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Harold Pinter

Harold Pinter

Overview
Harold Pinter, CH, CBE (10 October 1930 – 24 December 2008) was a Nobel Prize–winning English playwright and screenwriter. One of the most influential modern British dramatists, his writing career spanned more than 50 years. His best-known plays include The Birthday Party
The Birthday Party (play)
The Birthday Party is the first full-length play by Harold Pinter and one of Pinter's best-known and most-frequently performed plays...

(1957), The Homecoming
The Homecoming
The Homecoming is a two-act play written in 1964 by Nobel laureate Harold Pinter and first published in 1965. The original Broadway production won the 1967 Tony Award for Best Play and its 40th-anniversary Broadway production at the Cort Theatre was nominated for a 2008 Tony Award for "Best Revival...

(1964), and Betrayal
Betrayal (play)
Betrayal is a play written by Harold Pinter in 1978. Critically regarded as one of the English playwright's major dramatic works, it features his characteristically economical dialogue, characters' hidden emotions and veiled motivations, and their self-absorbed competitive one-upmanship,...

(1978), each of which he adapted to film.
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Encyclopedia
Harold Pinter, CH, CBE (10 October 1930 – 24 December 2008) was a Nobel Prize–winning English playwright and screenwriter. One of the most influential modern British dramatists, his writing career spanned more than 50 years. His best-known plays include The Birthday Party
The Birthday Party (play)
The Birthday Party is the first full-length play by Harold Pinter and one of Pinter's best-known and most-frequently performed plays...

(1957), The Homecoming
The Homecoming
The Homecoming is a two-act play written in 1964 by Nobel laureate Harold Pinter and first published in 1965. The original Broadway production won the 1967 Tony Award for Best Play and its 40th-anniversary Broadway production at the Cort Theatre was nominated for a 2008 Tony Award for "Best Revival...

(1964), and Betrayal
Betrayal (play)
Betrayal is a play written by Harold Pinter in 1978. Critically regarded as one of the English playwright's major dramatic works, it features his characteristically economical dialogue, characters' hidden emotions and veiled motivations, and their self-absorbed competitive one-upmanship,...

(1978), each of which he adapted to film. His screenplay adaptations of others' works include The Servant (1963), The Go-Between
The Go-Between (film)
The Go-Between is Harold Pinter's 1970 film adaptation of the novel by L. P. Hartley. A British production directed by Joseph Losey, it stars Dominic Guard , Julie Christie, Alan Bates, Margaret Leighton, Michael Redgrave, Michael Gough and Edward Fox.Pinter's screenplay—his final collaboration...

(1970), The French Lieutenant's Woman
The French Lieutenant's Woman (film)
The French Lieutenant's Woman is a 1981 film directed by Karel Reisz and adapted by playwright Harold Pinter. It is based on the novel of the same title by John Fowles...

(1981), The Trial
The Trial (1993 film)
The Trial is a 1993 film made by the British Broadcasting Corporation based on Harold Pinter's screenplay adaptation of Franz Kafka's 1925 novel The Trial....

(1993), and Sleuth
Sleuth (2007 film)
Sleuth is a 2007 thriller film directed by Kenneth Branagh and starring Jude Law and Michael Caine. The screenplay by Harold Pinter is an adaption of Anthony Shaffer's Tony Award-winning play Sleuth...

(2007). He also directed or acted in radio, stage, television, and film productions of his own and others' works.

Pinter was born and raised in Hackney
Metropolitan Borough of Hackney
The Metropolitan Borough of Hackney was a Metropolitan borough of the County of London from 1900 to 1965. Its area became part of the London Borough of Hackney.-Formation and boundaries:...

, east London, and educated at Hackney Downs School
Hackney Downs School
Hackney Downs School was a comprehensive secondary school, located near Hackney Downs off the A104 north of Hackney town centre, in the London Borough of Hackney.-Grocers' Company's School:...

. He was a sprinter and a keen cricket player, acting in school plays and writing poetry. He attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art
Royal Academy of Dramatic Art
The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art is a drama school located in London, United Kingdom. It is generally regarded as one of the most renowned drama schools in the world, and is one of the oldest drama schools in the United Kingdom, having been founded in 1904.RADA is an affiliate school of the...

 but did not complete the course. He was fined for refusing National Service
National service
National service is a common name for mandatory government service programmes . The term became common British usage during and for some years following the Second World War. Many young people spent one or more years in such programmes...

 as a conscientious objector
Conscientious objector
A conscientious objector is an "individual who has claimed the right to refuse to perform military service" on the grounds of freedom of thought, conscience, and/or religion....

. Subsequently, he continued training at the Central School of Speech and Drama
Central School of Speech and Drama
The Central School of Speech and Drama was founded in London in 1906 by Elsie Fogerty to offer a new form of training in speech and drama for young actors and other students...

 and worked in repertory theatre in Ireland and England. In 1956 he married actress Vivien Merchant
Vivien Merchant
Vivien Merchant was a British actress.-Career:Merchant performed in many stage productions and several films, including Alfie and Frenzy...

 and had a son, Daniel born in 1958. He left Merchant in 1975 and married author Antonia Fraser
Antonia Fraser
Lady Antonia Margaret Caroline Fraser, DBE , née Pakenham, is an Anglo-Irish author of history, novels, biographies and detective fiction, best known as Antonia Fraser...

 in 1980.

Pinter's career as a playwright began with a production of The Room in 1957. His second play, The Birthday Party
The Birthday Party (play)
The Birthday Party is the first full-length play by Harold Pinter and one of Pinter's best-known and most-frequently performed plays...

, closed after eight performances, but was enthusiastically reviewed by critic Harold Hobson
Harold Hobson
Sir Harold Hobson was an influential English drama critic and author.He was born in Thorpe Hesley near Rotherham in South Yorkshire, England and read History at Oxford University. He was an assistant literary editor for the Sunday Times from 1944 and later became its drama critic...

. His early works were described by critics as "comedy of menace
Comedy of menace
Comedy of menace is a term used to describe the plays of David Campton, Nigel Dennis, N. F. Simpson, and Harold Pinter by drama critic Irving Wardle, borrowed from the subtitle of Campton's play The Lunatic View: A Comedy of Menace, in reviewing Pinter's and Campton's plays in Encore in 1958...

". Later plays such as No Man's Land
No Man's Land (play)
No Man's Land is a play by Harold Pinter written in 1974 and first produced and published in 1975. Its original production was at the Old Vic Theatre in London by the National Theatre on 23 April 1975, and it later transferred to Wyndhams Theatre, July 1975 - January 1976, the Lyttelton Theatre...

(1975) and Betrayal
Betrayal (play)
Betrayal is a play written by Harold Pinter in 1978. Critically regarded as one of the English playwright's major dramatic works, it features his characteristically economical dialogue, characters' hidden emotions and veiled motivations, and their self-absorbed competitive one-upmanship,...

(1978) became known as "memory plays". He directed productions of his own plays, also those of others for stage, television and film. Pinter received over 50 awards, prizes, and other honours, including the Nobel Prize in Literature
Nobel Prize in Literature
Since 1901, the Nobel Prize in Literature has been awarded annually to an author from any country who has, in the words from the will of Alfred Nobel, produced "in the field of literature the most outstanding work in an ideal direction"...

 in 2005 and the French Légion d'honneur
Légion d'honneur
The Legion of Honour, or in full the National Order of the Legion of Honour is a French order established by Napoleon Bonaparte, First Consul of the Consulat which succeeded to the First Republic, on 19 May 1802...

 in 2007.

Despite frail health after being diagnosed with oesophageal cancer
Esophageal cancer
Esophageal cancer is malignancy of the esophagus. There are various subtypes, primarily squamous cell cancer and adenocarcinoma . Squamous cell cancer arises from the cells that line the upper part of the esophagus...

 in December 2001, Pinter continued to act on stage and screen, last performing the title role of Samuel Beckett
Samuel Beckett
Samuel Barclay Beckett was an Irish avant-garde novelist, playwright, theatre director, and poet. He wrote both in English and French. His work offers a bleak, tragicomic outlook on human nature, often coupled with black comedy and gallows humour.Beckett is widely regarded as among the most...

