Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Roman Polanski

Polanski Flees

On February 1, 1978, Polanski fled. He drove to the Beverly Hills house of Dino DeLaurentis, the Italian producer. The producer gave him $1,000 in cash. Polanski then drove to Los Angeles International Airport and bought a one-way ticket to London. In London, Polanski then quickly bought another one-way ticket to Paris, where he has lived since.

Movie poster: The Pianist
Movie poster: The Pianist

"I ran away because I think I was very unfortunate to have a judge who misused justice," he told Mike Wallace. "I was some kind of mouse with which an abominable cat was picking for sport."

Dalton filed a motion to have the judge dismissed for prejudice. Rittenband was removed.

Polanski picked Paris because he was citizen of the France by birth and because French law made it only discretionary to send him back for a charge of unlawful sexual intercourse; it would have been mandatory if Polanski had pleaded guilty to rape.

In France, Polanski has enjoyed a place in the cultural establishment. He was elected a member of the prestigious Académie des Beaux-Arts and has worked on ten movies. One of them, The Pianist, won several Oscars — including Best Director and Best Actor for the lead actor, Adrian Brody. Polanski, of course, didn't come to the U.S. to receive the honor.

On September 27, 2009, though, Polanski was arrested and held by Swiss authorities while traveling to Zurich, Switzerland, where he was going to receive the Golden Icon Award at the Zurich Film Festival.

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