Roman Polanski
Film director, producer, writer, actor
Roman Polanski
Roman Polanski is a French-Polish film director, producer, writer and actor, Having made films in Poland, Britain, France and the USA, he is considered one of the few "truly international filmmakers. " Polanski's films have inspired diverse directors, including the Coen brothers, Atom Egoyan, Darren Aronofsky, Park Chan-wook, Abel Ferrara, and Wes Craven.
Roman Polanski's personal information overview.
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Roman Polanski Asks U.S. Court to Unseal Testimony
NYTimes - 11 days
The director is hoping that a former prosecutor’s statement will prove that he served his time for unlawful sex with a 13-year-old.
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NYTimes article
Roman Polanski's legal team taking another run at closing rape case, report says
LATimes - 11 days
Roman Polanski is reportedly taking another run at wrapping up his statutory-rape case without doing more time behind bars, according to a report out Thursday. A victory would theoretically lay the groundwork for ending the “Chinatown” director’s fugitive status. Polanski lawyer Harland Braun is...
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LATimes article
Polanski quits French film jury after outcry - about 1 month
PARIS (Reuters) - Movie director Roman Polanski, wanted by the United States for having sex with a minor almost 40 years ago, has turned down an invitation to head the jury at France's Cesar film awards following an outcry from women's groups.
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The Media Wants To Quash Casey Affleck’s Oscar Chances, But It’s Too Late
Huffington Post - 2 months
It’s no coincidence that RadarOnline waited until Casey Affleck took home a Critics’ Choice Award and was about to earn a Golden Globe nomination to rehash the details of the sexual harassment allegations filed against him in 2010. Even though the suit was settled and the “exclusive documents” Radar obtained are, in fact, the same documents that multiple outlets have been reporting for months, the website was presumably waiting for the right moment to strike. In a fairly unprecedented phenomenon, the media appears to be using awards contests as cause to audit celebrities’ morality. We’re seeing that dynamic play out with Affleck, an Oscar front-runner for his performance in “Manchester by the Sea,” one of the year’s indie hits. A Mashable story from September that renewed the attention surrounding Affleck’s case weighed the actor’s awards odds and questioned why “no one” was discussing his allegations. With the 2017 Oscar race heating up over the past two months, the media’s scrut ...
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Huffington Post article
Polanski 'happy' Polish court rejected extradition to US
Yahoo News - 3 months
Oscar-winning director Roman Polanski on Wednesday said he was "happy" the Polish Supreme Court had rejected a bid to extradite him to the United States to face sentencing over a decades-old case of statutory rape. Polanski, who lives in France and had been avoiding Poland because of the court case, now plans to visit his father's grave in the southern city of Krakow. Polanski is wanted in the United States for sentencing over the 1977 statutory rape of Samantha Gailey after a photo shoot in Los Angeles.
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Yahoo News article
Polish court rejects Polanski extradition request - 3 months
Poland's supreme court has upheld an earlier verdict that Oscar-winning filmmaker Roman Polanski cannot be extradited to the United States. Francis Maguire reports.
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Bill Cosby's Lawyers Just Pulled The Race Card He Never Seemed To Believe In
Huffington Post - 6 months
As Bill Cosby nears a potentially messy, public trial regarding his alleged sexual assault, his legal team is trying a controversial new tactic.  Cosby’s lawyers have claimed that racism is the reason their client has been the target of numerous rape and sexual assault allegations.   On Tuesday, at a Philadelphia court hearing regarding a 2004 incident in which Cosby allegedly assaulted former Temple University employee Andrea Constand, the presiding judge announced plans to begin a jury trial by June 2017.  After the hearing, Cosby’s legal team spoke out about apparent “racial bias and prejudice” against their client outside of the courthouse.   “Mr. Cosby is no stranger to discrimination and racial hatred, and throughout his career Mr. Cosby has always used his voice and his celebrity to highlight the commonalities and has portrayed the differences that are not negative, no matter the race, gender and religion of a person,” lawyer Brian McMonagle said in a statement to ...
