Jerzy Kosinski Becomes Famous

Nancy and I go to his apartment he live in with Mrs. Weir. It was beautiful.  I remember tobacco holders of Napoleon and some beautiful crystal vases.  There were garters from Napoleon’s mistress, Mrs. Walewska (a Polish noblewoman), and many, many other curiosities and curios. This whole flat in the building was hers. You know, her family gave her hell for marrying this unknown Jew with no money, no nothing.  

First he shows me his ski room.  He skied, I skied.  He shows me six pairs of skis hanging. He has a red telephone with direct connection to the ski lodge in Switzerland. 
Then he had a writing room.  Already he had written a book. He was dictating his books – there were three secretaries and three typewriters.  You know Kosinski?  He was writing these books, I have seven of them. The Painted Bird, Being There, and so forth. 
He and his friend Roman Polanski worked on “Being There” – and at that time Kosinski was all over the world, and served on the committee of Auschwitz.  When Kosinski came to Hollywood to visit Polanski, he visited me in Huntington Beach. He was recognized by this committee that gave him letters of recognition. 
I helped him when he was nobody, but he never helped me when he was somebody. But look who lives longer. I am here writing this story and Kosinski is dead; killed himself. He take drugs and alcohol and put plastic bag over his head. – Henry Zguda

Further notes on Kosinski: Kosinski went on to great fame. In 1979 his novel Being There was made into a movie starring Peter Sellers and Shirley MacLaine. His novels appeared on the New York Times Best Seller list and have been translated into over 30 languages. By his suicide in 1991 at the age of 57, total sales of his novels reached 70 million. 

In June 1982 the Village Voice accused him of fakery and plagiarism, claiming The Painted Bird was plagiarized from a 1932 Polish bestseller not known in the English-speaking world. They also alleged that he wrote The Painted Bird in Polish, and secretly had it translated into English, given his imperfect English at the time. Poles who remembered he was treated well by local Catholic families and remained in one village the entire war also questioned and resented Kosinski, who had often regaled himself at parties about his difficult survival and cruel abandonment. The criticism grew once the novels were published in his native Poland. He never recovered professionally and personally from the accusations and public humiliation.

According to I could not find any involvement of Roman Polanski with the film ‘Being There.’ Per Wikipedia, both Kosinski and Polanski attended the National Film School in  Łódź, Poland, which is where they met and became friends, before either came to the United States. 

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