Everything You Need to Know About Sharon Tate’s Husband (& ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’ Character), Roman Polanski

You’ve seen the trailer, you’ve studied the cast, and now it’s time to get familiar with the real-life celebrities at the center of Quentin Tarantino’s upcoming film, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.

The much talked about film doesn’t hit theaters for another couple of months (ugh, July 26), but that leaves plenty of time to dive into the true story at the core of the movie: the Manson Family murders.

rafal zawierucha and roman polanski side by side

Roman Polanski In ‘once Upon A Time In Hollywood’

Now, we all know about cult leader Charles Manson, and you’ve probably heard the name of late actress Sharon Tate before. But what about Tate’s writer/director husband, the now 85-year-old Roman Polanski, who will be played by Polish actor Rafal Zawierucha?

roman polanski at the airport
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Roman Polanski’s Home & Family Life

Polanski was born in Paris to Polish parents. In 1936, the family returned to Poland and were soon forced to go into hiding when World War II broke out. Both of his parents were put in concentration camps and only his father survived. After the war, Polanski attended film school and took up acting. He went on to make many films and met his second wife, Sharon Tate, after he cast her in the 1967 horror comedy, The Fearless Vampire Killers.

roman polanski and sharon tate on wedding day
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Roman Polanski & Sharon Tate’s Marriage

The couple married on January 20, 1968, in London and moved into a home on Cielo Drive in Beverly Hills, California, afterward. On August 9, 1969, Tate, then eight and half months pregnant, was brutally murdered in their home. Followers of Charles Manson were found responsible for the murder and were convicted.

roman polanski and sharon tate in london
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Where Was Roman Polanski During The Manson Murders?

The night of his wife and unborn son’s murders, Polanski was on location shooting a film in London. In his autobiography, Roman by Polanski, Polanski said being absent during the night of the murders is the biggest regret of his life. He wrote, “Sharon’s death is the only watershed in my life that really matters.”

roman polanski behind the camera
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Roman Polanski’s Movies & Career

In 1962 his first feature film, Knife in the Water, was nominated for an Academy Award for best foreign language film. He then went on to make the previously mentioned Fearless Vampire Killers and gained major notoriety with the cult-classic film Rosemary’s Baby. After Tate’s death, he made Macbeth and the critically acclaimed Chinatown. In 1979 he received three Oscars for his film Tess, which he wrote and directed. He’s made a number of films since then, including three-time Oscar-winner The Pianist (2002) and Oliver Twist (2005).

roman polanski looking pensive
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Roman Polanski’s Life In The Wake Of Sharon Tate’s Death

Following his wife’s death, Polanski openly admitted his personality changed drastically and he became pessimistic. While he continued to experience career success, his personal life took a major downturn. In 1977 he was charged with sexually assaulting an underage model. He opted to not attend his sentencing and instead fled to London and then Paris. He’s remained an international fugitive since.

Polanski married French actress Emmanuelle Seigner (who’s 33 years younger than him) in 1989. They now share two children, a daughter named Morgane and a son named Elvis.

We’ll see how central he is to the Once Upon a Time in Hollywood plot when it debuts on July 26.

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Lex is an LA native who's deeply obsessed with picnics, Slim Aarons, rosé, Hollywood history and Joan Didion. She joined PureWow in early 2017.