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Huffington Post article
The Past And Present Of Nate Parker
Huffington Post - 6 months
Rape, racial justice, and rehabilitation are on Hollywood's doorstep. Nate Parker is the breakout director and star of the much-anticipated film "The Birth of a Nation," due out in October, a century after D.W. Griffith's racist movie of the same name. It emerged at the Sundance Film Festival as a compelling film about the 1831 Nat Turner rebellion. But it has been overshadowed by the terrible way Parker and Fox Searchlight addressed Parker's 2001 acquittal in a rape case in which he and college wrestling teammate (now co-writer) Jean Celestin had sex with a drunk woman. The studio showed more concern for the film's Oscar chances than for the woman, who killed herself in 2012. The controversy over Parker's past sparks a memory from my own. I was 25. An older man invited me to dinner at his home in Southwest DC, where he spoke animatedly of how composer Leonard Bernstein had once spent a day with him giving insights into "Mass," the theatre piece he composed for the openi ...
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Huffington Post article
Roman Polanski picks France over Poland to shoot new movie on Dreyfus affair
LATimes - 9 months
Roman Polanski is planning to shoot his next movie in France and not Poland, as previously announced, his producer has confirmed. But the change isn’t connected to the Polish government's recent decision to revive efforts to extradite the filmmaker to the U.S., the producer said. Polanski has decided...
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LATimes article
Polish government says will extradite Polanski to U.S. if wins court approval - 9 months
WARSAW/KRAKOW, Poland (Reuters) - Poland intends to extradite filmmaker Roman Polanski to the United States over a 1977 child sex conviction if the supreme court approves the move, the justice minister said on Wednesday, in a new twist to a decades-long legal battle.
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Poland Revives Effort to Extradite Roman Polanski
NYTimes - 9 months
The move is the latest twist in the case involving the filmmaker, who is wanted in California over a 1977 conviction for having sex with a 13-year-old girl.
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NYTimes article
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Roman Polanski
  • 2016
    Age 82
    The film starts production in November 2016 from a script adapted by Polanski and Olivier Assayas.
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  • 2015
    Age 81
    On 30 October 2015, Polish judge Dariusz Mazur denied a request by the United States to extradite Polanski.
    More Details Hide Details According to the judge, allowing Polanski to be returned to American law enforcement would be an “obviously unlawful” act, depriving the filmmaker of his freedom and civil liberty. His lawyers argued that extradition would violate the European Convention on Human Rights. Polanski holds dual citizenship with Poland and France. In 2004, Polanski sued Vanity Fair magazine in London for libel. A 2002 article in the magazine claimed that Polanski promised he would "make another Sharon Tate out of you" in an attempt to seduce a Scandinavian model while he was travelling to Tate's funeral. He received supporting testimony from Mia Farrow, and Vanity Fair "was unable to prove that the incident occurred." Polanski was awarded £50,000 in damages plus some of his legal costs. New York Film Critics Circle Awards Venice Film Festival
    The court's decision was confirmed on 27 November 2015, saying it will not extradite Polanski.
    More Details Hide Details Prosecutors declined to challenge the court's ruling, agreeing that Polanski had served his punishment and did not need to face a U.S. court again. Preparations for a movie he was working on about the Dreyfus affair had been stalled by the extradition request from last year. In 2008, the documentary film by Marina Zenovich, Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired, was released in Europe and the United States where it won numerous awards. The film focuses on the judge in the case and the possible reasons why he changed his mind. It includes interviews with people involved in the case, including the victim, Geimer, and the prosecutor, Roger Gunson. Geimer said that the judge "didn't care what happened" to her or Polanski, but "was orchestrating some little show," while Gunson added, "I'm not surprised that Polanski left under those circumstances,... it was going to be a real circus."
    On 30 October 2015, Polish judge Dariusz Mazur denied a request by the United States to extradite Polanski for a full trial, claiming that it would be “obviously unlawful.” Polanski holds dual citizenship with Poland and France.
