"I can only say that whatever my life and work have been, I'm not envious of anyone, and this is my biggest satisfaction." (Roman Polanski)
"Polanski claims in Roman by Polanski, his autobiography, that for him the line between reality and fantasy has always been blurred." [Daniel Bird, Roman Polanski: The Pocket Essential Guide (2009)]
Few figures in Hollywood's history have been as acclaimed and controversial as director Roman Polanski, whose legendary films would stand out if not for the fact that they're often eclipsed by the turbulent life he's led. The son of Polish parents, Polanski survived World War II despite having both parents transferred to concentration camps during the Holocaust, but his mother was killed at Auschwitz. Despite the terrible ordeal and the loss of his mother, Polanski would grow up to become one of Europe's best directors, and over the course of a career spanning about 50 years, his films have been nominated for too many awards to count. Given that background, Polanski would represent one of Hollywood's greatest success stories, but far from having a fairy-tale ending, he would endure more hardships. During the second half of the 1960s, he was linked to American actress Sharon Tate, but shortly after the couple was married, Polanski's pregnant wife was murdered in gruesome fashion by members of Charlie Manson's Family. Shortly after her death, he was criticized for posing for photographs in the room where she had been murdered, but in his autobiography, Polanski wrote glowingly of his wife, "Sharon was more than just stunning to look at. She wasn't naive or stupid or a cliché starlet. What had impressed me most about her, quite apart from her exceptional beauty, was the sort of radiance that springs from a kind and gentle nature; she had obvious hang-ups yet seemed completely liberated. I'd never met anyone like her before."
Unfortunately, more controversial things were to come. Polanski was accused of sexually assaulting a teenager in 1977 after a photo shoot in Los Angeles, but he avoided being sentenced by fleeing to France and, despite being controversial and having been subjected to extradition requests by the American government, remains free and occasionally directs films.
Legends of Hollywood: The Life and Legacy of Roman Polanski examines the life and career of one of the movie industry's most notorious figures. You will learn about Roman Polanski like never before, in no time at all.
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