Harold Pinter
English playwright, screenwriter, poet, actor, director, author, political activist
Harold Pinter
Harold Pinter, was a Nobel Prize-winning English playwright, screenwriter, director and actor. One of the most influential modern British dramatists, his writing career spanned more than 50 years. His best-known plays include The Birthday Party (1957), The Homecoming (1964), and Betrayal (1978), each of which he adapted to film.
Harold Pinter's personal information overview.
News abour Harold Pinter from around the web
L.A. theater openings, Jan. 31-Feb. 7: 'The Mountaintop' and more
LATimes - about 1 year
This week: New takes on plays by Shakespeare and Harold Pinter, plus the L.A. premiere of an award-winning drama about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant? CAP UCLA presents cartoonist and storyteller Roz Chast in this show based on her graphic novel about the...
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LATimes article
A Long Conversation with Actor Dan Amboyer of TVLand's Younger - Part I
Huffington Post - about 1 year
Dan Amboyer and Hilary Duff of TVLand's Younger trying out some new tricks for a photo shoot. Dan Amboyer's Instagram and Twitter at @danamboyer Ohhhh yeah. What's not to love about Dan Amboyer? This guy has a lot to say, so I split it into two interviews - so if you want to see a shirtless selfie of Dan, make sure you also click Part II. Muhaha and you're welcome. You play Thad Steadman in TV Land's Younger. Tell us about your audition and your character. I first heard of Younger when my agent called me with an appointment for the pilot, and she sent over the script and audition sides for my role. Sutton Foster was the only actor attached at this point. Fortunately, I had built rapport with this casting office over time, so they brought me straight in to meet Darren Star. The crazy part was - that day I was in final dress rehearsal for a performance of Proust's epic Remembrance of Things Past, adapted by Harold Pinter and Di Trevis, who was also re-staging her acclai ...
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Huffington Post article
On the Culture Front: The Food Film Festival, Old Times, Fool for Love, and More
Huffington Post - over 1 year
The heart of a Harold Pinter play beats between the finely crafted lines of dialogue in which characters obscure and contradict their desires. This makes watching one a bit of a verbal puzzle. The words dance together, fiercely syncopated, but their meaning lurks behind in the shadows of memory, doubt and longing. "Old Times," a lesser known one-act, packs a wallop of an emotional punch in 70 searing minutes. The love triangle mindbender is exquisitely brought to life in Douglas Hodge's nuanced and haunting production currently playing at the Roundabout. Hodge's credits include starring opposite the late great playwright in a 1993 production of "No Man's Land." The cast (Clive Owen, Eve Best and Kelly Reilly) has a caged chemistry that exists as much in our imaginations as it does onstage, and Radiohead's Thom Yorke has composed a score so atmospheric that it feels written in a key only the subconscious can hear. The past looms large in Sam Shepard's "Fool for Love," a play that's a ...
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Huffington Post article
First Nighter: Marlo Thomas Strong in Joe DiPietro's 'Clever Little Lies,' Clive Owens, Eve Best, Kelly Reilly Undone in Harold Pinter's 'Old Times'
Huffington Post - over 1 year
When Joe DiPietro's Clever Little Lies gets going at the Westside Theatre, it almost immediately gives the impression that a sitcom pilot is about to unfold on stage -- and not just because onetime That Girl Marlo Thomas, who makes a later entrance, heads the cast and Greg (Mary Hartman Mary Hartman) Mullavey is second-billed. But hang in there. Something more substantial than the makings for a half-hour comedy series is afoot. Before fade-out some substantive drama has occurred and has been skillfully directed by David Saint and played by all four concerned, which means George Merrick and Kate Wetherhead as well. The premise for the trouble-making rigmarole is established when in the introductory scene Bill Sr. (Mullavey) and Bill Jr., or Billy (Merrick), have finished their tennis game and are gabbing in the changing room. It's typical father-son blather about who played well and who didn't. The mood changes as Billy suddenly breaks down and confesses that he's fallen for a 23-y ...
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Huffington Post article
Theater: Solid Sam Shepard, Half-Baked "Barbecue" And Muddled "Old Times"
Huffington Post - over 1 year
FOOL FOR LOVE ** 1/2 out of **** BARBECUE ** 1/2 out of **** OLD TIMES ** out of **** FOOL FOR LOVE ** 1/2 out of **** MANHATTAN THEATRE CLUB AT SAMUEL J. FRIEDMAN THEATRE I've spent my entire adult life watching the stock of playwright Sam Shepard fall. He was at his peak in the 1980s, with that iconic trade paperback of seven plays sporting his handsome mug on the cover. That compilation was just a blip on the radar for Shepard. He starred in the landmark film Days of Heaven in 1978. He won the Pulitzer Prize for his play Buried Child in 1979. He received an Oscar nomination for his great work in 1983's The Right Stuff, a masterpiece by any measure. He co-wrote the Palme d'Or winner Paris, Texas in 1984, the same year that collection of plays became a fixture in bookstores around the world. No wonder he made the cover of Newsweek in 1986. The plays kept coming: about one every three years since Seven Plays was published 31 years ago. But cruelly for someone so accl ...
