Son of a painter of Polish origin, Roman Polanski was born on August 18, 1933 in Paris. Roman Polanski went to live in Poland with his family in 1937 and was deported by his parents during the Second World War. The young boy survived as best he could in the suburbs of Krakow and was reunited with his father, who survived, at the end of the war in 1945. Unfortunately, Roman Polanski’s mother did not escape from the Auschwitz camp.
Fascinated by drawing, Roman Polanski turned to the Krakow School of Fine Arts before being offered a role in the play The Son of the Regiment in 1948. This first step on the stage made him famous in Poland. Attracted by directing, Roman Polanski joined the Lotz Film School in the early 1950s where he perfected his technique and made his first short films. It was also at this time that he married his muse, the actress Barbara Lass (1959-1962).
From then on, he took the plunge and made his first feature film in 1962, The Knife in the Water, for which he received a nomination for the Oscar for best foreign film. In January 1968, he married actress Sharon Tate for a second time. The following year, Roman Polanski saw a new drama. In August 1969, his wife, eight months pregnant, was murdered by disciples of the serial killer Charles Manson.
At the end of a long depression, Roman Polanski manages to bounce back and continues filming. In 1974, he directed Chinatown, which received eleven Oscar nominations. But in 1977, he is accused of rape of a minor. After pleading guilty and spending months in prison, he took advantage of a leave of absence to escape to France.
Living in France, the filmmaker continues his career and shoots several films: Tess, Frantic, Lunes of Bile and The Ninth Door. In 2002, he triumphed with the film The Pianist, which won the Palme d’Or at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival and seven Césars in 2003. In September 2009, more than twenty years after the events, Roman Polanski was arrested by the Swiss police in Zurich on his way to a festival, caught up in the 1977 case. In July 2010, he was finally released by the Swiss authorities who refused to extradite him to the United States.
The director returns to the forefront with The Ghost writer (2010) and The Furry Venus (2013). In May 2017, his film Based on a True Story, adapted from the book by Delphine de Vigan and starring Emmanuelle Seigner and Eva Green, was presented out of competition at the 70th Cannes Film Festival.
On February 28, 2020, he won the César for best director for his film, J’accuse.
On the private side, in 1989, Roman Polanski married actress Emmanuelle Seigner, 33 years his junior. Together, they have two children, Morgane (born in 1993) and Elvis (born in 1998).