's one-act monologue Krapp's Last Tape, for the 50th anniversary season of the Royal Court Theatre
Royal Court Theatre
The Royal Court Theatre is a non-commercial theatre on Sloane Square, in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. It is noted for its contributions to modern theatre...

, in October 2006. He died from liver cancer
Liver cancer
Liver tumors or hepatic tumors are tumors or growths on or in the liver . Several distinct types of tumors can develop in the liver because the liver is made up of various cell types. These growths can be benign or malignant...

 on 24 December 2008.

Early life and education


Pinter was born on 10 October 1930, in Hackney
Metropolitan Borough of Hackney
The Metropolitan Borough of Hackney was a Metropolitan borough of the County of London from 1900 to 1965. Its area became part of the London Borough of Hackney.-Formation and boundaries:...

, east London. His lower middle class English parents were of Jewish Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe is the eastern part of Europe. The term has widely disparate geopolitical, geographical, cultural and socioeconomic readings, which makes it highly context-dependent and even volatile, and there are "almost as many definitions of Eastern Europe as there are scholars of the region"...

an ancestry: his father, Jack Pinter (1902–1997) was a ladies' tailor; his mother, Frances (née Moskowitz; 1904–1992), a housewife. Pinter believed an aunt's erroneous view that the family was Sephardic
Sephardi Jews
Sephardi Jews is a general term referring to the descendants of the Jews who lived in the Iberian Peninsula before their expulsion in the Spanish Inquisition. It can also refer to those who use a Sephardic style of liturgy or would otherwise define themselves in terms of the Jewish customs and...

 and had fled the Spanish Inquisition
Spanish Inquisition
The Tribunal of the Holy Office of the Inquisition , commonly known as the Spanish Inquisition , was a tribunal established in 1480 by Catholic Monarchs Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile. It was intended to maintain Catholic orthodoxy in their kingdoms, and to replace the Medieval...

; thus, for his early poems, Pinter used the pseudonym Pinta and at other times used variations such as da Pinto. Later research by Antonia Fraser
Antonia Fraser
Lady Antonia Margaret Caroline Fraser, DBE , née Pakenham, is an Anglo-Irish author of history, novels, biographies and detective fiction, best known as 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
Odessa
Odessa or Odesa is the administrative center of the Odessa Oblast located in southern Ukraine. The city is a major seaport located on the northwest shore of the Black Sea and the fourth largest city in Ukraine with a population of 1,029,000 .The predecessor of Odessa, a small Tatar settlement,...

, so the family was Ashkenazic
Ashkenazi Jews
Ashkenazi Jews, also known as Ashkenazic Jews or Ashkenazim , are the Jews descended from the medieval Jewish communities along the Rhine in Germany from Alsace in the south to the Rhineland in the north. Ashkenaz is the medieval Hebrew name for this region and thus for Germany...

.

Pinter's family home in London is described by his official biographer Michael Billington
Michael Billington (critic)
Michael Keith Billington is a British author and arts critic. Drama critic of The Guardian since October 1971, he is "Britain's longest-serving theatre critic" and the author of biographical and critical studies relating to British theatre and the arts; most notably, he is the authorised...

 as "a solid, red-brick, three-storey villa just off the noisy, bustling, traffic-ridden thoroughfare of the Lower Clapton
Lower Clapton
Lower Clapton is a district within the London Borough of Hackney.It is immediately adjacent to central Hackney - bounded, roughly, by the western side of Hackney Downs , the Lea Valley , Clifden Road and the Lea Bridge Road...

 Road". In 1940 and 1941, after the Blitz
The Blitz
The Blitz was the sustained strategic bombing of Britain by Nazi Germany between 7 September 1940 and 10 May 1941, during the Second World War. The city of London was bombed by the Luftwaffe for 76 consecutive nights and many towns and cities across the country followed...

, Pinter was evacuated
Evacuations of civilians in Britain during World War II
Evacuation of civilians in Britain during the Second World War was designed to save the population of urban or military areas in the United Kingdom from aerial bombing of cities and military targets such as docks. Civilians, particularly children, were moved to areas thought to be less at risk....

 from their house in London to Cornwall
Cornwall
Cornwall is a unitary authority and ceremonial county of England, within the United Kingdom. It is bordered to the north and west by the Celtic Sea, to the south by the English Channel, and to the east by the county of Devon, over the River Tamar. Cornwall has a population of , and covers an area of...

 and Reading
Reading, Berkshire
Reading is a large town and unitary authority area in England. It is located in the Thames Valley at the confluence of the River Thames and River Kennet, and on both the Great Western Main Line railway and the M4 motorway, some west of London....

. 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."

Although he was an only child, Pinter discovered his social potential as a student at Hackney Downs School
Hackney Downs School
Hackney Downs School was a comprehensive secondary school, located near Hackney Downs off the A104 north of Hackney town centre, in the London Borough of Hackney.-Grocers' Company's School:...

, a London grammar school
Grammar school
A grammar school is one of several different types of school in the history of education in the United Kingdom and some other English-speaking countries, originally a school teaching classical languages but more recently an academically-oriented secondary school.The original purpose of mediaeval...

, 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. The friends he made in those days—most particularly Henry Woolf
Henry Woolf
Henry Woolf ,is a British actor, theatre director, and teacher of acting, drama, and theatre who lives in Canada, and a longtime friend and collaborator of 2005 Nobel Laureate Harold Pinter, having stimulated Pinter to write his first play, The Room in 1956...

, 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." In 1947 and 1948, he played Romeo
Romeo Montague
Romeo is one of the fictional protagonists in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. Romeo is the son of old Montague and his wife, who secretly loves and marries Juliet, a member of the rival House of Capulet...

 and Macbeth in productions directed by Brearley.

At the age of 12, Pinter began writing poetry, and in spring 1947, his poetry was first published in the Hackney Downs School Magazine. In 1950, his poetry was first published outside of the school magazine in Poetry London
Poetry London
Poetry London is a London-based literary periodical. As Poetry London: A Bi-Monthly of Modern Verse and Criticism it was founded by Tambimuttu and the first issue was dated January/February 1939.In a new form the magazine is still in print....

, some of it under the pseudonym "Harold Pinta".

Sport and friendship


Pinter enjoyed running and broke the Hackney Downs School sprinting record.
He was an avid cricket
Cricket
Cricket is a bat-and-ball game played between two teams of 11 players on an oval-shaped field, at the centre of which is a rectangular 22-yard long pitch. One team bats, trying to score as many runs as possible while the other team bowls and fields, trying to dismiss the batsmen and thus limit the...

 enthusiast, taking his bat with him when evacuated during the Blitz. In 1971 he told Mel Gussow
Mel Gussow
Melvyn H. Gussow was an American theater critic, movie critic, and author who wrote for The New York Times for 35 years.-Biography:...

: "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
Yorkshire County Cricket Club
Yorkshire County Cricket Club represents the historic county of Yorkshire as one of the 18 major county clubs which make up the English and Welsh domestic cricket structure....

, 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
Sarah Lyall
Sarah Lambert Lyall is an American-born English journalist, who currently works as London correspondent for The New York Times.-Biography:...

, writing in The New York Times
The New York Times
The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...

: "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
BBC Radio 4
BBC Radio 4 is a British domestic radio station, operated and owned by the BBC, that broadcasts a wide variety of spoken-word programmes, including news, drama, comedy, science and history. It replaced the BBC Home Service in 1967. The station controller is currently Gwyneth Williams, and the...

 memorial tribute included an essay on Pinter and cricket.

Other interests that Pinter mentioned to interviewers are family, love and sex, drinking, writing, and reading. According to Billington, "If the notion of male loyalty, competitive rivalry and fear of betrayal forms a constant thread in Pinter's work from The Dwarfs onwards, its origins can be found in his teenage Hackney years. Pinter adores women, enjoys flirting with them, worships their resilience and strength. But, in his early work especially, they are often seen as disruptive influences on some pure and Platonic
Platonic love
Platonic love is a chaste and strong type of love that is non-sexual.-Amor Platonicus:The term amor platonicus was coined as early as the 15th century by the Florentine scholar Marsilio Ficino. Platonic love in this original sense of the term is examined in Plato's dialogue the Symposium, which has...

 ideal of male friendship: one of the most crucial of all Pinter's lost Edens
Garden of Eden
The Garden of Eden is in the Bible's Book of Genesis as being the place where the first man, Adam, and his wife, Eve, lived after they were created by God. Literally, the Bible speaks about a garden in Eden...

