Aviator, Author. Born in Lyons, France; one of five children of impoverished aristocrats Marie and Jean de Saint-Exupéry. With his father's death four years later, his mother moved them to the family châteaux in Le Mans. He attended a Jesuit school before being sent to a boarding school in Switzerland after the outbreak of World War I. He returned to France in 1917. A notoriously poor student, he failed the entrance examination to the École Navale, so studied architecture at the École des Beaux-Arts. In 1921, during his compulsory military service, he learned how to fly, becoming a pilot in the air force the following year. After leaving the service in 1926, he got a job flying with Aeropostale, flying airmail from France to Africa. From this, he also launched his writing career, publishing the novel 'Courrier Sud' ('Southern Mail,') in 1929. In 1931, he published his second book, 'Vol de nuit' ('Night Flight'). In 1935, he attempted to beat the speed record between Paris and Saigon, but his plane crashed en route. During this time, he also worked as a test pilot and a reporter for 'Paris-Soir'. In 1939, he published 'Terre des hommes' (Wind, Sand, and Stars') which earned the Grand Prize for Novel Writing from the Académie Française and the National Book Award in the US. During the second World War, despite debilitating injuries suffered in previous crashes, he rejoined the French air force as a reconnaissance pilot and was decorated for bravery in 1940. After the German occupation of France, he fled to the United States. He wrote 'Flight to Arras' (1942) and 'Letter to a Hostage' (1943) while in exile. The last work published in his lifetime is inarguably his best known, 'Le Petit prince' (1943, 'The Little Prince') written and illustrated by the author, and published in both French and English in the United States. It has since sold over 200 million copies worldwide, making it one of the best-selling books in publishing history. In 1943, he rejoined a Free French unit in North Africa. On 31 July 1944, he took off from a Corsican airfield to conduct a reconnaissance mission over France, and never returned. He was listed as killed in action. In 1948, the philosophical 'The Wisdom of the Sands' was published posthumously. In 2000, divers near Marseilles discovered the wreckage of a WWII era plane on the seabed, which was later raised and identified as his. 'The Little Prince' was recorded in 1974 as a Grammy winning children's album and was translated into film in 1974 and 2015. There is also The Little Prince Theme Park in Alsace, France, described as an aerial amusement park.
Bio by: Iola
Consuelo Suncín de Sandoval de Saint-Exupéry
1901–1979 (m. 1931)