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Huffington Post article
Theater: Solid Sam Shepard, Half-Baked "Barbecue" And Muddled "Old Times"
Huffington Post - over 1 year
FOOL FOR LOVE ** 1/2 out of **** BARBECUE ** 1/2 out of **** OLD TIMES ** out of **** FOOL FOR LOVE ** 1/2 out of **** MANHATTAN THEATRE CLUB AT SAMUEL J. FRIEDMAN THEATRE I've spent my entire adult life watching the stock of playwright Sam Shepard fall. He was at his peak in the 1980s, with that iconic trade paperback of seven plays sporting his handsome mug on the cover. That compilation was just a blip on the radar for Shepard. He starred in the landmark film Days of Heaven in 1978. He won the Pulitzer Prize for his play Buried Child in 1979. He received an Oscar nomination for his great work in 1983's The Right Stuff, a masterpiece by any measure. He co-wrote the Palme d'Or winner Paris, Texas in 1984, the same year that collection of plays became a fixture in bookstores around the world. No wonder he made the cover of Newsweek in 1986. The plays kept coming: about one every three years since Seven Plays was published 31 years ago. But cruelly for someone so accl ...
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Huffington Post article
'Old Times' Review: Made in England, Assembled on Broadway
Wall Street Journal - over 1 year
While it features Clive Owen and Eve Best, this Harold Pinter revival shows that star power doesn’t automatically make for a good time.
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Wall Street Journal article
Review: ‘Old Times,’ Where the Past Is a Dangerous Place
NYTimes - over 1 year
This Harold Pinter revival is not an “Old Times” for purists, but it has its pleasures.
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NYTimes article
Looking Back on Misters Minghella and <em>Ripley</em>
Huffington Post - almost 2 years
Director Anthony Minghella 1954-2008 I ran across Anthony Minghella's The Talented Mr. Ripley on HBO last night. It was late and had been a long day. I figured I'd watch a few minutes, wind down, then hit the sack. Of course, I couldn't take my eyes off it for the duration, and awakened the next morning sleep-deprived, but grateful for the chance to revisit a modern classic. It got me thinking back a few years... I first met Anthony Minghella in January of 2000 at the press junket for "Ripley." Moments after sitting down with him, I knew Minghella was a different breed from most of the filmmakers I'd interviewed in the past, particularly those from this side of the Pond. Minghella struck me as both a gentleman and a gentle man. He loved Bach as much as he revered the films of Hitchcock and the writing of Harold Pinter. He also listened as well as he conversed. I knew I would never forget my conversation with Anthony Minghella and, after a special American Film Institute screening ...
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Huffington Post article
A Tale of Lies, Deceit, and Terrorism: the Birth of Israel
Intifada - almost 2 years
The Untold Story of the Zionist intent to turn Palestine into a Jewish State   William A. Cook May 11, 2010 (Based on classified documents from the Jewish Agency and its affiliated organizations seized by the British Mandate Police, materials that confirm that the Zionist controlled Jewish community intended to remove the Arab inhabitants of Palestine from their land and make the whole of Mandate Palestine a Jewish State, an intent that continues to the present day as the new book, The Plight of the Palestinians: a Long History of Destruction, available at Macmillan.com, demonstrates.) A Tale of Lies, Deceit, and Terrorism: the Birth of Israel “Jewish villages were built in the place of Arab villages. You do not even know the names of these Arab villages, and I do not blame you because Geography books no longer exist, not only do the books not exist, the Arab villages are not there either … There is not one single place built in this country that did not have a former Ara ...
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Intifada article
Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen on Being Besties and <i>Waiting for Godot</i>
Huffington Post - about 3 years
Within the theatre, they are master British thespians, knighted for their contributions to the craft. Within fan culture, they have geek god status -- one as a Starfleet captain, the other as a fierce wizard and friend to Hobbits, both as powerful mutant leaders. In social media, they are something of a viral Internet phenomenon as they adventure throughout New York City and send holiday greetings to fans. But really, Sir Patrick Stewart and Sir Ian McKellen are perhaps most beloved for being best friends and collaborators who have used of the combined might mentioned above to create one of the more buzzed about and compelling theater experiences around. Even before beginning previews last October, Waiting for Godot and No Man's Land -- the duo's two plays in repertory at Manhattan's Cort Theatre, directed by Sean Mathias and also starring Billy Crudup and Shuler Hensley -- the two big actors in the Big Apple were causing a stir. Not only were they reteaming on stage following thei ...
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Huffington Post article
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Harold Pinter
  • 2008
    Age 77
    He died from liver cancer on 24 December 2008.
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    His presidency of the school was brief; he died just two weeks after the graduation ceremony, on 24 December 2008.
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    In October 2008, the Central School of Speech and Drama announced that Pinter had agreed to become its president and awarded him an honorary fellowship at its graduation ceremony.