."

Early theatrical training and stage experience


Beginning in late 1948, Pinter attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art
Royal Academy of Dramatic Art
The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art is a drama school located in London, United Kingdom. It is generally regarded as one of the most renowned drama schools in the world, and is one of the oldest drama schools in the United Kingdom, having been founded in 1904.RADA is an affiliate school of the...

 for two terms, but hating the school, missed most of his classes, feigned a nervous breakdown, and dropped out in 1949. In 1948 he was called up for National Service
National service
National service is a common name for mandatory government service programmes . The term became common British usage during and for some years following the Second World War. Many young people spent one or more years in such programmes...

. He registered as a conscientious objector
Conscientious objector
A conscientious objector is an "individual who has claimed the right to refuse to perform military service" on the grounds of freedom of thought, conscience, and/or religion....

, was brought to trial twice, and was ultimately fined for refusing to serve. He had a small part in the Christmas pantomime
Pantomime
Pantomime — not to be confused with a mime artist, a theatrical performer of mime—is a musical-comedy theatrical production traditionally found in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Jamaica, South Africa, India, Ireland, Gibraltar and Malta, and is mostly performed during the...

 Dick Whittington and His Cat
Dick Whittington and His Cat
Dick Whittington and His Cat is an English folk tale that has often been used as the basis for stage pantomimes and other adaptations. It tells of a poor boy in the 14th century who becomes a wealthy merchant and eventually the Lord Mayor of London because of the ratting abilities of his cat...

at the Chesterfield
Chesterfield
Chesterfield is a market town and a borough of Derbyshire, England. It lies north of Derby, on a confluence of the rivers Rother and Hipper. Its population is 70,260 , making it Derbyshire's largest town...

 Hippodrome in 1949 to 1950. From January to July 1951, he attended the Central School of Speech and Drama
Central School of Speech and Drama
The Central School of Speech and Drama was founded in London in 1906 by Elsie Fogerty to offer a new form of training in speech and drama for young actors and other students...

.

From 1951 to 1952, he toured Ireland with the Anew McMaster repertory company, playing over a dozen roles. In 1952 he began acting in regional English repertory productions; from 1953 to 1954, he worked for the Donald Wolfit
Donald Wolfit
Sir Donald Wolfit, KBE was a well-known English actor-manager.-Biography:Wolfit, who was "Woolfitt" at birth was born at New Balderton, near Newark-on-Trent, Nottinghamshire and attended the Magnus Grammar School and made his stage début in 1920...

 Company, at the King's Theatre, Hammersmith
Hammersmith
Hammersmith is an urban centre in the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham in west London, England, in the United Kingdom, approximately five miles west of Charing Cross on the north bank of the River Thames...

, performing eight roles. From 1954 until 1959, Pinter acted under the stage name David Baron. 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.

Marriages and family life


From 1956 until 1980, Pinter was married to Vivien Merchant
Vivien Merchant
Vivien Merchant was a British actress.-Career:Merchant performed in many stage productions and several films, including Alfie and Frenzy...

, an actress whom he met on tour, perhaps best known for her performance in the 1966 film Alfie. Their son, Daniel, was born in 1958. Through the early 1970s, Merchant appeared in many of Pinter's works, including The Homecoming
The Homecoming
The Homecoming is a two-act play written in 1964 by Nobel laureate Harold Pinter and first published in 1965. The original Broadway production won the 1967 Tony Award for Best Play and its 40th-anniversary Broadway production at the Cort Theatre was nominated for a 2008 Tony Award for "Best Revival...

on stage (1965) and screen (1973), but the marriage was turbulent. 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
Betrayal (play)
Betrayal is a play written by Harold Pinter in 1978. Critically regarded as one of the English playwright's major dramatic works, it features his characteristically economical dialogue, characters' hidden emotions and veiled motivations, and their self-absorbed competitive one-upmanship,...

, and also throughout that period and beyond he had an affair with an American socialite, whom he nicknamed "Cleopatra". 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
Antonia Fraser
Lady Antonia Margaret Caroline Fraser, DBE , née Pakenham, is an Anglo-Irish author of history, novels, biographies and detective fiction, best known as Antonia Fraser...

, the wife of Hugh Fraser
Hugh Fraser (politician)
Major Sir Hugh Charles Patrick Joseph Fraser MBE was a British Conservative politician and first husband of the author Lady Antonia Fraser.-Youth and military career:...

, 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. After having hidden the relationship from Merchant for two and a half months, on 21 March 1975, Pinter finally told her "I've met somebody". 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
No Man's Land (play)
No Man's Land is a play by Harold Pinter written in 1974 and first produced and published in 1975. Its original production was at the Old Vic Theatre in London by the National Theatre on 23 April 1975, and it later transferred to Wyndhams Theatre, July 1975 - January 1976, the Lyttelton Theatre...

.

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
Holland Park
Holland Park is a district and a public park in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, in west central London, England.Holland Park has a reputation as an affluent and fashionable area, known for attractive large Victorian townhouses, and high-class shopping and restaurants...

, where Pinter began writing Betrayal. He reworked it later, while on holiday at the Grand Hotel
Grand Hotel Eastbourne
The Grand Hotel is a Victorian hotel also known as the 'White Palace' is located on King Edwards Parade, Eastbourne in East Sussex England. This 5 star hotel is part of an independent UK based hotel group, Elite Hotels who also own Tylney Hall in Hampshire, Ashdown Park Hotel near Forest Row and...

, in Eastbourne
Eastbourne
Eastbourne is a large town and borough in East Sussex, on the south coast of England between Brighton and Hastings. The town is situated at the eastern end of the chalk South Downs alongside the high cliff at Beachy Head...

, in early January 1978. After the Frasers' divorce had become final in 1977 and the Pinters' in 1980, Pinter married Fraser on 27 November 1980. 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.

Billington observes that "The break-up with Vivien and the new life with Antonia was to have a profound effect on Pinter's personality and his work," though he adds that Fraser herself did not claim to have influence over Pinter or his writing. In her own contemporaneous diary entry dated 15 January 1993, Fraser described herself more as Pinter's literary midwife. Indeed, she told Billington that "other people [such as Peggy Ashcroft
Peggy Ashcroft
Dame Peggy Ashcroft, DBE was an English actress.-Early years:Born as Edith Margaret Emily Ashcroft in Croydon, Ashcroft attended the Woodford School, Croydon and the Central School of Speech and Drama...

, among others] had a shaping influence on [Pinter's] politics" and attributed changes in his writing and political views to a change from "an unhappy, complicated personal life ... to a happy, uncomplicated personal life", so that "a side of Harold which had always been there was somehow released. I think you can see that in his work after No Man's Land
No Man's Land (play)
No Man's Land is a play by Harold Pinter written in 1974 and first produced and published in 1975. Its original production was at the Old Vic Theatre in London by the National Theatre on 23 April 1975, and it later transferred to Wyndhams Theatre, July 1975 - January 1976, the Lyttelton Theatre...

[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
Sarah Lyall
Sarah Lambert Lyall is an American-born English journalist, who currently works as London correspondent for The New York Times.-Biography:...

 notes in her 2007 interview with Pinter in The New York Times
The New York Times
The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...

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
The Guardian
The Guardian, formerly known as The Manchester Guardian , is a British national daily newspaper in the Berliner format...

: "He was a great man, and it was a privilege to live with him for over 33 years. He will never be forgotten."

