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.
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Can government overreach be funny? Antaeus looks for laughs in 'The Hothouse'
LATimes - 20 days
Harold Pinter wrote “The Hothouse” in the 1950s, then buried it in a drawer before resurrecting it in 1980 for a production that he himself directed. During the interim, what Pinter initially intended as a fantasy became oddly timely. “Reality has overtaken it,” he commented at the time. What a...
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 LATimes article
London Theater Reviews: Two Literary Greats, One Done Well and One Done Wrongly
NYTimes - 29 days
Productions of Oscar Wilde’s “Lady Windermere’s Fan” and Harold Pinter’s “The Birthday Party” are currently playing on the West End.
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 NYTimes article
L.A. theater openings, Jan. 31-Feb. 7: 'The Mountaintop' and more
LATimes - about 2 years
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 2 years
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 accla...
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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 2 years
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 ...
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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 2 years
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-...
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 Huffington Post article
Theater: Solid Sam Shepard, Half-Baked "Barbecue" And Muddled "Old Times"
Huffington Post - over 2 years
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 acc...
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 Huffington Post article
Theater: Solid Sam Shepard, Half-Baked "Barbecue" And Muddled "Old Times"
Huffington Post - over 2 years
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 acc...
Article Link:
 Huffington Post article
'Old Times' Review: Made in England, Assembled on Broadway
Wall Street Journal - over 2 years
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 2 years
This Harold Pinter revival is not an “Old Times” for purists, but it has its pleasures.
Article Link:
 NYTimes article
Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Harold Pinter
    LATE ADULTHOOD
  • 2008
    Age 77
    He died from liver cancer on 24 December 2008.
    His presidency of the school was brief; he died just two weeks after the graduation ceremony, on 24 December 2008.
    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.
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    Pinter's funeral was a private, half-hour secular ceremony conducted at the graveside at Kensal Green Cemetery, 31 December 2008.
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    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:
    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.
    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.
  • 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).
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    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.
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  • 2006
    Age 75
    In October and November 2006, Sheffield Theatres hosted Pinter: A Celebration.
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    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.
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    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.
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    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.
    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.
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  • 2005
    Age 74
    The Nobel Prize Awards Ceremony and related events throughout Scandinavia took place in December 2005.
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    Three days later, it was announced that he had won the 2005 Nobel Prize in Literature.
    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.
    Yet, he completed his screenplay for the film of Sleuth in 2005.
    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."
    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.
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  • 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.
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  • 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).
  • 2001
    Age 70
    In December 2001, Pinter was diagnosed with oesophageal cancer, for which, in 2002, he underwent an operation and chemotherapy.
    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.
    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.
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  • 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.
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  • 1993
    Age 62
    In her own contemporaneous diary entry dated 15 January 1993, Fraser described herself more as Pinter's literary midwife.
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  • 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.
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  • FIFTIES
  • 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.
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    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.
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  • FORTIES
  • 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.
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  • 1977
    Age 46
    After the Frasers' divorce had become final in 1977 and the Pinters' in 1980, Pinter married Fraser on 27 November 1980.
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  • 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".
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    He left Merchant in 1975 and married author Lady Antonia Fraser in 1980.
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  • THIRTIES
  • 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.
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  • 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.
  • 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.
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    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".
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  • TWENTIES
  • 1960
    Age 29
    His play Night School was first televised in 1960 on Associated Rediffusion.
    The first production of The Caretaker, at the Arts Theatre Club, in London, in 1960, established Pinter's theatrical reputation.
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    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.
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  • 1958
    Age 27
    Pinter wrote The Hothouse in 1958, which he shelved for over 20 years (See "Overtly political plays and sketches" below).
    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."
  • 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.
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    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).
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  • 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.
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    In 1956 he married actress Vivien Merchant and had a son, Daniel born in 1958.
  • 1954
    Age 23
    From 1954 until 1959, Pinter acted under the stage name David Baron.
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  • 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.
  • 1951
    Age 20
    From 1951 to 1952, he toured Ireland with the Anew McMaster repertory company, playing over a dozen roles.
    From January to July 1951, he attended the Central School of Speech and Drama.
  • TEENAGE
  • 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.
  • 1948
    Age 17
    In 1948 he was called up for National Service.
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    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.
  • 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.
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    In 1947 and 1948, he played Romeo and Macbeth in productions directed by Brearley.
  • 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.
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  • CHILDHOOD
  • 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.
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  • 1930
    Born
    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.
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Original Authors of this text are noted here.
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