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David Mamet Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (3)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Spouse (2)  | Trade Mark (5)  | Trivia (26)  | Personal Quotes (26)

Overview (3)

Born in Chicago, Illinois, USA
Birth NameDavid Alan Mamet
Height 5' 6" (1.68 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Born in 1947 in Chicago, he was educated at Goddard College, in Vermont, and studied drama at New York's Nieghbourhood Playhouse, before returning to Chicago and establishing the St Nicholas Theatre Company in 1972. He remained their resident writer for four years. The first of his plays to secure international recognition was 'Sexual Perversity in Chicago' (1974) and 'American Buffalo' (1975). The latter was eventually performed by Al Pacino on Broadway and London's West End earning him an 'Award Obie' when it transferred from Chicago to New York.His play 'Glen Gary Glen Ross won the Pulitzer Prize and the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Play. His other plays include 'A Life in the Theatre' (1977). 'Edmond' (1982). 'The Shawl' (1985) and 'Speed the Plow' (1988). The rejection of his screen adaption of 'Sexual Perversity in Chicago' was completely rewritten and released as 'About Last Night in 1986. He soon attracted wide acclaim as a screenwriter when his version of 'The Postman Always Rings Twice' (1981) was made by Bob Rafelson and his original screenplay for 'The Verdict (1982) was nominated for an Oscar. Subsequent screenplays include'The Untouchables' (1987) 'We're No Angels' (1990), 'Glengary Glen Ross'. He then wrote and directed 'House of Games (1987) 'Things Change' (1988) and 'Homicide' (1991) He's also published two collections of essays 'Writing in Restaurants' (1986) and Some Freaks' (1989). In 1987 he conducted a series of classes at Columbia University Film School which were put into print as 'On Directing Film' (1992).

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Tonyman 5

Spouse (2)

Rebecca Pidgeon (22 September 1991 - present) ( 2 children)
Lindsay Crouse (21 December 1977 - 1991) ( divorced) ( 2 children)

Trade Mark (5)

Frequently makes use of William H. Macy, Alec Baldwin and Joe Mantegna, actors who also headlined his stage productions. Other regulars include Ed O'Neill, Lionel Mark Smith, Ricky Jay, Jonathan Katz and the late J.T. Walsh.
The telephone is often a key device or weapon in his works
His films feature bursts of fast moving, profane dialog
Often casts his wife, Rebecca Pidgeon, in prominent roles in movies he directs. While he was married to Lindsay Crouse, the same was true for her.
Great attention to realistic dialogue, often the actors in his films stutter or even leave a large portion of their lines unsaid.

Trivia (26)

Playwright/screenwriter
Well known for the rhythmic nature of his dialogue, he actually uses a metronome during rehearsals to perfect the actors' delivery of it.
Won the Pulitzer prize in Drama for "Glengary Glen Ross".
His stage work assayed in book entitled, "How Good is David Mamet, Anyway?" by critic John Heilpern, Dec. 1999.
Attended Goddard College, Plainfield, VT with William H. Macy and Jonathan Katz.
Brother of Lynn Mamet.
Two children with actress Rebecca Pidgeon: Clara Mamet and Noah Mamet.
Daughters with Lindsay Crouse: Zosia Mamet and Willa Mamet.
His play "Boston Marriage" was performed at the Donmar Warehouse and New Ambassador's Theatre in London and was nominated for a 2002 'Laurence Olivier' Theatre Award for Best New Comedy of 2001.
Eschews using a personal computer to write his screenplays and plays, preferring to use his old-fashioned typewriter.
Used to work as a waiter at Second City Theater in Chicago.
Brother-in-law of Matthew Pidgeon.
Was twice nominated for Broadway's Tony Award for Best Play: in 1984 for "Glengarry Glen Ross," and in 1988 for "Speed-the-Plow.".
Often either declines credit or uses a pseudonym if he is called upon only as a script doctor, or some films he doesn't direct. The only such film that credited him by name was Hannibal (2001).
He wanted to be an actor as a young man but his attempts failed so he turned to writing and directing in order to stay in the industry.
Occasional co-lyricist for his wife, singer Rebecca Pidgeon.
His play, "Glengarry Glen Ross", was awarded the 1984 Joseph Jefferson Award for Play Production at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago, Illinois.
Won the 1984 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for the play "Glengarry Glen Ross" and was nominated for the 1995 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for the play "The Cryptogram".
Ex-son-in-law of Russel Crouse.
As a teenager Mamet was a regular on "Kumzitz," a local Chicago WLS-TV show for Jewish youth. His recurring character was a soda jerk.
Based his play 'Glengarry Glen Ross' on his own time working in a Real Estate office.
Although he intended it as a deconstruction of ruthless business practices and the nature of capitalism, many businesses have used the film 'Glengarry Glen Ross' as a training method and motivational tool for employees.
Interviewed by Frank Rich at the Lighthouse International Theater on Feb. 12th in NYC. [January 2007]
His favorite books are outlaws, true grit, wolfville, the complete works of Ernest bramah, post captain, and gates of fire.
He is an avid fan of film noir.
He is the son of Lenore June (Silver) and Bernard Morris Mamet. He is of Russian Jewish and Polish Jewish descent.