    More Details Hide Details On his appointment, Pinter commented: "I was a student at Central in 1950–51. I enjoyed my time there very much and I am delighted to become president of a remarkable institution." But he had to receive that honorary degree, his 20th, in absentia owing to ill health.
    Pinter's funeral was a private, half-hour secular ceremony conducted at the graveside at Kensal Green Cemetery, 31 December 2008.
    More Details Hide Details The eight readings selected in advance by Pinter included passages from seven of his own writings and from the story "The Dead", by James Joyce, which was read by actress Penelope Wilton. Michael Gambon read the "photo album" speech from No Man's Land and three other readings, including Pinter's poem "Death" (1997). Other readings honoured Pinter's widow and his love of cricket. The ceremony was attended by many notable theatre people, including Tom Stoppard, but not by Pinter's son, Daniel Brand. At its end, Pinter's widow, Antonia Fraser, stepped forward to his grave and quoted from Horatio's speech after the death of Hamlet: "Goodnight, sweet prince, / And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest." The night before Pinter's burial, theatre marquees on Broadway dimmed their lights for a minute in tribute, and on the final night of No Man's Land at the Duke of York's Theatre on 3 January 2009, all of the Ambassador Theatre Group in the West End dimmed their lights for an hour to honour the playwright.
    On 26 December 2008, when No Man's Land reopened at the Duke of York's, the actors paid tribute to Pinter from the stage, with Michael Gambon reading Hirst's monologue about his "photograph album" from Act Two that Pinter had asked him to read at his funeral, ending with a standing ovation from the audience, many of whom were in tears:
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    The final revival during Pinter's lifetime was a production of No Man's Land, directed by Rupert Goold, opening at the Gate Theatre, Dublin, in August 2008, and then transferring to the Duke of York's Theatre, London, where it played until 3 January 2009.
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    From 8 to 24 May 2008, the Lyric Hammersmith celebrated the 50th anniversary of The Birthday Party with a revival and related events, including a gala performance and reception hosted by Harold Pinter on 19 May 2008, exactly 50 years after its London première there.
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  • 2007
    Age 76
    Later in February 2007, John Crowley's film version of Pinter's play Celebration (2000) was shown on More4 (Channel 4, UK).
    More Details Hide Details On 18 March 2007, BBC Radio 3 broadcast a new radio production of The Homecoming, directed by Thea Sharrock and produced by Martin J. Smith, with Pinter performing the role of Max (for the first time; he had previously played Lenny on stage in 1964). A revival of The Hothouse opened at the National Theatre, in London, in July 2007, concurrently with a revival of Betrayal at the Donmar Warehouse, directed by Roger Michell. Revivals in 2008 included the 40th-anniversary production of the American première of The Homecoming on Broadway, directed by Daniel J. Sullivan.
    On 18 January 2007, French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin presented Pinter with France's highest civil honour, the Légion d'honneur, at a ceremony at the French Embassy in London.
    More Details Hide Details De Villepin praised Pinter's poem "American Football" (1991) stating: "With its violence and its cruelty, it is for me one of the most accurate images of war, one of the most telling metaphors of the temptation of imperialism and violence." In response, Pinter praised France's opposition to the war in Iraq. M. de Villepin concluded: "The poet stands still and observes what doesn't deserve other men's attention. Poetry teaches us how to live and you, Harold Pinter, teach us how to live." He said that Pinter received the award particularly "because in seeking to capture all the facets of the human spirit, Pinter's works respond to the aspirations of the French public, and its taste for an understanding of man and of what is truly universal". Lawrence Pollard observed that "the award for the great playwright underlines how much Mr Pinter is admired in countries like France as a model of the uncompromising radical intellectual".
  • 2006
    Age 75
    In October and November 2006, Sheffield Theatres hosted Pinter: A Celebration.
    More Details Hide Details It featured productions of seven of Pinter's plays: The Caretaker, Voices, No Man's Land, Family Voices, Tea Party, The Room, One for the Road, and The Dumb Waiter; and films (most his screenplays; some in which Pinter appears as an actor). In February and March 2007, a 50th anniversary of The Dumb Waiter, was produced at the Trafalgar Studios.
    After returning to London from the Edinburgh International Book Festival, in September 2006, Pinter began rehearsing for his performance of the role of Krapp in Samuel Beckett's one-act monologue Krapp's Last Tape, which he performed from a motorised wheelchair in a limited run the following month at the Royal Court Theatre to sold-out audiences and "ecstatic" critical reviews.
    More Details Hide Details The production ran for only nine performances, as part of the 50th-anniversary celebration season of the Royal Court Theatre; it sold out within minutes of the opening of the box office and tickets commanded large sums from ticket resellers. One performance was filmed and broadcast on BBC Four on 21 June 2007, and also screened later, as part of the memorial PEN Tribute to Pinter, in New York, on 2 May 2009.
    In June 2006, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) hosted a celebration of Pinter's films curated by his friend, the playwright David Hare.
