Timeline of Director Roman Polanski's Life

Director Roman Polanski, above in 1977, has garnered much acclaim for his films, but his life also has included bizarre and terrible events.
Director Roman Polanski, above in 1977, has garnered much acclaim for his films, but his life also has included bizarre and terrible events. (Associated Press)
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Monday, September 28, 2009

A timeline of events in Roman Polanski's life:

A CHILDHOOD OF HORROR

Polanski is born to Polish Jewish parents in Paris on Aug. 18, 1933, the family moving back to Poland when he is 3. He escapes Krakow's Jewish ghetto after the Nazi invasion, surviving off the kindness of strangers who help hide him in the countryside during World War II. His mother dies at Auschwitz, though his father survives the Mauthausen death camp.

MOVE TO HOLLYWOOD

Polanski breaks in as a director on short films in Poland before making his feature debut with the 1962 psychological thriller "Knife in the Water," which is nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign-Language Film. After moving to Hollywood, he makes an immediate impact with 1968's creepy sensation "Rosemary's Baby," starring Mia Farrow as a woman whose pregnancy is awash in horror and satanic doings. Success gives way to personal horror a year later when Polanski's pregnant wife, Sharon Tate, is murdered in a killing spree by followers of cult figure Charles Manson.

EXCELLENCE TO EXILE

In 1974, Polanski teams with Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway and John Huston for one of cinema's great detective stories, "Chinatown," both a homage and a down-and-dirty reinvention of classic film noir. The film picks up 11 Oscar nominations, including Best Picture and Director for Polanski, though it wins only the Screenwriting award. The film catapults Polanski to the forefront of Hollywood filmmakers. In 1977, Polanski is accused of raping a 13-year-old girl he photographed during a modeling session at Nicholson's home. In a deal with prosecutors, Polanski pleads guilty to one of six charges against him, unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor, and is sent to prison for 42 days of psychological evaluation. Faced with the prospect of further prison time, Polanski flees the country in 1978, living as an exile in France.

In 1989, Polanski marries actress Emmanuelle Seigner, with whom he has two children. Twenty years after charges were filed against him, the woman he's accused of raping goes public for the first time. Samantha Geimer says she wishes Polanski could reach a deal with the courts and end his years as a fugitive. Though Polanski has called Geimer a sophisticated teen who willingly had sex with him, she says he coaxed her with drugs and champagne. Geimer says she would not call it rape but that the sex was not consensual.


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