Famous Like Me > Writer > G > Romain Gary
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Profile of Romain Gary
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|Also Know As:
|Date of Birth:
||8th May 1914
|Place of Birth:
||Wilno, Poland, Russian Empire. [now Vilnius, Lithuania]
Romain Gary (May 8, 1914–December 2, 1980) was a novelist, film director, WWII pilot and diplomat.
Born Romain Kacew in Wilno, Romain Gary grew up in Wilno (now Vilnius, Lithuania) and later in Warsaw, Poland. The father, Arieh-Leib Kacew, abandoned his family in 1925 and remarried. From this time Gary was raised by his mother, Nina Owczinski. When he was fourteen, he and his mother moved to Nice, France. In his books and interviews, he presented many different versions of his father's origin, parents, occupation and childhood. He later studied law, first in Aix-en-Provence and then in Paris. He learned to pilot an aircraft in the French Air Force in Salon-de-Provence and in Avord, near Bourges. Following the Nazi occupation of France in World War II, a Jew, he fled to England and under Charles de Gaulle served with the Free French Forces in Europe and North Africa.
After the war, he worked in the French diplomatic service and in 1945 published his first novel. He would become one of France's most popular and prolific writers, authoring more than thirty novels, essays and memoirs, some of which he wrote under the pseudonym of Émile Ajar. He also wrote one novel under the pseudonym of Fosco Sinibaldi and another as Shatan Bogat.
In 1952, he became secretary of the French Delegation to the United Nations in New York, and later in London (in 1955).
In 1956, he became General Consul of France in Los Angeles.
He is the only person to win the Prix Goncourt twice. This prize for French language literature may only be awarded once to any given author. Romain Gary, who had already received the prize in 1956 for Les racines du ciel, published La vie devant soi under the pseudonym of Émile Ajar in 1975. The Academie Goncourt awarded the prize to the author of this book, without knowing his real identity. A period of literary mystery followed. Gary's cousin Paul Pavlowitch posed as the author for a time. Gary later revealed the truth in his posthumous book Vie et mort d'Émile Ajar.
Gary's first wife was the British writer, journalist, and Vogue editor Lesley Blanch (author of The Wilder Shores of Love). They married in 1944 and divorced in 1961. From 1962 to 1970, Gary was married to the American actress Jean Seberg, with whom he had a son, Alexandre Diego Gary.
He also co-wrote the screenplay for the motion picture, The Longest Day and co-wrote directed the 1971 film Kill!, starring his ex-wife, Seberg.
Suffering from depression after the 1979 suicide of his former wife, Jean Seberg, Romain Gary died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound on December 2, 1980 in Paris, France.
As Romain Gary
- Education européenne (1945)
- Tulipe (1946)
- Le grand vestiaire (1949)
- Les couleurs du jour (1952)
- Les racines du ciel - 1956 Prix Goncourt; filmed as The Roots of Heaven
- La promesse de l'aube (1960)
- Johnie Coeur (1961)
- Gloire à nos illustres pionniers (1962, short stories)
- Lady L. (1963)
- The ski bum (1965)
- Pour Sganarelle (1965, literary essay)
- Les mangeurs d'étoiles (1966)
- La danse de Gengis Cohn (1967)
- La tête coupable (1968)
- Adieu Gary Cooper (1969)
- Chien blanc (1970)
- Les trésors de la Mer Rouge (1971)
- Europa (1972)
- Les enchanteurs (1973)
- La nuit sera calme (1974, interview)
- Au-delà de cette limite votre ticket n'est plus valable (1975)
- Clair de femme (1977)
- Charge d'âme (1977)
- La bonne moitié (1979)
- Les clowns lyriques (1979)
- Les cerfs-volants (1980)
- Vie et mort d'Émile Ajar (1981, posthumous)
- L'homme à la colombe (1984, definitive posthumous version)
As Émile Ajar
- Gros calin (1974)
- La vie devant soi - 1975 Prix Goncourt
- Pseudo (1976)
- L'Angoisse du roi Salomon (1979)
As Fosco Sinibaldi
- L'homme à la colombe (1958)
As Shatan Bogat
- Les têtes de Stéphanie (1974)
- Les oiseaux vont mourir au Pérou (1968)
- Kill! (1971)
- Myriam Anissimov, Romain Gary, le caméléon (Denoël 2004)
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