8 Decades of The Hollywood Reporter
Roman Polanski, whose Carnage has its U.S. premiere Sept. 30 at the New York Film Festival, said in 1979, "Of course, my life has been very strange, full of strange things." It's a life that has included hiding from the Nazis as a 6-year-old in Poland from 1939 to 1945; a guilty plea to the charge of unlawful sex with a minor in L.A. in 1977 that made him a fugitive in the U.S.; and five Oscar nominations, including a win for 2002's The Pianist. But it was the death of his second wife, Dallas-born actress-model Sharon Tate, that was the earthquake in his life. Polanski met Tate while directing The Fearless Vampire Killers. He had wanted the redheaded Jill St. John, but the producer chose Tate. Polanski insisted she wear a red wig during filming. The film flopped, but his next project was Rosemary's Baby, a major hit. Hers was Valley of the Dolls, for which Tate received a 1968 Golden Globe nomination. The Hollywood Reporter called her "an important and promising young actress." Then, on Aug. 9, 1969, Tate, 26 and eight months pregnant, was murdered with four others by the Manson Family at the couple's rented Benedict Canyon home. (Polanski, 35, was in London.) The irony was the killers were after the previous occupant -- Doris Day's son, record producer Terry Melcher, who had lived there with girlfriend Candice Bergen. Said Polanski in 1970: "Without her, I feel lost. I can't explain this in words. However, there are things that I just can't stand thinking of, the way she and our son died."