Polanski made 'vulgar' advances, court hears

21st July 2005, Comments 0 comments

LONDON, July 20 (AFP) - Oscar-winning film director Roman Polanski made "tasteless and vulgar" advances towards a Scandinavian model shortly after the brutal murder of his wife, a court in London was told on Wednesday.

LONDON, July 20 (AFP) - Oscar-winning film director Roman Polanski made "tasteless and vulgar" advances towards a Scandinavian model shortly after the brutal murder of his wife, a court in London was told on Wednesday.

The Polish-born film maker caressed the woman's leg and said he could "make another Sharon Tate" out of her, a reference to his late actress wife, Harper's magazine editor Lewis Lapham told the High Court.

"I was impressed by the remark, not only because it was tasteless and vulgar but because it was a cliché," said Lapham, adding that he was "astonished" at Polanski's actions.

Polanski is suing the publishers of Vanity Fair for libel after the magazine ran an article in 2002 claiming -- with Lapham as the source -- that the director tried to seduce a woman on his way to Tate's funeral.

The heavily pregnant Tate and four of her friends were murdered at Polanski's California home in August 1969 by followers of cult leader and serial killer Charles Manson. The director was in London at the time.

Vanity Fair has since conceded that Polanski did not go to New York, where the alleged flirtation took place, en route to the funeral.

But it claims that the incident at Elaine's restaurant did take place as described about two weeks later.

When the case opened on Monday, Polanski, 71, who won a best director Oscar for "The Pianist" in 2003, described the story as "an abominable lie".

The next day, US actress Mia Farrow, who starred in Polanski's 1968 hit "Rosemary's Baby", recounted being in Elaine's with the director shortly after his wife died and watching him completely ignore female attention.

Lapham, the editor of the US culture magazine for more than two decades, told the court he had been at the restaurant with a male friend and his girlfriend, a Norwegian fashion model called Beatte Telle, when Polanski arrived and sat at their table.

"He began to talk to her in a forward way. He began to praise her beauty and speak to her -- romance her," he said.

"At one point he had his hand on her leg and said to her: 'I can put you in movies. I can make you the next Sharon Tate'.

"He meant it as a compliment. He was attempting to impress her, wanting to express his admiration for her looks."

Later Wednesday, the man whose girlfriend was allegedly propositioned, retired financier Edward Perlberg, told the court the model had been upset by Polanski's actions, and thought he was "a twerp".

Although he did not hear what Polanski said, after the meal Telle told him "he touched me with his hand and he said that I should come to Hollywood and he would give me a screen test and make another Sharon Tate of me," Perlberg said.

Perlberg said: "I thought this was generally creepy and it bothered me. I said: 'You know that's strange, but perhaps he could be excused because he just suffered such a massive shock,' but that didn't seem to lessen her anxiety."

Polanski is testifying by video-link from Paris as he is unwilling to go to Britain since he could be extradited from there to the United States where he is wanted for the statutory rape of a teenager.

Vanity Fair publishers Conde Nast deny the libel, also arguing that even if Polanski wins the case he should not receive damages due to his reputation as a libertine and the outstanding US court case.

© AFP

Subject: French news

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