Romain Gary, the Hollywood Years


In May 2014, the French Consulate in Los Angeles will celebrate the centennial of Romain Gary’s birth.
A man of many lives – war hero, author, diplomat, film director – Romain Gary was a multifaceted French icon whose life was itself a novel.


Romain Gary © Agence France Presse

Romain Gary: a Frenchman in Los Angeles

From the Russian Empire, where he was born, to Nice, where he spent his childhood, and from his Air Officers’ Training School to his involvement in the French Resistance during the Second World War, Gary faced all the major geopolitical upheavals of his time as a front-line observer and an enlightened consciousness.

He arrived in Los Angeles in 1956, having been appointed Consul General. The same year, he published one of his most famous novels The Roots of Heaven (Les Racines du ciel) for which he won his first Prix Goncourt. He is the only author to have ever won a second Prix Goncourt, as Émile Ajar, for The Life Before Us (La Vie devant Soi).

His connection with Hollywood was both defining and crucial. His years in Los Angeles as a diplomat marked the beginning of a lifelong collaboration with Hollywood, where he met his second wife, art-film darling and tragic heroine Jean Seberg.

Gary directed two films, wrote five screenplays and eleven of his novels have been adapted into films.


The French Consulate General in Los Angeles is hosting an afternoon homage to Romain Gary on Thursday May 15th, with world-renowned scholar David Bellos who will be coming straight from Princeton to take part in this very special celebration.

6.30 pm to 7.30 pm: Book signing by David Bellos and reception at the Egyptian Theatre

7.30 pm to 10pm: Screening of The Roots of Heaven by John Huston followed by a Q&A with David Bellos

In partnership with the Alliance française, the American Cinematheque, Skylight Books and Agence France Presse.

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Last modified on 16/12/2014

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