Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Born in Budapest, Hungary, as Ferenc Hoffmann, he studied sculpture and painting, and then began publishing humourous essays and writing for the stage. After 1945 he changed his surname from Hoffmann to Kishont. He emigrated to Israel in 1949, where an immigration officer gave him the name Ephraim Kishon.
Acquiring a mastery of Hebrew with remarkable speed, he started a regular satirical column in the easy-Hebrew daily, Omer, after only two years in the country. From 1952, he wrote the column "Had Gadya" in the daily Ma'ariv. Devoted largely to political and social satire but including essays of pure humour, it became one of the most popular columns in the country. His extraordinary inventiveness, both in the use of language and the creation of character, was applied also to the writing of innumerable sketches for theatrical revues.
Of his plays are:
1953: “His name walks infront of him”.
1968: “Take the plug out”.
1972: “Oh, oh, Julia”.
1988: “Salah Shabati” the musical.
His sketches and plays have been performed, in translation, on the stages and television networks of several countries.
Kishon has written, directed and produced numerous feature films, including:
- Sallah Shabbati (1964) which was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, won Golden Globes for Best Actor (Chaim Topol) and Best Foreign Film, and the Best Script and Best Actor awards at the San Francisco Film Festival
- Blaumilch Canal, a.k.a. The Big Dig (1969)
- The Policeman (1971) which was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, won a Golden Globe for Best Foreign Film and the Best Foreign Film Prize at the Barcelona Film Festival, won Best Director at the Monte Carlo Festival and the judges' prize at Atlanta. In Israel the movie known as השוטר אזולאי ("Policeman Azulay") and considered a classic.
which all enjoyed international distribution.
Collections of his humourous writings have appeared in Hebrew and in translation, the English translations including Look Back Mrs. Lot (1960), Noah's Ark, Tourist Class (1962), The Seasick Whale (1965), and two books on the Six-Day War and its aftermath, So Sorry We Won (1967), and Woe to the Victors (1969). Two collections of his plays have also appeared in Hebrew, Shemo Holekh Lefanav (1953) and Ma´arkhonim (1959).
His works have been translated into 37 languages and by far the most were sold in Germany. Friedrich Torberg was his congenial translator to German, until he died in 1979; thereafter Kishon himself wrote in German.
His first marriage (1946) to Eva (Chawa) Klamer ended in divorce. In 1959 he married his second wife Sara (née Lipovitz), who died in 2002. In 2003 he married Lisa Witasek. He had three children: Raphael (b. 1957), Amir (b. 1964), and Renana (b. 1968).
He died in Switzerland , apparently of a heart attack.
- Fan site—includes information and several of Kishon's stories.
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