Civic activities and political activism



In 1948–49, when he was 18, Pinter opposed the politics of the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

, leading to his decision to become a conscientious objector
Conscientious objector
A conscientious objector is an "individual who has claimed the right to refuse to perform military service" on the grounds of freedom of thought, conscience, and/or religion....

 and to refuse to comply with National Service
Conscription in the United Kingdom
Conscription in the United Kingdom has existed for two periods in modern times. The first was from 1916 to 1919, the second was from 1939 to 1960, with the last conscripted soldiers leaving the service in 1963...

 in the British military. But he was not a pacifist. He told interviewers that, if he had been old enough at the time, he would have fought against the Nazis
Nazism
Nazism, the common short form name of National Socialism was the ideology and practice of the Nazi Party and of Nazi Germany...

 in World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. He seemed to express ambivalence, both indifference and hostility, towards political structures and politicians in his Fall 1966 Paris Review interview conducted by Lawrence M. Bensky
Larry Bensky
Larry Bensky is a literary and political journalist with more than forty years experience in both print and broadcast media, as well as a teacher and long-time political activist...

. Yet, he had been an early member of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament
Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament
The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament is an anti-nuclear organisation that advocates unilateral nuclear disarmament by the United Kingdom, international nuclear disarmament and tighter international arms regulation through agreements such as the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty...

 and also had supported the British Anti-Apartheid Movement
Anti-Apartheid Movement
Anti-Apartheid Movement , originally known as the Boycott Movement, was a British organization that was at the center of the international movement opposing South Africa's system of apartheid and supporting South Africa's Blacks....

 (1959–1994), participating in British artists' refusal to permit professional productions of their work in South Africa in 1963 and in subsequent related campaigns. In "A Play and Its Politics", a 1985 interview with Nicholas Hern, Pinter described his earlier plays retrospectively from the perspective of the politics of power and the dynamics of oppression.

In his last 25 years, Pinter increasingly focused his essays, interviews and public appearances directly on political issues. He was an officer in International PEN
International PEN
PEN International , the worldwide association of writers, was founded in London in 1921 to promote friendship and intellectual co-operation among writers everywhere....

, travelling with American playwright Arthur Miller
Arthur Miller
Arthur Asher Miller was an American playwright and essayist. He was a prominent figure in American theatre, writing dramas that include plays such as All My Sons , Death of a Salesman , The Crucible , and A View from the Bridge .Miller was often in the public eye,...

 to Turkey in 1985 on a mission co-sponsored with a Helsinki Watch
Helsinki Watch
Helsinki Watch was a private American NGO devoted to monitoring Helsinki implementation throughout the Soviet bloc. It was created in 1978 to monitor compliance to the Helsinki Final Act...

 committee to investigate and protest against the torture of imprisoned writers. 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
Kurdish language
Kurdish is a dialect continuum spoken by the Kurds in western Asia. It is part of the Iranian branch of the Indo-Iranian group of Indo-European languages....

 inspired his 1988 play Mountain Language
Mountain Language
Mountain Language is a one-act play written by Harold Pinter, first published in The Times Literary Supplement on 7–13 October 1988. It was first performed at the Royal National Theatre in London on 20 October 1988 with Michael Gambon and Miranda Richardson. Subsequently, it was published by...

.
He was also an active member of the Cuba Solidarity Campaign, an organisation that "campaigns in the UK against the US blockade of Cuba
Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

". In 2001 Pinter joined the International Committee to Defend Slobodan Milošević (ICDSM), which appealed for a fair trial for and the freedom of Slobodan Milošević
Slobodan Milošević
Slobodan Milošević was President of Serbia and Yugoslavia. He served as the President of Socialist Republic of Serbia and Republic of Serbia from 1989 until 1997 in three terms and as President of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia from 1997 to 2000...

, signing a related "Artists' Appeal for Milošević" in 2004.

Pinter strongly opposed the 1991 Gulf War
Gulf War
The Persian Gulf War , commonly referred to as simply the Gulf War, was a war waged by a U.N.-authorized coalition force from 34 nations led by the United States, against Iraq in response to Iraq's invasion and annexation of Kuwait.The war is also known under other names, such as the First Gulf...

, the 1999 NATO bombing campaign in Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia refers to three political entities that existed successively on the western part of the Balkans during most of the 20th century....

 during the Kosovo War
Kosovo War
The term Kosovo War or Kosovo conflict was two sequential, and at times parallel, armed conflicts in Kosovo province, then part of FR Yugoslav Republic of Serbia; from early 1998 to 1999, there was an armed conflict initiated by the ethnic Albanian "Kosovo Liberation Army" , who sought independence...

, the United States' 2001 War in Afghanistan
War in Afghanistan (2001–present)
The War in Afghanistan began on October 7, 2001, as the armed forces of the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Australia, and the Afghan United Front launched Operation Enduring Freedom...

, and the 2003 Invasion of Iraq
2003 invasion of Iraq
The 2003 invasion of Iraq , was the start of the conflict known as the Iraq War, or Operation Iraqi Freedom, in which a combined force of troops from the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and Poland invaded Iraq and toppled the regime of Saddam Hussein in 21 days of major combat operations...

. Among his provocative political statements, Pinter called Prime Minister Tony Blair
Tony Blair
Anthony Charles Lynton Blair is a former British Labour Party politician who served as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 2 May 1997 to 27 June 2007. He was the Member of Parliament for Sedgefield from 1983 to 2007 and Leader of the Labour Party from 1994 to 2007...

 a "deluded idiot" and compared the administration of President George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

 to Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

. 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
Peace movement
A peace movement is a social movement that seeks to achieve ideals such as the ending of a particular war , minimize inter-human violence in a particular place or type of situation, often linked to the goal of achieving world peace...

 in the United Kingdom, speaking at rallies held by the Stop the War Coalition
Stop the War Coalition
The Stop the War Coalition is a United Kingdom group set up on 21 September 2001 that campaigns against what it believes are unjust wars....

 and frequently criticising American aggression, as when he asked rhetorically, in his acceptance speech for the Wilfred Owen
Wilfred Owen
Wilfred Edward Salter Owen MC was an English poet and soldier, one of the leading poets of the First World War...

 Award for Poetry on 18 March 2007: "What would Wilfred Owen make of the invasion of Iraq
2003 invasion of Iraq
The 2003 invasion of Iraq , was the start of the conflict known as the Iraq War, or Operation Iraqi Freedom, in which a combined force of troops from the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and Poland invaded Iraq and toppled the regime of Saddam Hussein in 21 days of major combat operations...

? A bandit act, an act of blatant state terrorism
State terrorism
State terrorism may refer to acts of terrorism conducted by a state against a foreign state or people. It can also refer to acts of violence by a state against its own people.-Definition:...

, demonstrating absolute contempt for the conception of international law
International law
Public international law concerns the structure and conduct of sovereign states; analogous entities, such as the Holy See; and intergovernmental organizations. To a lesser degree, international law also may affect multinational corporations and individuals, an impact increasingly evolving beyond...

."

Pinter's blunt political statements, and the award of the Nobel Prize in Literature, elicited strong criticism and even, at times, provoked ridicule and personal attacks. The historian Geoffrey Alderman
Geoffrey Alderman
Geoffrey Alderman is a British historian, especially of the Jewish community in England in the 19th and 20th centuries, and also an academic, political adviser and award-winning journalist.-Life:...

, author of the official history of Hackney Downs School, expressed his own "Jewish View" of Harold Pinter: "Whatever his merit as a writer, actor and director, on an ethical plane Harold Pinter seems to me to have been intensely flawed, and his moral compass deeply fractured." David Edgar
David Edgar (playwright)
David Edgar is a British playwright and author who has had more than sixty of his plays published and performed on stage, radio and television around the world, making him one of the most prolific dramatists of the post-1960s generation in Great Britain.He was resident playwright at the Birmingham...

, writing in The Guardian
The Guardian
The Guardian, formerly known as The Manchester Guardian , is a British national daily newspaper in the Berliner format...

, defended Pinter against what he termed Pinter's "being berated by the belligerati" like Johann Hari
Johann Hari
Johann Hari is an award winning British journalist who has been a columnist at The Independent, the The Huffington Post, and contributed to several other publications. In 2011, Hari was accused of plagiarism; he subsequently was suspended from The Independent and surrendered his 2008 Orwell Prize...

