PARIS -- Robert Merle, who won France's highest literary honor and wrote the novel that inspired Mike Nichols's movie "The Day of the Dolphin," died Saturday at his home near Paris. He was 95.
Mr. Merle's first novel, "Week-end a Zuydcoote," was set during the Allied forces' evacuation from Dunkirk during World War II. It won the 1949 Goncourt, the country's most prestigious literary award, and was later made into a movie. Another novel, "Un Animal doue de raison" ("The Day of the Dolphin"), inspired Nichols's 1973 film starring George C. Scott as a scientist who trains talking dolphins.
Other novels included the apocalyptic tale "Malevil," and the science fiction work "Les hommes proteges" ("The Virility Factor: A Novel"). Mr. Merle spent his final years working on "Fortune de France" ("France's Fortune"), a 13-volume series about a family in the 16th and 17th centuries.
Mr. Merle also taught at several French universities.