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David Mamet

(1947 - )


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David Alan Mamet is a Jewish American playwright, screenwriter and film director.

Mamet was born on November 30, 1947, in Flossmoor, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. Mamet attended Goddard College, in Vermont, where he studied literature and theatre. He began working at the Neighborhood Playhouse and experimented with playwriting. He was a founding member of the Atlantic Theatre Company.

His breakthrough came first in Chicago with 1974's Sexual Perversity in Chicago, which won the Chicago's Joseph Jefferson Award for outstanding play of the year. He first gained national acclaim, however, for a trio of off-Broadway plays in 1976, The Duck Variations, Sexual Perversity in Chicago, and American Buffalo. He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1984 for Glengarry Glen Ross, which received its first Broadway revival in the summer of 2005. Was twice nominated for Broadway's Tony Award as author of a Best Play nominee: in 1984 for “Glengarry Glen Ross,” and in 1988 for “Speed-the-Plow.”

Mamet has a famous ear for dialogue was in evidence from the start, creating dialogue crafted for maximum poetic effect. His work has developed over the years, then, primarily in his skill at sustaining longer plots, using tantalizing and even playful surprises. Much of his writings deal with the concerns of the loss of the American Dream and corruption of society by greed, comfort, and conformity. He expresses these themes through profane language which captures the American culture of the time.

Mamet’s first screenplay was the 1981 production of The Postman Always Rings Twice. He won an Academy Award nomination for his next script, The Verdict. In 1987, Mamet made his film directing debut with House of Games. Mamet funds his own films with the pay he gets from credited and un-credited rewrites of big-budget films. In 1991, he wrote and directed the motion picture Homicide, a film about a Jewish police detective.

Mamet has also published three novels, The Village in 1994, The Old Religion in 1997, and Wilson: a Consideration of the Sources in 2000. He has also written several non-fiction texts as well as a number of poems and children’s stories.

Mamet was also the creator, producer and frequent writer of the television series The Unit.


Sources: American Jewish Desk Reference, pg. 541; Wikipedia

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