, who felt that he did not "deserve" to win the Nobel Prize. Later Pinter continued to campaign against the Iraq War and on behalf of other political causes that he supported. As Alderman points out, for example, Pinter signed the mission statement of Jews for Justice for Palestinians
Jews for Justice for Palestinians
Jews for Justice for Palestinians is a pressure group based in the United Kingdom that advocates human and civil rights, and economic and political freedom, for the Palestinian people...

 in 2005 and its full-page advertisement, "What Is Israel Doing? A Call by Jews in Britain", published in The Times
The Times
The Times is a British daily national newspaper, first published in London in 1785 under the title The Daily Universal Register . The Times and its sister paper The Sunday Times are published by Times Newspapers Limited, a subsidiary since 1981 of News International...

on 6 July 2006, and he was a patron of the Palestine Festival of Literature
Palestine Festival of Literature
PalFest is an annual event that aims to bring a cultural festival of international standard to audiences in Palestine to assert "the power of culture over the culture of power." In recognition of how restricted movement is for Palestinians the Festival travels throughout Palestine, staging events...

.

As actor


Pinter's acting career spanned over 50 years and, although he often played villain
Villain
A villain is an "evil" character in a story, whether a historical narrative or, especially, a work of fiction. The villain usually is the antagonist, the character who tends to have a negative effect on other characters...

s, included a wide range of roles on stage and in radio, film, and television. In addition to roles in radio and television adaptations of his own plays and dramatic sketches, early in his screenwriting career he made several cameo appearances in films based on his own screenplays; for example, as a society man in The Servant (1963) and as Mr. Bell in Accident (1967), both directed by Joseph Losey
Joseph Losey
Joseph Walton Losey was an American theater and film director. After studying in Germany with Bertolt Brecht, Losey returned to the United States, eventually making his way to Hollywood...

; and as a bookshop customer in his later film Turtle Diary
Turtle Diary
Turtle Diary is a 1985 British drama about "people rediscovering the joys of life and love," based on a screenplay adapted by Harold Pinter from Russell Hoban's novel Turtle Diary, directed by John Irvin, and starring Glenda Jackson, Ben Kingsley, and Michael Gambon.-Synopsis:Two lonely Londoners -...

(1985), starring Michael Gambon
Michael Gambon
Sir Michael John Gambon, CBE is an Irish actor who has worked in theatre, television and film. A highly respected theatre actor, Gambon is recognised for his roles as Philip Marlowe in the BBC television serial The Singing Detective, as Jules Maigret in the 1990s ITV serial Maigret, and as...

, Glenda Jackson
Glenda Jackson
Glenda May Jackson, CBE is a British Labour Party politician and former actress. She has been a Member of Parliament since 1992, and currently represents Hampstead and Kilburn. She previously served as MP for Hampstead and Highgate...

, and Ben Kingsley
Ben Kingsley
Sir Ben Kingsley, CBE is a British actor. He has won an Oscar, BAFTA, Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild awards in his career. He is known for starring as Mohandas Gandhi in the film Gandhi in 1982, for which he won the Academy Award for Best Actor...

.

Pinter's notable film and television roles included the corrupt lawyer Saul Abrahams, opposite Peter O'Toole
Peter O'Toole
Peter Seamus Lorcan O'Toole is an Irish actor of stage and screen. O'Toole achieved stardom in 1962 playing T. E. Lawrence in Lawrence of Arabia, and then went on to become a highly-honoured film and stage actor. He has been nominated for eight Academy Awards, and holds the record for most...

, in BBC TV
BBC Television
BBC Television is a service of the British Broadcasting Corporation. The corporation, which has operated in the United Kingdom under the terms of a Royal Charter since 1927, has produced television programmes from its own studios since 1932, although the start of its regular service of television...

's Rogue Male
Rogue Male (1976 film)
Rogue Male is a 1976 British television film starring Peter O'Toole, based on Geoffrey Household's novel Rogue Male. Made by the BBC, it was adapted by Frederic Raphael and directed by Clive Donner, and also stars Alastair Sim, John Standing and Harold Pinter...

(1976), a remake of the 1941 film noir
Film noir
Film noir is a cinematic term used primarily to describe stylish Hollywood crime dramas, particularly those that emphasize cynical attitudes and sexual motivations. Hollywood's classic film noir period is generally regarded as extending from the early 1940s to the late 1950s...

 Man Hunt
Man Hunt (1941 film)
Man Hunt is a 1941 American thriller film directed by Fritz Lang and starring Walter Pidgeon and Joan Bennett. It is based on the 1939 novel Rogue Male by Geoffrey Household and is set just prior to the Second World War. A Jewish liberal, Lang had fled Germany into exile in the mid 1930s - this was...

, released on DVD in 2002; and a drunk Irish journalist in Langrishe, Go Down
Langrishe, Go Down (film)
Langrishe, Go Down, the novel by Aidan Higgins , was adapted for the screen by Harold Pinter, directed by David Jones, filmed for BBC Television in association with Raidió Teilifís Éireann, and first broadcast in September 1978 as a 90-minute BBC2 Play of the Week...

(starring Judi Dench
Judi Dench
Dame Judith Olivia "Judi" Dench, CH, DBE, FRSA is an English film, stage and television actress.Dench made her professional debut in 1957 with the Old Vic Company. Over the following few years she played in several of William Shakespeare's plays in such roles as Ophelia in Hamlet, Juliet in Romeo...

 and Jeremy Irons
Jeremy Irons
Jeremy John Irons is an English actor. After receiving classical training at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, Irons began his acting career on stage in 1969, and has since appeared in many London theatre productions including The Winter's Tale, Macbeth, Much Ado About Nothing, The Taming of the...

) distributed on BBC Two
BBC Two
BBC Two is the second television channel operated by the British Broadcasting Corporation in the United Kingdom. It covers a wide range of subject matter, but tending towards more 'highbrow' programmes than the more mainstream and popular BBC One. Like the BBC's other domestic TV and radio...

 in 1978 and released in movie theatres in 2002. Pinter's later film roles included the criminal Sam Ross in Mojo (1997), written and directed by Jez Butterworth
Jez Butterworth
Jeremy “Jez” Butterworth is an English dramatist and film director.-Life and career:Butterworth was born in London, England, and attended Verulam Comprehensive School, St Albans and St John's College, Cambridge...

, based on Butterworth's play of the same name
Mojo (play)
Mojo is a 1995 play written by English playwright Jez Butterworth that premiered at the Royal Court Theatre in London, directed by Ian Rickson....

; Sir Thomas Bertram (his most substantial feature-film role) in Mansfield Park
Mansfield Park (film)
Mansfield Park is a 1999 British romantic comedy-drama film loosely based on Jane Austen's novel of the same name, written and directed by Patricia Rozema. The film differs sharply from the original novel in many respects. For example, the life of Jane Austen is incorporated into the film and the...

(1998), a character that Pinter described as "a very civilised man ... a man of great sensibility but in fact, he's upholding and sustaining a totally brutal system [the slave trade] from which he derives his money"; and Uncle Benny, opposite Pierce Brosnan
Pierce Brosnan
Pierce Brendan Brosnan, OBE is an Irish actor, film producer and environmentalist. After leaving school at 16, Brosnan began training in commercial illustration, but trained at the Drama Centre in London for three years...

 and Geoffrey Rush
Geoffrey Rush
Geoffrey Roy Rush is an Australian actor and film producer. He is one of the few people who has won the "Triple Crown of Acting": an Academy Award, a Tony Award and an Emmy Award. He has won one Academy Award for acting , three British Academy Film Awards , two Golden Globe Awards and four Screen...

, in The Tailor of Panama
The Tailor of Panama
The Tailor of Panama is a 2001 American film based on the 1996 spy novel of the same name by John le Carré, which was inspired by Graham Greene's Our Man in Havana...

(2001). In television films
Television movie
A television film is a feature film that is a television program produced for and originally distributed by a television network, in contrast to...

