Born in Paris to Polish-Jewish parents, Polanski dealt with the terrors of his childhood - including internment in Auschwitz - by creating an elaborate fantasy world in which he lived as a film star.
He would go on to become one of the very best and most infamous directors in Hollywood's history - with a backlist that includes "Repulsion", "Rosemary's Baby", "Macbeth", "Chinatown", "Tess", "Frantic" and, more recently, the Oscar- and Golden Globe-winning "The Pianist".
Yet, it is within his own personal life that the most dramatic story unfolds - he's been at the centre of two of the most lurid crimes ever committed in Hollywood.
In August 1969 his wife Sharon Tate, eight months pregnant, and seven of the couple's friends were butchered by the Manson family; Polanski himself, who was in London at the time, was the intended target.
Eight years later he was arrested by LA police on charges of drugging and raping a 13-year old model and aspiring actress.
He fled the country and has since lived in exile in Paris, where he complains of continual harassment by the US authorities. Polanski's latest film was the hit "Oliver Twist" and, "Variety" insists, he promises to follow it with his long-awaited version of the Tate killings.
Both projects, dealing with child exploitation and murder, can only fuel the controversy that surrounds him.
This biography is the first chance his fans and detractors will have to read about him in real depth.
It will reveal the brilliant invention, self-destruction, talent, self-destruction, sex, drugs and wild excesses, with names and stories told for the first time.
Fascinating, flawed, wildy creative, this is the full, uncut story of one of the greatest directors of our time.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 496 pages, 16
- Publisher: Cornerstone
- Publication Date: 05/02/2009
- Category: Individual film directors, film-makers
- ISBN: 9780099486848