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  • 2014
    Age 80
    In late October 2014, Polanski was questioned by prosecutors in Kraków.
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    In January 2014, newly uncovered emails by a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge from 2008, indicated that if Polanski returned to the United States for a hearing, the conduct of the judge who had originally presided over the case might require that Polanski be freed.
    More Details Hide Details These emails were related to a 2008 documentary film by Marina Zenovich.
  • 2010
    Age 76
    Polanski was jailed near Zürich for two months, then put under house arrest at his home in Gstaad while awaiting decision of appeals fighting extradition. On 12 July 2010, the Swiss rejected the United States' request, declared Polanski a "free man" and released him from custody.
    More Details Hide Details He remains the subject of an Interpol red notice issued in 2005 at the request of the United States. During a television interview on 10 March 2011, Geimer blamed the media, reporters, the court, and the judge for causing "way more damage to her and her family than anything Roman Polanski has ever done", and opined that the judge was using her and Polanski for the media exposure.
  • 2009
    Age 75
    In December 2009, a California appellate court discussed the film's allegations as it denied Polanski's request to have the case dismissed.
    More Details Hide Details While saying they were "deeply concerned" the court, and were "in many cases supported by considerable evidence," it also found that “(e)ven in light of our fundamental concern about the misconduct... flight was not Polanski’s only option. It was not even his best option." It said dismissal of the case, which would erase Polanski's guilty plea, wouldn't be an "appropriate result," and that he still had other legal options. In September 2011, the documentary film Roman Polanski: A Film Memoir had its world premiere in Zürich, Switzerland. During an interview in the film, he offers his apology to Geimer: "She is a double victim: My victim, and a victim of the press." On this occasion, he collected the lifetime achievement award he was to have received at the time of his arrest two years earlier.
    On 26 September 2009, Polanski was arrested while in Switzerland at the request of United States authorities.
    More Details Hide Details The arrest brought renewed attention to the case and stirred controversy, particularly in the United States and Europe. Polanski was defended by many prominent individuals, including Hollywood celebrities and European artists and politicians, who called for his release. American public opinion was reported to run against him, however, and polls in France and Poland showed that strong majorities favored his extradition to the United States.
  • 1998
    Age 64
    On 1998, Polanski was elected a member of the Académie des Beaux-Arts.
    More Details Hide Details The Ninth Gate (1999) The Ninth Gate is a thriller based on the novel El Club Dumas by Arturo Perez-Reverte and starring Johnny Depp. The movie's plot is based on the idea that an ancient text called "The Nine Gates of the Kingdom of Shadow", authored by Aristide Torchia along with Lucifer, is the key to raising Satan. The Pianist (2002) In 2001, Polanski filmed The Pianist, an adaptation of the WWII autobiography of the same name by Polish-Jewish musician Władysław Szpilman. Szpilman's experiences as a persecuted Jew in Poland during WWII were reminiscent of those of Polanski and his family. While Szpilman and Polanski escaped the concentration camps, their families did not, eventually perishing. When Warsaw, Poland, was chosen for the 2002 premiere of The Pianist, "the country exploded with pride." According to reports, numerous former communists came to the screening and "agreed that it was a fantastic film."
  • 1997
    Age 63
    In 1997, Polanski directed a stage version of his 1967 film The Fearless Vampire Killers, which debuted in Vienna followed by successful runs in Stuttgart, Hamburg, Berlin, and Budapest.
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  • 1996
    Age 62
    In August 1996, Polanski still owed her $604,416; Geimer and her lawyers later confirmed that the settlement was completed.
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  • 1993
    Age 59
    In 1993, Polanski agreed to settle with Geimer.
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  • 1989
    Age 55
    In 1989, Polanski married French actress Emmanuelle Seigner, 33 years his junior.
    More Details Hide Details They have two children, daughter Morgane and son Elvis. Polanski and his children speak Polish at home.
  • 1988
    Age 54
    In 1988 she sued Polanski.
