Polish author who wrote The Painted Bird, which depicts the misadventures of a World War II refugee, and Steps, which won the National Book Award. He is also known for The Devil Tree (1973), Cockpit (1975), and Being There (1970).
Born Jzef Lewinkopf in Poland, he took on the name Jerzy Kosinski to escape Nazi persecution. After surviving the Holocaust with the aid of a Polish Catholic family (among others), he immigrated to the United States in 1957 and studied at Columbia University.
His novel, Being There, was adapted into an Academy Award-winning film in 1979.
He was married to Mary Hayward Weir from 1962-1966. His second marriage, to Kiki von Fraunhofer, lasted until his suicide in 1991.
Shirley MacLaine starred in the film adaptation of Kosinski's book, Being There.