A Lithuanian-born author and two-time recipient of the prestigious Prix Goncourt, he is best known for such French-language works as Les racines du ciel (1956) and La vie devant soi (1975). He also wrote the screenplay for the 1962 film, The Longest Day.
He was born in Vilnius, Lithuania, and, at the age of fourteen, moved to Nice, France. He served as a combat pilot in World War II; later, he joined the French diplomatic corps.
He directed and co-wrote a 1971 film called Kill.
He was married to actress
John Wayne starred in his WWII epic, The Longest Day.