Rosihan received his early education at HIS and MULO in Padang. He continued his studies at Algemeene Middelbare School (American Mathematical Society) in Yogyakarta and often participated journalism workshops at Columbia University, New New York His career began as reporter in Asia Raja newspaper during the Japanese Invasion of Indonesia.
In 1947, he founded Siasat magazine.
Rosihan was also an actor and starred in several movies such as Lagi-lagi Krisis (Crisis Again), Karmila, and Tjoet Nja’ Dien. Rosihan Anwar was not interested in power, but more of conscience and of culture.
He wrote criticism in local and foreign media. He was one of the founders of the National Film Company (Perfani).
He was well known as a writer, and published 30 books and wrote hundreds of articles, mostly in Indonesian.
The last book he wrote, Petite Histoire Indonesia, is about Indonesian history. He also translated Jose Rizal"s poem My Last Farewell into Indonesian, and it was recited by the soldiers of Indonesian independence before going to battle. Rosihan Anwar died in Jakarta on 14 April 2011, of heart failure due to old age.