    More Details Hide Details Hare introduced the selection of film clips by saying: "To jump back into the world of Pinter's movies... is to remind yourself of a literate mainstream cinema, focused as much as Bergman's is on the human face, in which tension is maintained by a carefully crafted mix of image and dialogue."
    Along with the international symposium on Pinter: Passion, Poetry, Politics, curated by Billington, the 2006 Europe Theatre Prize theatrical events celebrating Pinter included new productions (in French) of Precisely (1983), One for the Road (1984), Mountain Language (1988), The New World Order (1991), Party Time (1991), and Press Conference (2002) (French versions by Jean Pavans); and Pinter Plays, Poetry & Prose, an evening of dramatic readings, directed by Alan Stanford, of the Gate Theatre, Dublin.
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    In an interview with Pinter in 2006, conducted by critic Michael Billington as part of the cultural programme of the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy, Pinter confirmed that he would continue to write poetry but not plays.
    More Details Hide Details In response, the audience shouted No in unison, urging him to keep writing.
  • 2005
    Age 74
    The Nobel Prize Awards Ceremony and related events throughout Scandinavia took place in December 2005.
    More Details Hide Details After the Academy notified Pinter of his award, he had planned to travel to Stockholm to present his Nobel Lecture in person. In November, however, his doctor sent him to hospital and barred such travel, after a serious infection was diagnosed. Pinter's publisher, Stephen Page of Faber and Faber, accepted the Nobel Diploma and Nobel Medal at the Awards Ceremony in his place. Although still being treated in hospital, Pinter videotaped his Nobel Lecture, "Art, Truth and Politics", at a Channel 4 studio. It was projected on three large screens at the Swedish Academy on the evening of 7 December 2005, and transmitted on More 4 that same evening in the UK. The 46-minute lecture was introduced on television by David Hare. Later, the text and streaming video formats (without Hare's introduction) were posted on the Nobel Prize and Swedish Academy official websites. It has since been released as a DVD.
    Three days later, it was announced that he had won the 2005 Nobel Prize in Literature.
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    His last dramatic work for radio, Voices (2005), a collaboration with composer James Clarke, adapting selected works by Pinter to music, premièred on BBC Radio 3 on his 75th birthday on 10 October 2005.
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    Yet, he completed his screenplay for the film of Sleuth in 2005.
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    From 2005, Pinter suffered ill health, including a rare skin disease called pemphigus and "a form of septicaemia that afflicted his feet and made it difficult for him to walk."
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    In 2005, Pinter stated that he had stopped writing plays and that he would be devoting his efforts more to his political activism and writing poetry: "I think I've written 29 plays.
    More Details Hide Details I think it's enough for me... My energies are going in different directions—over the last few years I've made a number of political speeches at various locations and ceremonies... I'm using a lot of energy more specifically about political states of affairs, which I think are very, very worrying as things stand." Some of this later poetry included "The 'Special Relationship'", "Laughter", and "The Watcher".
  • 2003
    Age 72
    From 9 to 25 January 2003, the Manitoba Theatre Centre, in Manitoba, Canada, held a nearly month-long PinterFest, in which over 130 performances of twelve of Pinter's plays were performed by a dozen different theatre companies.
    More Details Hide Details Productions during the Festival included: The Hothouse, Night School, The Lover, The Dumb Waiter, The Homecoming, The Birthday Party, Monologue, One for the Road, The Caretaker, Ashes to Ashes, Celebration, and No Man's Land.
  • 2002
    Age 71
    During the course of his treatment, he directed a production of his play No Man's Land, and wrote and performed in a new sketch, "Press Conference", for a production of his dramatic sketches at the National Theatre, and from 2002 on he was increasingly active in political causes, writing and presenting politically charged poetry, essays, speeches, as well as involved in developing his final two screenplay adaptations, The Tragedy of King Lear and Sleuth, whose drafts are in the British Library's Harold Pinter Archive (Add MS 88880/2).
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  • 2001
    Age 70
    In December 2001, Pinter was diagnosed with oesophageal cancer, for which, in 2002, he underwent an operation and chemotherapy.
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    As part of a two-week "Harold Pinter Homage" at the World Leaders Festival of Creative Genius, held from 24 September to 30 October 2001, at the Harbourfront Centre, in Toronto, Canada, Pinter presented a dramatic reading of Celebration (2000) and also participated in a public interview as part of the International Festival of Authors.
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    From 16 to 31 July 2001, a Harold Pinter Festival celebrating his work, curated by Michael Colgan, artistic director of the Gate Theatre, Dublin, was held as part of the annual Lincoln Center Festival at Lincoln Center in New York City.
    More Details Hide Details Pinter participated both as an actor, as Nicolas in One for the Road, and as a director of a double bill pairing his last play, Celebration, with his first play, The Room.
  • 2000
    Age 69
    During 2000–2001, there were also simultaneous productions of Remembrance of Things Past, Pinter's stage adaptation of his unpublished Proust Screenplay, written in collaboration with and directed by Di Trevis, at the Royal National Theatre, and a revival of The Caretaker directed by Patrick Marber and starring Michael Gambon, Rupert Graves, and Douglas Hodge, at the Comedy Theatre.
