Photo of Roman Polanski Roman Polanski

Controversial director Roman Polanski was born Aug. 18, 1933, in Paris. His parents returned to their native Poland shortly before World War II broke out and were taken to concentration camps. Polanski was lucky enough to escape and survive, and he grew up watching movies.

Starting out as an actor, Polanski quickly gained international recognition as a director with Repulsion (1965) and Cul-de-sac (1966). He went to Hollywood in 1968 and made the thriller Rosemary's Baby. After the 1969 murder of his pregnant wife, Sharon Tate, Polanski left the United States, returning in 1974 with Chinatown, which earned him his first Oscar nomination for Best Director.

Fleeing America again -- this time in the wake of a statutory rape conviction -- Polanski continued to make memorable films, including Tess, Frantic, Death and the Maiden and The Pianist (2002), for which he won a Best Director Oscar.

Roman Polanski in Chinatown

Chinatown

1974 R

With a suspicious femme fatale bankrolling his snooping, private eye J.J. Gittes uncovers intricate dirty dealings in the Los Angeles waterworks and gets his nose slashed for his trouble in director Roman Polanski's complex neonoir classic.

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