, he played Mr. Bearing, the father of ovarian cancer
Ovarian cancer
Ovarian cancer is a cancerous growth arising from the ovary. Symptoms are frequently very subtle early on and may include: bloating, pelvic pain, difficulty eating and frequent urination, and are easily confused with other illnesses....

 patient Vivian Bearing, played by Emma Thompson
Emma Thompson
Emma Thompson is a British actress, comedian and screenwriter. Her first major film role was in the 1989 romantic comedy The Tall Guy. In 1992, Thompson won multiple acting awards, including an Academy Award and a BAFTA Award for Best Actress, for her performance in the British drama Howards End...

 in Mike Nichols
Mike Nichols
Mike Nichols is a German-born American television, stage and film director, writer, producer and comedian. He began his career in the 1950s as one half of the comedy duo Nichols and May, along with Elaine May. In 1968 he won the Academy Award for Best Director for the film The Graduate...

's HBO film of the Pulitzer Prize
Pulitzer Prize
The Pulitzer Prize is a U.S. award for achievements in newspaper and online journalism, literature and musical composition. It was established by American publisher Joseph Pulitzer and is administered by Columbia University in New York City...

-winning play Wit
Wit (film)
Wit is a 2001 American television movie directed by Mike Nichols. The teleplay by Nichols and Emma Thompson is based on the 1998 Pulitzer Prize winning play of the same title by Margaret Edson....

(2001); and the Director opposite John Gielgud
John Gielgud
Sir Arthur John Gielgud, OM, CH was an English actor, director, and producer. A descendant of the renowned Terry acting family, he achieved early international acclaim for his youthful, emotionally expressive Hamlet which broke box office records on Broadway in 1937...

 (Gielgud's last role) and Rebecca Pidgeon
Rebecca Pidgeon
Rebecca Pidgeon is a British actress and singer-songwriter. She has maintained a recording career while also acting on stage and in feature films. She is married to the American writer and director David Mamet.-Early life:...

 in Catastrophe
Catastrophe (play)
Catastrophe is a short play by Samuel Beckett, written in French in 1982 at the invitation of A.I.D.A. and “[f]irst produced in the Avignon Festival … Beckett considered it ‘massacred.’” It is one of his few plays to deal with a political theme and, arguably, holds the title of Beckett's most...

, by Samuel Beckett
Samuel Beckett
Samuel Barclay Beckett was an Irish avant-garde novelist, playwright, theatre director, and poet. He wrote both in English and French. His work offers a bleak, tragicomic outlook on human nature, often coupled with black comedy and gallows humour.Beckett is widely regarded as among the most...

, directed by David Mamet
David Mamet
David Alan Mamet is an American playwright, essayist, screenwriter and film director.Best known as a playwright, Mamet won a Pulitzer Prize and received a Tony nomination for Glengarry Glen Ross . He also received a Tony nomination for Speed-the-Plow . As a screenwriter, he received Oscar...

 as part of Beckett On Film (2001).

As director


Pinter began to direct more frequently during the 1970s, becoming an associate director of the National Theatre
Royal National Theatre
The Royal National Theatre in London is one of the United Kingdom's two most prominent publicly funded theatre companies, alongside the Royal Shakespeare Company...

 (NT) in 1973. He directed almost 50 productions of his own and others' plays for stage, film, and television, including 10 productions of works by Simon Gray
Simon Gray
Simon James Holliday Gray, CBE , was an English playwright and memoirist who also had a career as a university lecturer in English literature at Queen Mary, University of London, for 20 years...

: the stage and/or film premières of Butley
Butley (film)
Butley is a 1973 film directed by Harold Pinter, an adaptation from Simon Gray's 1971 play of same name. The film starred Alan Bates, Jessica Tandy, Richard O'Callaghan, Susan Engel, and Michael Byrne....

(stage, 1971; film, 1974), Otherwise Engaged
Otherwise Engaged
Otherwise Engaged is a bleakly comic play by English playwright Simon Gray. The play previewed at the Oxford Playhouse and the Richmond Theatre, and then opened at the Queen's Theatre in London on 10 July 1975, with Alan Bates as the star and Harold Pinter as director, produced by Michael Codron....

(1975), The Rear Column (stage, 1978; TV, 1980), Close of Play (NT, 1979), Quartermaine's Terms
Quartermaine's Terms
Quartermaine's Terms is a play by Simon Gray which won The Cheltenham Prize in 1982.-Plot:The play takes place over a period of two years in the 1960s in the staffroom at a Cambridge school for teaching English to foreigners...

(1981), Life Support (1997), The Late Middle Classes (1999), and The Old Masters (2004). Several of those productions starred Alan Bates
Alan Bates
Sir Alan Arthur Bates CBE was an English actor, who came to prominence in the 1960s, a time of high creativity in British cinema, when he demonstrated his versatility in films ranging from the popular children’s story Whistle Down the Wind to the "kitchen sink" drama A Kind of Loving...

 (1934–2003), who originated the stage and screen roles of not only Butley but also Mick in Pinter's first major commercial success, The Caretaker
The Caretaker
The Caretaker is a play by Harold Pinter. It was first published by both Encore Publishing and Eyre Methuen in 1960. The sixth play that Pinter wrote for stage or television production, it was his first significant commercial success...

(stage, 1960; film, 1964); and in Pinter's double-bill produced at the Lyric Hammersmith
Lyric Hammersmith
The Lyric Theatre, also known as the Lyric Hammersmith, is a theatre on King Street, in the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, which takes pride in its original, "groundbreaking" productions....

 in 1984, he played Nicolas in One for the Road and the cab driver in Victoria Station
Victoria Station (play)
Victoria Station is a short play for two actors by the English playwright Harold Pinter.-Summary:Victoria Station consists of a radio dialogue between a minicab controller and a driver who is stopped by the side of "a dark park" in Crystal Palace, supposedly waiting further instructions. The...

. Among over 35 plays that Pinter directed were Next of Kin (1974), by John Hopkins
John Hopkins (writer)
John Richard Hopkins was an English film, stage, and television writer.Born in southwest London, he graduated from St Catharine's College, Cambridge...

; Blithe Spirit
Blithe Spirit (play)
Blithe Spirit is a comic play written by Noël Coward which takes its title from Percy Bysshe Shelley's poem "To a Skylark" . The play concerns socialite and novelist Charles Condomine, who invites the eccentric medium and clairvoyant, Madame Arcati, to his house to conduct a séance, hoping to...

(1976) by Noël Coward
Noël Coward
Sir Noël Peirce Coward was an English playwright, composer, director, actor and singer, known for his wit, flamboyance, and what Time magazine called "a sense of personal style, a combination of cheek and chic, pose and poise".Born in Teddington, a suburb of London, Coward attended a dance academy...

;, The Innocents
The Innocents (play)
The Innocents is a 1976 play written by William Archiblad. The show opened at the Morosco Theatre on October 21, 1976 and closed on October 30, 1976 after 12 performances.-Setting:...

(1976) by William Archibald
William Archibald (playwright)
William Archibald was a Trinidadian-born playwright, dancer, choreographer and director, whose stage adaptation of Henry James' The Turn of the Screw was made into the 1961 British horror film The Innocents....

; Circe and Bravo (1986), by Donald Freed
Donald Freed
Donald Freed is an American playwright, novelist, screenwriter, and actor. He is associated with writing programs at the University of Southern California, and was Artist in Residence at the Workshop Theatre, University of Leeds, UK , and Playwright in Residence at York Theatre Royal ,...

; Taking Sides
Taking Sides (play)
Taking Sides is a 1995 play by British playwright Ronald Harwood, about the post-War U.S. denazification investigation of the German conductor and composer Wilhelm Furtwängler on charges of having served the Nazi regime. Harwood drew inter alia on a detailed diary kept by Furtwängler of his...

(1995), by Ronald Harwood
Ronald Harwood
Sir Ronald Harwood CBE is an author, playwright and screenwriter. He is most noted for his plays for the British stage as well as the screenplays for The Dresser and The Pianist, for which he won the 2003 Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay...

; and Twelve Angry Men (1996), by Reginald Rose
Reginald Rose
Reginald Rose was an American film and television writer most widely known for his work in the early years of television drama. Rose's work is marked by its treatment of controversial social and political issues...

.