    More Details Hide Details Like Celebration, Pinter's penultimate sketch, Press Conference (2002), "invokes both torture and the fragile, circumscribed existence of dissent". In its première in the National Theatre's two-part production of Sketches, despite undergoing chemotherapy at the time, Pinter played the ruthless Minister willing to murder little children for the benefit of "The State". Pinter composed 27 screenplays and film scripts for cinema and television, many of which were filmed, or adapted as stage plays. His fame as a screenwriter began with his three screenplays written for films directed by Joseph Losey, leading to their close friendship: The Servant (1963), based on the novel by Robin Maugham; Accident (1967), adapted from the novel by Nicholas Mosley; and The Go-Between (1971), based on the novel by L. P. Hartley. Films based on Pinter's adaptations of his own stage plays are: The Caretaker (1963), directed by Clive Donner; The Birthday Party (1968), directed by William Friedkin; The Homecoming (1973), directed by Peter Hall; and Betrayal (1983), directed by David Jones.
  • 1993
    Age 62
    In her own contemporaneous diary entry dated 15 January 1993, Fraser described herself more as Pinter's literary midwife.
    More Details Hide Details I think you can see that in his work after No Man's Land 1975, which was a very bleak play." Pinter was content in his second marriage and enjoyed family life with his six adult stepchildren and 17 step-grandchildren. Even after battling cancer for several years, he considered himself "a very lucky man in every respect". Sarah Lyall notes in her 2007 interview with Pinter in The New York Times that his "latest work, a slim pamphlet called "Six Poems for A.," comprises poems written over 32 years, with "A" of course being Lady Antonia. The first of the poems was written in Paris, where she and Mr. Pinter traveled soon after they met. More than three decades later the two are rarely apart, and Mr. Pinter turns soft, even cozy, when he talks about his wife." In that interview Pinter "acknowledged that his plays—full of infidelity, cruelty, inhumanity, the lot—seem at odds with his domestic contentment. 'How can you write a happy play?' he said. 'Drama is about conflict and degrees of perturbation, disarray. I've never been able to write a happy play, but I've been able to enjoy a happy life. After his death, Fraser told The Guardian: "He was a great man, and it was a privilege to live with him for over 33 years. He will never be forgotten."
  • 1992
    Age 61
    Pinter adapted it as a screenplay for television in 1992, directing that production, first broadcast in the UK on Channel 4 on 17 November 1992.
    More Details Hide Details Intertwining political and personal concerns, his next full-length plays, Moonlight (1993) and Ashes to Ashes (1996) are set in domestic households and focus on dying and death; in their personal conversations in Ashes to Ashes, Devlin and Rebecca allude to unspecified atrocities relating to the Holocaust. After experiencing the deaths of first his mother (1992) and then his father (1997), again merging the personal and the political, Pinter wrote the poems "Death" (1997) and "The Disappeared" (1998). Pinter's last stage play, Celebration (2000), is a social satire set in an opulent restaurant, which lampoons The Ivy, a fashionable venue in London's West End theatre district, and its patrons who "have just come from performances of either the ballet or the opera. Not that they can remember a darn thing about what they saw, including the titles. These gilded, foul-mouthed souls are just as myopic when it comes to their own table mates (and for that matter, their food), with conversations that usually connect only on the surface, if there." On its surface the play may appear to have fewer overtly political resonances than some of the plays from the 1980s and 1990s; but its central male characters, brothers named Lambert and Matt, are members of the elite (like the men in charge in Party Time), who describe themselves as "peaceful strategy consultants because we don't carry guns."
  • 1985
    Age 54
    In 1985 Pinter stated that whereas his earlier plays presented metaphors for power and powerlessness, the later ones present literal realities of power and its abuse.
    More Details Hide Details Pinter's "political theater dramatizes the interplay and conflict of the opposing poles of involvement and disengagement." Mountain Language (1988) is about the Turkish suppression of the Kurdish language. The dramatic sketch The New World Order (1991) provides what Robert Cushman, writing in The Independent described as "10 nerve wracking minutes" of two men threatening to torture a third man who is blindfolded, gagged and bound in a chair; Pinter directed the British première at the Royal Court Theatre Upstairs, where it opened on 9 July 1991, and the production then transferred to Washington, D.C., where it was revived in 1994. Pinter's longer political satire Party Time (1991) premièred at the Almeida Theatre in London, in a double-bill with Mountain Language.
    He was an officer in International PEN, travelling with American playwright Arthur Miller to Turkey in 1985 on a mission co-sponsored with a Helsinki Watch committee to investigate and protest against the torture of imprisoned writers.
