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Subject: Sebastien Japrisot; French Film Director and Mystery Writer


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March 4
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Date Posted: March 26, 2003 3:09:55 EDT

Sebastien Japrisot, 71, a screenwriter, film director and award-winning crime and mystery writer known as the "Graham Greene of France," died of undisclosed causes March 4 in Vichy, France.

Japrisot wrote the screenplays for many of his novels, including "The Sleeping Car Murders," which became Costa-Gavras' debut film in 1965, and "The Lady in the Car With Glasses and a Gun."

Born in Marseille, France, Japrisot attended a Jesuit school, where he studied the classics and learned to write. (His pen name is an anagram of his real name, Jean Baptiste Rossi.) He later studied philosophy at the Sorbonne, but skipped classes to write.

He wrote his first novel, "The False Start," under his real name when he was 17. The story of a 14-year-old boy who has a love affair with a nun, it created a scandal when it was published in 1950. But it was a critical and popular success: Within three weeks of its publication in America, it sold 800,000 copies

Based on the book's success, Japrisot was hired to translate J.D. Salinger's novel "The Catcher in the Rye."

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