    More Details Hide Details Among other things, the suit alleged sexual assault, false imprisonment, seduction of a minor, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
  • 1982
    Age 48
    In an interview with David Letterman in 1982, she described their relationship and gave her opinion about his sexual assault case, claiming it was "ridiculous" and his residence in France was "a loss for America."
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  • 1978
    Age 44
    Polanski caught a flight to London on 1 February 1978, just hours before sentencing.
    More Details Hide Details As a French citizen, he has been protected from extradition and has lived mostly in France since then. However, since he fled the country before final sentencing, the charges are still pending. In an interview with Larry King, the victim, now married and going by the name Samantha Geimer, stated that the police and media had been slow at the time of the assault to believe her account, which she attributed to the climate of the era.
  • 1977
    Age 43
    On 11 March 1977, three years after making Chinatown, Polanski was arrested at Jack Nicholson's home for the sexual assault of 13-year-old Samantha Gailey, who was modeling for Polanski during a Vogue magazine photo shoot around the pool.
    More Details Hide Details Polanski was indicted on six counts of criminal behavior, including rape. At his arraignment, he pleaded not guilty to all charges. Many executives in Hollywood came to his defense. Gailey's attorney next arranged a plea bargain in which five of the six charges would be dismissed, and Polanski accepted. At the time of the incident, Nicholson was out of town making a film, but his steady girlfriend, actress Anjelica Huston, had dropped by unannounced to pick up some items. She heard Polanski in the other room say "We'll be right out." Polanski then came out with Gailey and he introduced her to Huston, and they chatted about Nicholson's two large dogs which were sitting nearby. Huston recalled Gailey was wearing platform heels and appeared quite tall. After a brief conversation, Polanski had packed up his camera gear and Huston saw them drive off in his car. Huston told police the next day, after Polanski was arrested, that she "had witnessed nothing untoward" and never saw them together in the other room. Gailey learned afterwards that Huston had recently broken up with Nicholson, but stopped by to pick up some belongings.
  • 1976
    Age 42
    In 1976, Polanski started a romantic relationship with Nastassja Kinski, who starred in Tess.
    More Details Hide Details She was between 15 and 17 years old at the time and he was 43. Their relationship ended at the completion of filming.
  • 1969
    Age 35
    Manson, along with members of his "family", was arrested in late 1969, and eventually tried and found guilty in 1971 of 27 counts, including first-degree murder, an event now called the Manson murders.
    More Details Hide Details Because at the time it was one of the most "horrific crimes in modern history," the crime and trial of Manson and his followers became a media sensation, leading to movies, documentaries and bestselling books. Polanski has said that his absence on the night of the murders is the greatest regret of his life. In his autobiography, he wrote, "Sharon's death is the only watershed in my life that really matters", and commented that her murder changed his personality from a "boundless, untroubled sea of expectations and optimism" to one of "ingrained pessimism... eternal dissatisfaction with life". In his autobiography, Polanski described his brief time with Tate as the best years of his life. Polanski was also left with a very negative impression of the press, which he felt was interested in sensationalizing the lives of the victims, and indirectly himself, to attract readers. He was shocked by the lack of sympathy expressed in various news stories:
    In August 1969, while Polanski was in Europe working on a film, Tate was murdered along with four of their friends at their home in Los Angeles by members of Charles Manson's "family," a group of young, gullible, and mostly female followers.
    More Details Hide Details Tate was pregnant at the time of her murder.
  • 1968
    Age 34
    Polanski met rising actress Sharon Tate while filming The Fearless Vampire Killers, and during the production, the two of them began dating. On 1968, Polanski married Tate in London.
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    Polanski met Sharon Tate while the film was being made, where she played the role of the local innkeeper's daughter. They were married in London on 1968.