    More Details Hide Details There he met victims of political oppression and their families. Pinter's experiences in Turkey and his knowledge of the Turkish suppression of the Kurdish language inspired his 1988 play Mountain Language. He was also an active member of the Cuba Solidarity Campaign, an organisation that "campaigns in the UK against the US blockade of Cuba". In 2001 Pinter joined the International Committee to Defend Slobodan Milošević (ICDSM), which appealed for a fair trial and for the freedom of Slobodan Milošević, signing a related "Artists' Appeal for Milošević" in 2004. Pinter strongly opposed the 1991 Gulf War, the 1999 NATO bombing campaign in Yugoslavia during the Kosovo War, the United States' 2001 War in Afghanistan, and the 2003 Invasion of Iraq. Among his provocative political statements, Pinter called Prime Minister Tony Blair a "deluded idiot" and compared the administration of President George W. Bush to Nazi Germany. He stated that the United States "was charging towards world domination while the American public and Britain's 'mass-murdering' prime minister sat back and watched." He was very active in the antiwar movement in the United Kingdom, speaking at rallies held by the Stop the War Coalition and frequently criticising American aggression, as when he asked rhetorically, in his acceptance speech for the Wilfred Owen Award for Poetry on 18 March 2007: "What would Wilfred Owen make of the invasion of Iraq? A bandit act, an act of blatant state terrorism, demonstrating absolute contempt for the conception of international law."
  • 1979
    Age 48
    Just before this hiatus, in 1979, Pinter re-discovered his manuscript of The Hothouse, which he had written in 1958 but had set aside; he revised it and then directed its first production himself at Hampstead Theatre in London, in 1980.
    More Details Hide Details Like his plays of the 1980s, The Hothouse concerns authoritarianism and the abuses of power politics, but it is also a comedy, like his earlier comedies of menace. Pinter played the major role of Roote in a 1995 revival at the Minerva Theatre, Chichester. Pinter's brief dramatic sketch Precisely (1983) is a duologue between two bureaucrats exploring the absurd power politics of mutual nuclear annihilation and deterrence. His first overtly political one-act play is One for the Road (1984).
  • 1977
    Age 46
    After the Frasers' divorce had become final in 1977 and the Pinters' in 1980, Pinter married Fraser on 27 November 1980.
    More Details Hide Details Because of a two-week delay in Merchant's signing the divorce papers, however, the reception had to precede the actual ceremony, originally scheduled to occur on his 50th birthday. Vivien Merchant died of acute alcoholism in the first week of October 1982, at the age of 53. Billington writes that Pinter "did everything possible to support" her and regretted that he ultimately became estranged from their son, Daniel, after their separation, Pinter's remarriage, and Merchant's death. A reclusive gifted musician and writer, Daniel changed his surname from Pinter to Brand, the maiden name of his maternal grandmother, before Pinter and Fraser became romantically involved; while according to Fraser, his father couldn't understand it, she says that she could: "Pinter is such a distinctive name that he must have got tired of being asked, 'Any relation? Michael Billington wrote that Pinter saw Daniel's name change as "a largely pragmatic move on Daniel's part designed to keep the press... at bay." Fraser told Billington that Daniel "was very nice to me at a time when it would have been only too easy for him to have turned on me... simply because he had been the sole focus of his father's love and now manifestly wasn't." Still unreconciled at the time of his father's death, Daniel Brand did not attend Pinter's funeral.
  • 1975
    Age 44
    After hiding the relationship from Merchant for two and a half months, on 21 March 1975, Pinter finally told her "I've met somebody".
    More Details Hide Details After that, "Life in Hanover Terrace gradually became impossible", and Pinter moved out of their house on 28 April 1975, five days after the première of No Man's Land. In mid-August 1977, after Pinter and Fraser had spent two years living in borrowed and rented quarters, they moved into her former family home in Holland Park, where Pinter began writing Betrayal. He reworked it later, while on holiday at the Grand Hotel, in Eastbourne, in early January 1978.
    He left Merchant in 1975 and married author Lady Antonia Fraser in 1980.
    More Details Hide Details Pinter's career as a playwright began with a production of The Room in 1957. His second play, The Birthday Party, closed after eight performances, but was enthusiastically reviewed by critic Harold Hobson. His early works were described by critics as "comedy of menace". Later plays such as No Man's Land (1975) and Betrayal (1978) became known as "memory plays". He appeared as an actor in productions of his own work on radio and film. He also undertook a number of roles in works by other writers. He directed nearly 50 productions for stage, theatre and screen. Pinter received over 50 awards, prizes, and other honours, including the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2005 and the French Légion d'honneur in 2007. Despite frail health after being diagnosed with oesophageal cancer in December 2001, Pinter continued to act on stage and screen, last performing the title role of Samuel Beckett's one-act monologue Krapp's Last Tape, for the 50th anniversary season of the Royal Court Theatre, in October 2006.
  • 1968
    Age 37
    Then Pinter turned his unfilmed script into a television play, which was produced as The Basement, both on BBC 2 and also on stage in 1968.
