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 The Pianist

The Pianist

2002 R

Famed Polish pianist Wladyslaw Szpilman struggles to survive the onslaught of Nazi tyranny during World War II in this drama based on his memoirs. In spite of his well-known talent, Szpilman spends several years holed up in Warsaw, clinging to life.

  • Roman Polanski in Chinatown Chinatown
  • Roman Polanski in The Ghost Writer The Ghost Writer
  • Roman Polanski in Rosemary's Baby Rosemary's Baby
  • Roman Polanski in Venus in Fur Venus in Fur
  • Roman Polanski in Tess Tess
  • Roman Polanski in Carnage Carnage
  • Roman Polanski in Repulsion Repulsion
  • Roman Polanski in Frantic Frantic
  • Roman Polanski in Knife in the Water Knife in the Water
  • Roman Polanski in Oliver Twist Oliver Twist
  • Roman Polanski in Cul-De-Sac Cul-De-Sac
  • Roman Polanski in Macbeth Macbeth
  • Roman Polanski in The Fearless Vampire Killers The Fearless Vampire Killers
  • Roman Polanski in The Ninth Gate The Ninth Gate
  • Roman Polanski in A Generation A Generation
  • Roman Polanski in Weekend of a Champion Weekend of a Champion
  • Roman Polanski in The Fearmakers Collection The Fearmakers Collection
  • Roman Polanski in Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired