Larry Collins, 75, the journalist and co-author of "Is Paris Burning?," which laid bare a startling plot by Adolf Hitler to raze the City of Light if the Allies recaptured it in World War II, died June 20 of a cerebral hemorrhage in Frejus, France. An expatriate American, he lived in Ramateulle on the French Riviera.
Mr. Collins and his writing partner, Dominique Lapierre, met in 1954 when Mr. Collins was in the U.S. Army and Lapierre was in the French military, both based at Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe outside Paris. They wrote best-selling novels and nonfiction works of history over a span of four decades.
After their initial 1964 blockbuster about the Nazi occupation of the French capital, they described Israel's quest for independence in "O Jerusalem" in 1972 and independence for India in "Freedom at Midnight" in 1975, followed by "Mountbatten and the Partition of India" in 1982.
Their novels showed the same meticulous research and historical accuracy as their nonfiction works. First came "The Fifth Horseman" in 1980, imagining Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi placing a hydrogen bomb in New York City to enforce his demands.
After several years of writing separately, they collaborated on a final novel, "Is New York Burning?" in 2004, plotted around a post-Sept. 11 nuclear attack by Osama bin Laden.
Mr. Collins's solo fictional thrillers included "Fall From Grace" (1985), based on World War II counterintelligence to mislead Nazis about where Allied troops would invade France; "Maze" (1989) about psychic mind control as a Soviet tactic in the Cold War; "Black Eagles" in 1995 about the cocaine trade in black America; and "Road to Armageddon" (2003), which speculated on what Iran might do with a nuclear bomb.
Mr. Collins said the idea for "Is Paris Burning?" came from a London newspaper item he happened to see in 1962 about Hitler's obsession with obliterating Paris. Using vivid vignettes set in Nazi and Allied headquarters as well as the French Underground, the authors related the final days of Nazi dominance over Paris before American troops liberated the city Aug. 25, 1944. The writers spelled out the reluctance of German Gen. Dietrich von Choltitz to carry out Hitler's order to raze the city. That hesitation helped save Paris.
"Is Paris Burning?" was made into a motion picture in 1966. Directed by Rene Clement, it starred a French and American cast, including Jean-Paul Belmondo, Charles Boyer, Leslie Caron, Alain Delon, Kirk Douglas, Glenn Ford and Orson Welles. Francis Ford Coppola and Gore Vidal wrote the screenplay.
With the book's international success, Mr. Collins and Lapierre quit their jobs as journalists and began work on other books.
They had worked separately for more than two decades when they reunited to write "Is New York Burning?" They spent two years interviewing scores of people and perusing documents in the United States, Israel, Europe, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India before writing the novel about bin Laden's placing a nuclear bomb in New York to force the White House to arrange the ouster of Israelis from all Arab lands.
John Lawrence Collins Jr. was born in West Hartford, Conn., and received a degree in economics from Yale University.
After his Army service, he remained in Europe, working as a correspondent for United Press International in Paris, Rome, Cairo and Beirut from 1956 until he joined Newsweek in 1959. He served as the magazine's Paris bureau chief from 1961 to 1964 before becoming a full-time author.
Collins married Nadia Hoda Sultan in 1966, and they had two sons, John Lawrence III and Michael. Information on survivors was not immediately available.