Page last updated at 15:54 GMT, Tuesday, 12 September 2006 16:54 UK

Lifetime award for Roman Polanski

Roman Polanski
Roman Polanski is a legend in Europe

Legendary film director Roman Polanski is to receive a lifetime achievement award from the European Film Academy.

The Paris-born director, 73, is being recognised for his "impressive contribution to the world of film".

Polanski's films include Rosemary's Baby, Chinatown and The Pianist, for which he won an Oscar in 2002.

He will collect the lifetime achievement award at the European Film Awards being held in Warsaw, Poland, this December.

The film-maker lived in Poland as a child, and survived the Nazi atrocities committed in the Krakow ghetto during the Second World War.

He later escaped the country, but his parents were imprisoned in a concentration camp, and his mother died in a gas chamber.

Polanski revisited these experiences in The Pianist, which tells the story of a virtuoso's escape from a Warsaw ghetto.

As well as the best director Oscar, the film also picked up the Palme D'Or and Baftas for best film and best director.

Hollywood success

The director came to international attention with his debut film, Knife in the Water, in 1962.

He soon moved to Hollywood where he directed a raft of hit movies, including psychological thriller Rosemary's Baby and film noir Chinatown.

But in 1977 Polanski was charged with unlawful sex with a 13-year-old girl at Jack Nicholson's house.

Facing a possible jail sentence if convicted, Polanski chose to jump bail and flee to Europe.

Since then, he has been unable to return to the US. Police said they would arrest the director if he turned up to collect his Oscar in 2002.

Other recipients of the European Film Academy's lifetime achievement award include Sean Connery, Ennio Morricone and the Monty Python team.

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