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Roman Polanski

Polanski with a Crystal Globe, 2005
Born Rajmund Roman Liebling
August 18, 1933
Paris, France
Occupation director, actor, producer, screenwriter
Years active 1953–present
Spouse Barbara Lass
Sharon Tate
Emmanuelle Seigner

Roman Raymond Polanski is a Polish-French film director, producer, writer, and actor. Polanski began his career in Poland, and later became a celebrated Academy Award-winning director of both art house and commercial films, making such films as Rosemary's Baby , Chinatown and The Pianist . Polanski is one of the world's best known contemporary film directors and is widely considered one of the greatest directors of his time. He is also known for his turbulent and controversial personal life. In 1969, his pregnant wife, Sharon Tate, was murdered by the Manson Family. In 1977, he was convicted of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor; he subsequently fled the United States and is presently under arrest in Switzerland pending extradition proceedings.

Polanski's first feature-length film, Knife in the Water , made in Poland, won Polanski his first Academy Award nomination . Polanski left communist Poland to live in France for several years, before moving to Britain, where he collaborated with Gérard Brach on three films, beginning with 1965's Repulsion. In 1968 he moved to the U.S., directing the 1968 Hollywood horror film Rosemary's Baby. After making several independent films, Polanski returned to Hollywood in 1973 to make Chinatown for Paramount Pictures, with Robert Evans serving as producer. The film was nominated for a total of 11 Academy Awards; stars Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway both received nominations for their roles, and the ingeniously plotted script by Robert Towne won for Best Original Screenplay. A major critical and box-office success from the time of its premiere in the summer of 1974, Chinatown is considered Polanski's greatest achievement as a filmmaker. Polanski's next film, The Tenant , was shot in France, and completed his "Apartment Trilogy", following Repulsion and Rosemary's Baby.

In 1977, Polanski was arrested in Los Angeles and pleaded guilty to unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor, a 13-year-old girl . Released after a 42-day psychiatric evaluation, Polanski fled to France, and has had a U.S. arrest warrant outstanding since 1978, and an international arrest warrant since 2005. Polanski for many years avoided visits to countries that were likely to extradite him, such as the United Kingdom, and travelled mostly between France, where he resides, and Poland. As a French citizen, he was protected in France by the country's limited extradition with the U.S. On September 26, 2009, he was arrested, at the request of U.S. authorities, by Swiss police, on arrival at Zürich Airport while trying to enter Switzerland to pick up a lifetime achievement "Golden Icon Award" from the Zurich Film Festival.

After fleeing to Europe following his 1977 U.S. conviction, Polanski continued to direct films, although there was nearly a seven-year break between 1979's Tess and 1986's Pirates, an adventure comedy. Later films include Frantic , Death and the Maiden , The Ninth Gate , The Pianist , and Oliver Twist . The most notable of his later films is The Pianist, a World War II-set adaptation of the autobiography of the same name by Jewish-Polish musician Władysław Szpilman, whose experiences have similarities with Polanski's own . The film won three Academy Awards including Best Director , the Cannes Film Festival's Palme d'Or , and seven French Césars including Best Picture and Best Director. He has also done occasional work in theatre.

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