An artist of many talents, Frenchman Roland Topor painted, wrote both prose and song lyrics and crafted innovative animated films. In the 1970s, he won an international audience thanks to his big-screen collaborations with the likes of lauded filmmakers Roman Polanski and Werner Herzog. After a harrowing youth--he was born to Jewish parents during World War II, and his family was forced to flee to southeastern France to evade the Nazis--Topor returned to his native Paris, where in 1962 he co-founded an influential arts collective known as the Panic Movement. Although he also began making animated short films around this time, Topor devoted most of his energy to the completion of "The Tenant," a semi-autobiographical novel about a Jewish man who fears he's a pawn in a lethal game. Within a few years, Topor had made his name on the global film circuit--first as the production designer of the 1973 animated science-fiction movie "Fantastic Planet," and three years later when "The Tenant" was adapted by Polanski as the director's follow-up to "Chinatown." Before the decade was out, Topor landed a key role in Herzog's gothic fright-fest "Nosferatu the Vampyre," and he would later co-write a script for a 1989 film based on the Marquis de Sade.