director, screenwriter, actor
Birthplace: Paris, France
A survivor of war-torn Nazi Poland, Polanski first came to prominence as a director of Polish films before moving to France and then England. His first feature film, Knife in the Water (1962) , was nominated for an Oscar for best foreign film. Polanski's first Hollywood movie, Rosemary's Baby (1968) pulled in another Oscar nomination, as did Chinatown (1974) and Tess (1979). His second wife, Sharon Tate, was murdered, together with friends, by the Charles Manson gang in 1969. Polanski fled the United States in 1979 to avoid legal proceedings related to his alleged rape of a 13-year-old girl. He continues to act and direct intermittently.