As playwright


Pinter was the author of 29 plays and 15 dramatic sketches and the co-author of two works for stage and radio. He was considered to have been one of the most influential modern British dramatists, Along with the 1967 Tony Award for Best Play
Tony Award for Best Play
The Tony Award for Best Play is an annual award celebrating achievements in live American theatre, including musical theatre, honoring productions on Broadway in New York. It currently takes place in mid-June each year.There was no award in the Tony's first year...

 for The Homecoming and several other American awards and award nominations, he and his plays received many awards in the UK and elsewhere throughout the world. His style has entered the English language as an adjective, "Pinteresque", although Pinter himself disliked the term and found it meaningless.

"Comedies of menace" (1957–1968)


The Room and The Birthday Party (1957)
Pinter's first play, The Room, written and first performed in 1957, was a student production at the University of Bristol
University of Bristol
The University of Bristol is a public research university located in Bristol, United Kingdom. One of the so-called "red brick" universities, it received its Royal Charter in 1909, although its predecessor institution, University College, Bristol, had been in existence since 1876.The University is...

, directed by his good friend, actor Henry Woolf
Henry Woolf
Henry Woolf ,is a British actor, theatre director, and teacher of acting, drama, and theatre who lives in Canada, and a longtime friend and collaborator of 2005 Nobel Laureate Harold Pinter, having stimulated Pinter to write his first play, The Room in 1956...

, who also originated the role of Mr. Kidd (which he reprised in 2001 and 2007). 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. 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
The Birthday Party (play)
The Birthday Party is the first full-length play by Harold Pinter and one of Pinter's best-known and most-frequently performed plays...

, at the Lyric Hammersmith
Lyric Hammersmith
The Lyric Theatre, also known as the Lyric Hammersmith, is a theatre on King Street, in the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, which takes pride in its original, "groundbreaking" productions....

, in 1958."

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
The Sunday Times
The Sunday Times is a British Sunday newspaper.The Sunday Times may also refer to:*The Sunday Times *The Sunday Times *The Sunday Times *The Sunday Times...

by its influential drama critic Harold Hobson
Harold Hobson
Sir Harold Hobson was an influential English drama critic and author.He was born in Thorpe Hesley near Rotherham in South Yorkshire, England and read History at Oxford University. He was an assistant literary editor for the Sunday Times from 1944 and later became its drama critic...

, which appeared only after the production had closed and could not be reprieved. 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
David Campton
David Campton was a prolific British dramatist who wrote plays for the stage, radio, and cinema for thirty-five years...

, critic Irving Wardle
Irving Wardle
John Irving Wardle is an English writer and theatre critic.He was born on 20 July 1929 in Manchester, Lancashire, the son of John Wardle and his wife Nellie . His father was drama critic on the Bolton Evening News, and a regular performer at the Bolton Little Theatre...

 called Pinter's early plays "comedy of menace
Comedy of menace
Comedy of menace is a term used to describe the plays of David Campton, Nigel Dennis, N. F. Simpson, and Harold Pinter by drama critic Irving Wardle, borrowed from the subtitle of Campton's play The Lunatic View: A Comedy of Menace, in reviewing Pinter's and Campton's plays in Encore in 1958...

"—a label that people have applied repeatedly to his work. Such plays begin with an apparently innocent situation that becomes both threatening and "absurd
Absurdism
In philosophy, "The Absurd" refers to the conflict between the human tendency to seek value and meaning in life and the human inability to find any...

" as Pinter's characters behave in ways often perceived as inexplicable by his audiences and one another. Pinter acknowledges the influence of Samuel Beckett
Samuel Beckett
Samuel Barclay Beckett was an Irish avant-garde novelist, playwright, theatre director, and poet. He wrote both in English and French. His work offers a bleak, tragicomic outlook on human nature, often coupled with black comedy and gallows humour.Beckett is widely regarded as among the most...

, particularly on his early work; they became friends, sending each other drafts of their works in progress for comments.

The Hothouse (1958/1980), The Dumb Waiter (1959), The Caretaker (1959), and other early plays
Pinter wrote The Hothouse
The Hothouse
The Hothouse is a full-length tragicomedy written by Harold Pinter in the winter of 1958 between The Birthday Party and The Caretaker...

in 1958, which he shelved for over 20 years (See "Overtly political plays and sketches" below). Next he wrote The Dumb Waiter
The Dumb Waiter
The Dumb Waiter is a one-act play by 2005 Nobel Laureate Harold Pinter written in 1957; it premiered at the Hampstead Theatre Club, on 21 January 1960...

(1959), which premièred in Germany and was then produced in a double bill with The Room at the Hampstead Theatre Club
Hampstead Theatre
Hampstead Theatre is a theatre in the vicinity of Swiss Cottage and Belsize Park, in the London Borough of Camden. It specialises in commissioning and producing new writing, supporting and developing the work of new writers. In 2009 it celebrates its 50 year anniversary.The original theatre was...

, in London, in 1960. It was then not produced often until the 1980s, and it has been revived more frequently since 2000, including the West End
West End theatre
West End theatre is a popular term for mainstream professional theatre staged in the large theatres of London's 'Theatreland', the West End. Along with New York's Broadway theatre, West End theatre is usually considered to represent the highest level of commercial theatre in the English speaking...

 Trafalgar Studios
Trafalgar Studios
Trafalgar Studios, formerly The Whitehall Theatre until 2004, is a West End theatre in Whitehall, near Trafalgar Square, in the City of Westminster, London....

 production in 2007. The first production of The Caretaker
The Caretaker
The Caretaker is a play by Harold Pinter. It was first published by both Encore Publishing and Eyre Methuen in 1960. The sixth play that Pinter wrote for stage or television production, it was his first significant commercial success...

, at the Arts Theatre Club
Arts Theatre
The Arts Theatre is a theatre in Great Newport Street, in Westminster, Central London. It now operates as the West End's smallest commercial receiving house.-History:...

, in London, in 1960, established Pinter's theatrical reputation. The play transferred to the Duchess Theatre
Duchess Theatre
The Duchess Theatre is a West End theatre in the City of Westminster, London, located in Catherine Street, near Aldwych.The theatre opened on 25 November 1929 and is one of the smallest 'proscenium arched' West End theatres. It has 479 seats on two levels....

 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
A Night Out (play)
A Night Out is a play written by Harold Pinter in 1959.- Plot and overview :Albert Stokes, a loner in his late twenties lives with his emotionally-suffocating mother and works in an office...

, along with the popularity of his revue sketches, propelled him to further critical attention. 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
Aldwych Theatre
The Aldwych Theatre is a West End theatre, located on Aldwych in the City of Westminster. The theatre was listed Grade II on 20 July 1971. Its seating capacity is 1,200.-Origins:...

) and was well-received.

By the time Peter Hall's London production of The Homecoming (1964) reached Broadway
Broadway theatre
Broadway theatre, commonly called simply Broadway, refers to theatrical performances presented in one of the 40 professional theatres with 500 or more seats located in the Theatre District centered along Broadway, and in Lincoln Center, in Manhattan in New York City...

 in 1967, Pinter had become a celebrity playwright, and the play garnered four Tony Award
Tony Award
The Antoinette Perry Award for Excellence in Theatre, more commonly known as a Tony Award, recognizes achievement in live Broadway theatre. The awards are presented by the American Theatre Wing and The Broadway League at an annual ceremony in New York City. The awards are given for Broadway...

s, among other awards. During this period, Pinter also wrote the radio play A Slight Ache
A Slight Ache
A Slight Ache is a tragicomic play written by Harold Pinter in 1958 and first published by Methuen in London in 1961. It concerns a married couple's dreams and desires, focusing mostly on the husband's fears of the unknown, of growing old, and of the "Other" as a threat to his...

, first broadcast on the BBC Third Programme
BBC Third Programme
The BBC Third Programme was a national radio network broadcast by the BBC. The network first went on air on 29 September 1946 and became one of the leading cultural and intellectual forces in Britain, playing a crucial role in disseminating the arts...

 in 1959 and then adapted to the stage and performed at the Arts Theatre Club
Arts Theatre
The Arts Theatre is a theatre in Great Newport Street, in Westminster, Central London. It now operates as the West End's smallest commercial receiving house.-History:...

 in 1961. A Night Out (1960) was broadcast to a large audience on Associated British Corporation
Associated British Corporation
Associated British Corporation was one of a number of commercial television companies established in the United Kingdom during the 1950s by cinema chain companies in an attempt to safeguard their business by becoming involved with television which was taking away their cinema audiences.In this...