    More Details Hide Details From the late 1960s through the early 1980s, Pinter wrote a series of plays and sketches that explore complex ambiguities, elegiac mysteries, comic vagaries, and other "quicksand-like" characteristics of memory and which critics sometimes classify as Pinter's "memory plays". These include Landscape (1968), Silence (1969), Night (1969), Old Times (1971), No Man's Land (1975), The Proust Screenplay (1977), Betrayal (1978), Family Voices (1981), Victoria Station (1982), and A Kind of Alaska (1982). Some of Pinter's later plays, including Party Time (1991), Moonlight (1993), Ashes to Ashes (1996), and Celebration (2000), draw upon some features of his "memory" dramaturgy in their focus on the past in the present, but they have personal and political resonances and other tonal differences from these earlier memory plays.
  • 1964
    Age 33
    In 1964, The Birthday Party was revived both on television (with Pinter himself in the role of Goldberg) and on stage (directed by Pinter at the Aldwych Theatre) and was well received.
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  • 1962
    Age 31
    The Collection premièred at the Aldwych Theatre in 1962, and The Dwarfs, adapted from Pinter's then unpublished novel of the same title, was first broadcast on radio in 1960, then adapted for the stage (also at the Arts Theatre Club) in a double bill with The Lover, which was then televised on Associated Rediffusion in 1963; and Tea Party, a play that Pinter developed from his 1963 short story, first broadcast on BBC TV in 1965.
    More Details Hide Details Working as both a screenwriter and as a playwright, Pinter composed a script called The Compartment (1966), for a trilogy of films to be contributed by Samuel Beckett, Eugène Ionesco, and Pinter, of which only Beckett's film, titled Film, was actually produced.
    For seven years, from 1962 to 1969, Pinter was engaged in a clandestine affair with BBC-TV presenter and journalist Joan Bakewell, which inspired his 1978 play Betrayal, and also throughout that period and beyond he had an affair with an American socialite, whom he nicknamed "Cleopatra".
    More Details Hide Details This relationship was another secret he kept from both his wife and Bakewell. Initially, Betrayal was thought to be a response to his later affair with historian Antonia Fraser, the wife of Hugh Fraser, and Pinter's "marital crack-up". Pinter and Merchant had both met Fraser in 1969, when all three worked together on a National Gallery programme about Mary, Queen of Scots; several years later, on 8–9 January 1975, Pinter and Fraser became romantically involved. That meeting initiated their five-year extramarital love affair.
  • 1960
    Age 29
    His play Night School was first televised in 1960 on Associated Rediffusion.
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    The first production of The Caretaker, at the Arts Theatre Club, in London, in 1960, established Pinter's theatrical reputation.
    More Details Hide Details The play transferred to the Duchess Theatre in May 1960 and ran for 444 performances, receiving an Evening Standard Award for best play of 1960. Large radio and television audiences for his one-act play A Night Out, along with the popularity of his revue sketches, propelled him to further critical attention.
    Next he wrote The Dumb Waiter (1959), which premièred in Germany and was then produced in a double bill with The Room at the Hampstead Theatre Club, in London, in 1960.
    More Details Hide Details It was then not produced often until the 1980s, and it has been revived more frequently since 2000, including the West End Trafalgar Studios production in 2007.
  • 1958
    Age 27
    Pinter wrote The Hothouse in 1958, which he shelved for over 20 years (See "Overtly political plays and sketches" below).
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    The production was described by Billington as "a staggeringly confident debut which attracted the attention of a young producer, Michael Codron, who decided to present Pinter's next play, The Birthday Party, at the Lyric Hammersmith, in 1958."
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  • 1957
    Age 26
    Written in 1957 and produced in 1958, Pinter's second play, The Birthday Party, one of his best-known works, was initially both a commercial and critical disaster, despite an enthusiastic review in The Sunday Times by its influential drama critic Harold Hobson, which appeared only after the production had closed and could not be reprieved.
    More Details Hide Details Critical accounts often quote Hobson: Pinter himself and later critics generally credited Hobson as bolstering him and perhaps even rescuing his career. In a review published in 1958, borrowing from the subtitle of The Lunatic View: A Comedy of Menace, a play by David Campton, critic Irving Wardle called Pinter's early plays "comedy of menace"—a label that people have applied repeatedly to his work. Such plays begin with an apparently innocent situation that becomes both threatening and "absurd" as Pinter's characters behave in ways often perceived as inexplicable by his audiences and one another. Pinter acknowledges the influence of Samuel Beckett, particularly on his early work; they became friends, sending each other drafts of their works in progress for comments.
    Pinter's first play, The Room, written and first performed in 1957, was a student production at the University of Bristol, directed by his good friend, actor Henry Woolf, who also originated the role of Mr. Kidd (which he reprised in 2001 and 2007).
    More Details Hide Details After Pinter mentioned that he had an idea for a play, Woolf asked him to write it so that he could direct it to fulfill a requirement for his postgraduate work. Pinter wrote it in three days.
  • 1956
    Age 25
    From 1956 until 1980, Pinter was married to Vivien Merchant, an actress whom he met on tour, perhaps best known for her performance in the 1966 film Alfie.