    More Details Hide Details Shortly after they married, Polanski, with Tate at his side during a documentary film, described the demands of young movie viewers who he said always wanted to see something "new" and "different". Rosemary's Baby (1968) Paramount studio head Robert Evans brought Polanski to America ostensibly to direct the film Downhill Racer, but told Polanski that he really wanted to him to read the horror novel Rosemary's Baby by Ira Levin to see if a film could be made out of it. Polanski read it non-stop through the night and the following morning decided he wanted to write as well as direct it. He wrote the 272-page screenplay for the film in slightly longer than three weeks. The film, Rosemary's Baby (1968), was a box-office success and became his first Hollywood production, thereby establishing his reputation as a major commercial filmmaker. The film, a horror-thriller set in trendy Manhattan, is about Rosemary Woodhouse (Mia Farrow), a young housewife who is impregnated by the devil. Polanski's screenplay adaptation earned him a second Academy Award nomination.
  • 1964
    Age 30
    The Tenant (1976) Polanski returned to Paris for his next film, The Tenant (1976), which was based on a 1964 novel by Roland Topor, a French writer of Polish-Jewish origin.
    More Details Hide Details In addition to directing the film, Polanski also played a leading role of a timid Polish immigrant living in Paris. Together with Repulsion and Rosemary's Baby, The Tenant can be seen as the third installment in a loose trilogy of films called the "Apartment Trilogy" that explore the themes of social alienation and psychic and emotional breakdown. In 1978, Polanski became a fugitive from American justice and could no longer work in countries where he might face arrest or extradition. Tess (1979) He dedicated his next film, Tess (1979), to the memory of his late wife, Sharon Tate. It was Tate who suggested to Polanski that he read Tess of the d'Urbervilles, as she felt it might make a good film. Nastassja Kinski appeared in the title role opposite Peter Firth and Leigh Lawson. Tess was shot in the north of France instead of Hardy's England and became the most expensive film made in France up to that time. Ultimately, it proved a financial success and was well received by both critics and the public. Polanski won France's César Awards for Best Picture and Best Director and received his fourth Academy Award nomination (and his second nomination for Best Director). The film received three Oscars: best cinematography, best art direction, best costume design, and was nominated for best picture.
    While in France, Polanski contributed one segment ("La rivière de diamants") to the French-produced omnibus film, Les plus belles escroqueries du monde (English title: The Beautiful Swindlers) in 1964.
    More Details Hide Details However, Polanski found that in the early 1960s, the French film industry was xenophobic and generally unwilling to support a rising filmmaker of foreign origin. Repulsion (1965) Polanski made three feature films in England, based on original scripts written by himself and Gérard Brach, a frequent collaborator. Repulsion (1965) is a psychological horror film focusing on a young Belgian woman named Carol (Catherine Deneuve), who is living in London with her older sister (Yvonne Furneaux). The film's themes, situations, visual motifs, and effects clearly reflect the influence of early surrealist cinema as well as horror movies of the 1950s—particularly Luis Buñuel's Un chien Andalou, Jean Cocteau's The Blood of a Poet, Henri-Georges Clouzot's Diabolique and Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho. Cul-de-sac (1966) Cul-de-sac (1966) is a bleak nihilist tragicomedy filmed on location in Northumberland. The tone and premise of the film owe a great deal to Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot, along with aspects of Harold Pinter's The Birthday Party.
  • 1961
    Age 27
    Polanski left then-communist Poland and moved to France, where he had already made two notable short films in 1961: The Fat and the Lean and Mammals.
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  • 1959
    Age 25
    The couple were married in 1959 and divorced in 1961.
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    He graduated in 1959.
    More Details Hide Details Knife in the Water (1962) Polanski's first feature-length film, Knife in the Water, was also one of the first significant Polish films after the Second World War that did not have a war theme. Scripted by Jerzy Skolimowski, Jakub Goldberg, and Polanski, Knife in the Water is about a wealthy, unhappily married couple who decide to take a mysterious hitchhiker with them on a weekend boating excursion. A dark and unsettling work, Polanski's debut feature subtly evinces a profound pessimism about human relationships with regard to the psychological dynamics and moral consequences of status envy and sexual jealousy. Knife in the Water was a major commercial success in the West and gave Polanski an international reputation. The film also earned its director his first Academy Award nomination (Best Foreign Language Film) in 1963. Leon Niemczyk, who played Andrzej, was the only professional actor in the film. Jolanta Umecka, who played Krystyna, was discovered by Polanski at a swimming pool.
