Jerzy Kosinski  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Jerzy Kosinski (birth name: Josek Lewinkopf) (June 18, 1933May 3, 1991) was a Polish-American novelist. He is best known for his novels The Painted Bird (1965) and Being There (1971), which was made into a film starring Peter Sellers.

Early life, teaching, and marriage

Kosinski was born Josek Lewinkopf in Lodz, Poland. As a child during World War II, he survived under a false identity in a Roman Catholic Polish family in eastern Poland under a name his father gave him to use, Jerzy Kosinski. A Roman Catholic priest issued him a forged baptismal certificate.

After World War II, Kosinski reunited with his parents and earned degrees in history and political science in Poland (at the University of Lodz). He worked as an assistant at the Polish Academy of Sciences (Institute of History and Sociology). He later emigrated to the United States in 1957. In 1965, he became an American citizen.

In 1962 he married the American steel heiress Mary Hayward Weir, eighteen years his senior. She died in 1968 due to brain cancer. He later married Katherina von Fraunhofer, a descendant of Bavarian aristocracy.


  • The Future Is Ours, Comrade: Conversations with the Russians (1960), published under the pseudonym "Joseph Novak"
  • No Third Path (1962), published under the pseudonym "Joseph Novak"
  • The Painted Bird (1965)
  • The art of the self: Essays à propos Steps (1968)
  • Steps (1969)
  • Being There (1971)
  • The Devil Tree (1973, revised & expanded 1982)
  • Cockpit (1975)
  • Blind Date (1977)
  • Passion Play (1979)
  • Pinball (1982)
  • The Hermit of 69th Street (1988)
  • Passing By: Selected Essays, 1962-1991 (1992)

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Jerzy Kosinski" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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