean Cocteau and Luis Bunuel.
Polanski then made Cul-de-Sac in 1966; a bleak tragicomedy filmed on location in Northumberland. Stylistically, the film was indebted to Samuel Beckett and Harold Pinter. It stars Jack McGowran, Donald Pleasence and Francoise Dorleac.
The following year, Roman Polanski released The Fearless Vampire Killers, a parody of Hammer Studio's horror films. The film featured Polanski's future wife, Sharon Tate. Roman Polanski's career soon found more widespread acclaim when he relocated to the USA and made Rosemary's Baby in 1968. The film starred Mia Farrow and John Cassavetes.
Following the murder of his wife, Sharon Tate, the first film that Roma Polanski made was The Tragedy of Macbeth, starring Jon Finch and Francesca Annis.
In 1973, Roman Polanski made Chinatown. The film was nominated for 11 Oscars, including Best Actor / Actress awards for Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway. Chinatown is considered by many to be Polanski's finest hour as a filmmaker.
Polanski's next film, The Tenant was made in Europe in 1976. It was an adaptation of a novel by Roland Topor and stars Polanski himself, as well as Shelley Winters and Isabelle Adjani. This was followed by an adaptation of Thomas Hardy's Tess of the d'Urbervilles, entitled simply Tess. The title role was played by Natassja Kinski.
Polanski's next few films were steady performers: Pirates starred Walter Matthau and was intended as homage to Errol Flynn and the swashbucklers he loved as a child. Then came Frantic, starring Harrison Ford, Bitter Moon with Hugh Grant and Kristin Scott Thomas and The Ninth Gate, starring Johnny Depp in 1999.
Roman Polanski then released The Piano in 2002. The film starred Adrien Brody and won the Best Director Academy Award. Two years later, he released a new adaptation of Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist, starring Ben Kingsley, Barney Clark and Harry Eden.
In 2009, Roman Polanski began working on The Ghost, starring Ewan McGregor and Pierce Brosnan.
Roman Polanski: Personal Life
Roman Polanski was married to the actress Barbara Lass between 1959 and 1961. He then married Sharon Tate in London in 1968. The following year, she was murdered by followers of Charles Manson in Los Angeles. In 1989, Roma Polanski married Emmanuelle Seigner. They have two children together, Morgane and Elvis.
In 1977, Roman Polanski was charged with a number of offences against a 13 year old girl, Samantha Geimer. Polanski fled to France before he could be formally sentenced. As a French citizen, he was protected from extradition and the director has avoided traveling to countries where he is likely to be extradited. In September 2009, Polanski was arrested as he tried to enter Switzerland, where he was due to receive an award at the Zurich Film Festival.