  • 1955
    Age 21
    Polanski's directorial debut was also in 1955 with a short film Rower (Bicycle).
    More Details Hide Details Rower is a semi-autobiographical feature film, believed to be lost, which also starred Polanski. It refers to his real-life violent altercation with a notorious Kraków felon, Janusz Dziuba, who arranged to sell Polanski a bicycle, but instead beat him badly and stole his money. In real life, the offender was arrested while fleeing after fracturing Polanski's skull, and executed for three murders, out of eight prior such assaults which he had committed. Several other short films made during his study at Łódź gained him considerable recognition, particularly Two Men and a Wardrobe (1958) and When Angels Fall (1959).
  • 1946
    Age 12
    After the war, he was reunited with his father and moved back to Kraków. His father remarried 21 December 1946 to Wanda Zajączkowska (a woman Polanski had never liked) and died of cancer in 1984.
    More Details Hide Details Time repaired the family contacts; Polanski visited them in Kraków, and relatives visited him in Hollywood and Paris. This Polish village was like the English village in Tess. Very primitive. No electricity. The kids with whom I lived didn't know about electricity... they wouldn't believe me when I told them it was enough to turn on a switch! He stated that "you must live in a Communist country to really understand how bad it can be. Then you will appreciate capitalism." He also remembered events at the war's end and his reintroduction to mainstream society when he was 12, forming friendships with other children, such as Roma Ligocka, Ryszard Horowitz and his family. Polanski's fascination with cinema began very early, when he was around age four or five. Then we were put into the ghetto in Krakòw and there was no cinema, but the Germans often showed newsreels to the people outside the ghetto, on a screen in the market place. And there was one particular corner where you could see the screen through the barbed wire. I remember watching with fascination, although all they were showing was the German army and German tanks, with occasional anti-Jewish slogans inserted on cards.
  • 1945
    Age 11
    By the time the war ended in 1945, a fifth of the Polish population had been killed, with the vast majority of the victims being civilians.
    More Details Hide Details Of those deaths, 3 million were of Polish Jews, 90% of the country's Jewish population. According to Sandford, Polanski would use the memory of his mother, her dress and makeup style, as a physical model for Faye Dunaway's character in his film Chinatown (1974).
  • 1937
    Age 3
    Born in Paris to Polish parents, he moved with his family back to Poland (Second Polish Republic) in 1937, shortly before the outbreak of World War II.
    More Details Hide Details He survived the Holocaust, was educated in Poland (People's Republic of Poland), and became a director of both art house and commercial films. Polanski's first feature-length film, Knife in the Water (1962), made in Poland, was nominated for a United States Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. He has since received five more Oscar nominations, along with two Baftas, four Césars, a Golden Globe Award and the Palme d'Or of the Cannes Film Festival in France. In the United Kingdom he directed three films, beginning with Repulsion (1965). In 1968 he moved to the United States and cemented his status by directing the horror film Rosemary's Baby (1968), for which Ruth Gordon won an Academy Award as Best Supporting Actress. In 1969, Polanski's pregnant wife, Sharon Tate, was murdered by members of the Manson Family while staying at Polanski's Benedict Canyon, California home. Following Tate's death, Polanski returned to Europe and spent much of his time in Paris and Gstaad, but did not direct another film until Macbeth (1971) in England. The following year he went to Italy to make What? (1973) and subsequently spent the next five years living near Rome. However, he travelled to Hollywood to direct Chinatown (1974). The film was nominated for eleven Academy Awards, and was a critical and box-office success. Polanski's next film, The Tenant (1976), was shot in France, and completed the "Apartment Trilogy", following Repulsion and Rosemary's Baby.
  • 1933
    Born in 1933.
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