    More Details Hide Details Their son, Daniel, was born in 1958. Through the early 1970s, Merchant appeared in many of Pinter's works, including The Homecoming on stage (1965) and screen (1973), but the marriage was turbulent.
    In 1956 he married actress Vivien Merchant and had a son, Daniel born in 1958.
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  • 1954
    Age 23
    From 1954 until 1959, Pinter acted under the stage name David Baron.
    More Details Hide Details In all, Pinter played over 20 roles under that name. To supplement his income from acting, Pinter worked as a waiter, a postman, a bouncer, and a snow-clearer, meanwhile, according to Mark Batty, "harbouring ambitions as a poet and writer." In October 1989 Pinter recalled: "I was in English rep as an actor for about 12 years. My favourite roles were undoubtedly the sinister ones. They're something to get your teeth into." During that period, he also performed occasional roles in his own and others' works for radio, TV, and film, as he continued to do throughout his career.
  • 1952
    Age 21
    In 1952 he began acting in regional English repertory productions; from 1953 to 1954, he worked for the Donald Wolfit Company, at the King's Theatre, Hammersmith, performing eight roles.
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  • 1951
    Age 20
    From 1951 to 1952, he toured Ireland with the Anew McMaster repertory company, playing over a dozen roles.
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    From January to July 1951, he attended the Central School of Speech and Drama.
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  • 1949
    Age 18
    He had a small part in the Christmas pantomime Dick Whittington and His Cat at the Chesterfield Hippodrome in 1949 to 1950.
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  • 1948
    Age 17
    In 1948 he was called up for National Service.
    More Details Hide Details He registered as a conscientious objector, was brought to trial twice, and was ultimately fined for refusing to serve.
    Beginning in late 1948, Pinter attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art for two terms, but hating the school, missed most of his classes, feigned a nervous breakdown, and dropped out in 1949.
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  • 1947
    Age 16
    At the age of 12, Pinter began writing poetry, and in spring 1947, his poetry was first published in the Hackney Downs School Magazine.
    More Details Hide Details In 1950, his poetry was first published outside of the school magazine in Poetry London, some of it under the pseudonym "Harold Pinta". Pinter enjoyed running and broke the Hackney Downs School sprinting record. He was a cricket enthusiast, taking his bat with him when evacuated during the Blitz. In 1971 he told Mel Gussow: "one of my main obsessions in life is the game of cricket—I play and watch and read about it all the time." He was chairman of the Gaieties Cricket Club, a supporter of Yorkshire Cricket Club, and devoted a section of his official website to the sport. One wall of his study was dominated by a portrait of himself as a young man playing cricket, which was described by Sarah Lyall, writing in The New York Times: "The painted Mr. Pinter, poised to swing his bat, has a wicked glint in his eye; testosterone all but flies off the canvas." Pinter approved of the "urban and exacting idea of cricket as a bold theatre of aggression." After his death, several of his school contemporaries recalled his achievements in sports, especially cricket and running. The BBC Radio 4 memorial tribute included an essay on Pinter and cricket.
    In 1947 and 1948, he played Romeo and Macbeth in productions directed by Brearley.
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  • 1944
    Age 13
    Pinter discovered his social potential as a student at Hackney Downs School, a London grammar school, between 1944 and 1948. "Partly through the school and partly through the social life of Hackney Boys' Club... he formed an almost sacerdotal belief in the power of male friendship.
    More Details Hide Details The friends he made in those days—most particularly Henry Woolf, Michael (Mick) Goldstein and Morris (Moishe) Wernick—have always been a vital part of the emotional texture of his life." A major influence on Pinter was his inspirational English teacher Joseph Brearley, who directed him in school plays and with whom he took long walks, talking about literature. According to Billington, under Brearley's instruction, "Pinter shone at English, wrote for the school magazine and discovered a gift for acting."
  • 1940
    Age 9
    Pinter's family home in London is described by his official biographer Michael Billington as "a solid, red-brick, three-storey villa just off the noisy, bustling, traffic-ridden thoroughfare of the Lower Clapton Road". In 1940 and 1941, after the Blitz, Pinter was evacuated from their house in London to Cornwall and Reading.
    More Details Hide Details Billington states that the "life-and-death intensity of daily experience" before and during the Blitz left Pinter with profound memories "of loneliness, bewilderment, separation and loss: themes that are in all his works."
  • 1930
    Pinter was born on 10 October 1930, in Hackney, east London, the only child of English parents of Jewish Eastern European ancestry: his father, Hyman "Jack" Pinter (1902–1997) was a ladies' tailor; his mother, Frances (née Moskowitz; 1904–1992), a housewife.
    More Details Hide Details Pinter believed an aunt's erroneous view that the family was Sephardic and had fled the Spanish Inquisition; thus, for his early poems, Pinter used the pseudonym Pinta and at other times used variations such as da Pinto. Later research by Lady Antonia Fraser, Pinter's second wife, revealed the legend to be apocryphal; three of Pinter's grandparents came from Poland and the fourth from Odessa, so the family was Ashkenazic.
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