Personal Quotes (26)

[to acting students at Atlantic Theater Company]Invent nothing, deny nothing.
I've always been more comfortable sinking while clutching a good theory than swimming with an ugly fact.
There's no such thing as talent; you just have to work hard enough.
In a world we find terrifying, we ratify that which doesn't threaten us.
We Americans have always considered Hollywood, at best, a sinkhole of depraved venality. And, of course, it is. It is not a protective monastery of aesthetic truth. It is a place where everything is incredibly expensive.
The poker player learns that sometimes both science and common sense are wrong; that the bumblebee can fly; that, perhaps, one should never trust an expert; that there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of by those with an academic bent.
A good film script should be able to do completely without dialogue.
[when asked to comment on adapting his own work for the screen] It's like raping your children to teach them about sex.
We live in oppressive times. We have, as a nation, become our own thought police, but instead of calling the process by which we limit our expression of dissent and wonder "censorship", we call it "concern for commercial viability."
Thank God Hollywood people don't have souls so they don't have to suffer through their lives.
Asperger's syndrome helped make the movies. The symptoms of this developmental disorder include early precocity, a great ability to maintain masses of information, a lack of ability to mix with groups in age-appropriate aways, ignorance of or indifference to social norms, high intelligence, and difficulty with transitions married to a preternatural ability to concentrate on the minutiae of the task at hand. This sounds to me like a job description for a movie director.
Hollywood is like cocaine. You cannot understand its attraction until you are doing it. And when you are doing it, you are insane.
Hollywood is capitalism at its best: opposing forces working it out, using tools of the marketplace. As such, it's vastly messier than totalitarianism, but it kills a lot less people.
[when asked if he wished he had a different profession] Oh, all writers wish that. That's why we become writers. We want to do something active but we can't. Paul Johnson, in his "History of the 20th Century", says all the great crimes are committed by intellectuals. He says intellectuals love power and we get tired of sitting on our asses.
I have to admit that I don't like Disneyland.
As a child of the 1960s, I accepted as an article of faith that government is corrupt, business is exploitable and people are generally good at heart. But these cherished precepts, I realised, had over the years become increasingly impracticable prejudices.
I'd observed that lust, greed, envy, sloth and their pals are giving the world a good run for its money; but that nonetheless people in general seem to get from day to day; and that we in the United States get from day to day in rather wonderful and privileged circumstances. We are not and never have been the villains that some of the world and some of our citizens make us out to be, but a confection of normal (greedy, lustful, duplicitous, corrupt, inspired - in short, human) individuals living under a spectacularly effective compact called the constitution.
Before the US [2006] mid-term elections, my rabbi was taking a lot of flak. The congregation is exclusive-liberal, yet he is a self-described independent (read "conservative") and he was driving the flock wild. Why? Because a) he never discussed politics; and b) he taught that the quality of political discourse must be addressed first; that Jewish law teaches that it is incumbent upon one to hear the other fellow out.

'So I, like many of the liberal congregation, began - teeth grinding - to attempt to do so. And in doing so I recognised that I held two views of America.

'One was of a state where everything was magically wrong and must be immediately corrected at any cost; and the other (the world in which I actually functioned day to day) was made up of people who were in the main reasonably trying to maximise their comfort by getting along with one another (in the workplace, the marketplace, the jury room, even the school meeting).

'And I realised that the time had come for me to avow my participation in the country in which I chose to live - and that this country was not a schoolroom teaching values, but a marketplace.
Take away the director from the staged play and what do you get? Usually a diminution of strife, a shorter rehearsal period and a better production.
There's no such thing as character development; all there is is action.
Working as a screenwriter, I always thought that 'Film is a collaborative business' only constituted half of the actual phrase. From a screenwriter's point-of-view, the correct rendering should be 'Film is a collaborative business: bend over'.
In my experience, almost every financial interchange with Hollywood ends with an accusation by the corporation of theft. 'You didn't do what I wanted, you didn't work hard enough, you intended to defraud me.' These are the recurring plaints of industry. They may be translated as: You forgot to work for nothing.
[on the influence of Vikram Jayanti's documentary, 'The Agony and the Ecstasy of Phil Spector' on his own later project for HBO] I see the documentary, and it's a brilliant documentary. And you start out. In the first ten seconds you're saying, 'Oh, this guy's a freak. He's small. He's wizened. He talks funny. His arms are shaky. He's obviously a freak'. Three minutes later, you say, 'Well, he says some interesting things'. A half an hour, you're saying, 'How could I be so prejudiced? The guy's kind of brilliant'. And at the end of the documentary, you're saying, 'Wait a second. I came to this with such prejudice. Maybe the guy's not guilty'.
[on why he writes] It beats thinking.
In my family, in the days prior to television, we liked to while away the evenings by making ourselves miserable, solely based on our ability to speak the language viciously.
The purpose of the theatre is not primarily to deal with social issues, it's to deal with spiritual issues ... to celebrate the mysteries of life. [1985]

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