's television show Armchair Theatre
Armchair Theatre
Armchair Theatre is a British television drama anthology series, which ran on the ITV network from 1956 to 1974. It was originally produced by Associated British Corporation, and later by Thames Television after 1968....

, after being transmitted on BBC Radio 3, also in 1960. His play Night School was first televised in 1960 on Associated Rediffusion. The Collection
The Collection (play)
The Collection is a 1961 play by Harold Pinter featuring two couples, James and Stella and Harry and Bill. It is a comedy laced with typically "Pinteresque" ambiguity and "implications of threat and strong feeling produced through colloquial language, apparent triviality, and long pauses"...

premièred at the Aldwych Theatre
Aldwych Theatre
The Aldwych Theatre is a West End theatre, located on Aldwych in the City of Westminster. The theatre was listed Grade II on 20 July 1971. Its seating capacity is 1,200.-Origins:...

 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
The Lover (play)
The Lover is a 1962 one-act play by Harold Pinter. Pinter leads the audience to believe that there are three characters in the play: the wife, the husband and the lover. But the lover who comes to call in the afternoons is revealed to be the husband adopting a role. He plays the lover for her: she...

, which was then televised on Associated Rediffusion in 1963; and Tea Party
Tea Party (play)
Tea Party is a play written by Harold Pinter, which Pinter adapted from his own 1963 short story of the same title. As a screenplay, it was commissioned by the European Broadcasting Union, directed by Charles Jarrott, and first transmitted on BBC Television in the programme The Largest Theatre in...

, a play that Pinter developed from his 1963 short story, first broadcast on BBC TV in 1965.

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
Samuel Beckett
Samuel Barclay Beckett was an Irish avant-garde novelist, playwright, theatre director, and poet. He wrote both in English and French. His work offers a bleak, tragicomic outlook on human nature, often coupled with black comedy and gallows humour.Beckett is widely regarded as among the most...

, Eugene Ionesco
Eugène Ionesco
Eugène Ionesco was a Romanian and French playwright and dramatist, and one of the foremost playwrights of the Theatre of the Absurd...

, and Pinter, of which only Beckett's film, entitled Film
Film (film)
Film is a film written by Samuel Beckett, his only screenplay. It was commissioned by Barney Rosset of Grove Press. Writing began on 5 April 1963 with a first draft completed within four days. A second draft was produced by 22 May and a forty-leaf shooting script followed thereafter...

, was actually produced. Then Pinter turned his unfilmed script into a television play, which was produced as The Basement
The Basement (play)
The Basement is a television filmscript and stage play by Nobel Laureate Harold Pinter . It was written first as a screenplay for a film, then revised into a filmscript for television, and also produced on stage.-Origin: "The Compartment":...

, both on BBC 2 and also on stage in 1968.

"Memory plays" (1968–1982)


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
Memory
In psychology, memory is an organism's ability to store, retain, and recall information and experiences. Traditional studies of memory began in the fields of philosophy, including techniques of artificially enhancing memory....

 and which critics sometimes classify as Pinter's "memory plays". These include Landscape
Landscape (play)
Landscape is a one-act play by Harold Pinter that was first broadcast on radio in 1968 and first performed on stage in 1969. The play shows the difficulties of communication between two people in a marriage. This is illustrated through the two characters who appear to be talking to one another...

(1968), Silence
Silence (play)
-Production:The première was given by the Royal Shakespeare Company in London on 2 July 1969, directed by Peter Hall.The cast was:*Ellen – Frances Cuka*Rumsey – Anthony Bate...

(1969), Night
Night (sketch)
Night is a dramatic sketch by the English playwright Harold Pinter, presented as one of eight short dramatic works about marriage in the program Mixed Doubles: An Entertainment on Marriage at the Comedy Theatre, London, on April 9, 1969; directed by Alexander Doré, this production included Nigel...

(1969), Old Times
Old Times
Old Times is a play by the Nobel Laureate Harold Pinter. It was first performed by the Royal Shakespeare Company at the Aldwych Theatre in London on June 1, 1971. It starred Colin Blakely, Dorothy Tutin, and Vivien Merchant, and was directed by Peter Hall...

(1971), No Man's Land
No Man's Land (play)
No Man's Land is a play by Harold Pinter written in 1974 and first produced and published in 1975. Its original production was at the Old Vic Theatre in London by the National Theatre on 23 April 1975, and it later transferred to Wyndhams Theatre, July 1975 - January 1976, the Lyttelton Theatre...

(1975), The Proust Screenplay (1977), Betrayal
Betrayal (play)
Betrayal is a play written by Harold Pinter in 1978. Critically regarded as one of the English playwright's major dramatic works, it features his characteristically economical dialogue, characters' hidden emotions and veiled motivations, and their self-absorbed competitive one-upmanship,...

(1978), Family Voices
Family Voices
Family Voices is a radio play by Harold Pinter written in 1980 and first broadcast on BBC Radio 3 on 22 January 1981.-Summary:Family Voices exposes the story of a mother, son, and dead husband and father through a series of letters that the mother and son have written to one another and that each...

(1981), Victoria Station
Victoria Station (play)
Victoria Station is a short play for two actors by the English playwright Harold Pinter.-Summary:Victoria Station consists of a radio dialogue between a minicab controller and a driver who is stopped by the side of "a dark park" in Crystal Palace, supposedly waiting further instructions. The...

(1982), and A Kind of Alaska
A Kind of Alaska
A Kind of Alaska is a one-act play written in 1982 by Harold Pinter , the 2005 Nobel Laureate in Literature.-Summary:A middle-aged woman named Deborah, who has been in a comatose state for thirty years as a result of contracting sleeping sickness, awakes with a mind still that of a sixteen-year-old...

(1982). Some of Pinter's later plays, including Party Time (1991), Moonlight
Moonlight (play)
Moonlight is a play written by Harold Pinter, which premiered at the Almeida Theatre, in London, in September 1993.-Setting:THREE MAIN PLAYING AREAS:rehashes his youth, loves, lusts, and betrayals with his wife, [Bel], while simultaneously his two sons [Fred and Jake] — clinical, conspiratorial,...

(1993), Ashes to Ashes
Ashes to Ashes (play)
Ashes to Ashes is a 1996 play by English playwright Harold Pinter. It was first performed, in Dutch, by Toneelgroep Amsterdam, the Netherlands' largest repertory company, in Amsterdam, as part of its 1996–1997 season, and directed by Titus Muizelaar, who reprised his production, in Dutch with...

(1996), and Celebration
Celebration (play)
Celebration is a play by British playwright Harold Pinter. It was first presented as a double-bill with Pinter's first play The Room on Thursday 16 March 2000 at the Almeida Theatre in London.-Synopsis:...

(2000) draw upon some features of his "memory" dramaturgy
Dramaturgy
Dramaturgy is the art of dramatic composition and the representation of the main elements of drama on the stage. Dramaturgy is a distinct practice separate from play writing and directing, although a single individual may perform any combination of the three. Some dramatists combine writing and...

 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.

Overtly political plays and sketches (1980–2000)


Following a three-year period of creative drought in the early 1980s after his marriage to Antonia Fraser and the death of Vivien Merchant, Pinter's plays tended to become shorter and more overtly political, serving as critiques of oppression
Oppression
Oppression is the exercise of authority or power in a burdensome, cruel, or unjust manner. It can also be defined as an act or instance of oppressing, the state of being oppressed, and the feeling of being heavily burdened, mentally or physically, by troubles, adverse conditions, and...

, torture
Torture
Torture is the act of inflicting severe pain as a means of punishment, revenge, forcing information or a confession, or simply as an act of cruelty. Throughout history, torture has often been used as a method of political re-education, interrogation, punishment, and coercion...

, and other abuses of human rights
Human rights
Human rights are "commonly understood as inalienable fundamental rights to which a person is inherently entitled simply because she or he is a human being." Human rights are thus conceived as universal and egalitarian . These rights may exist as natural rights or as legal rights, in both national...

, linked by the apparent "invulnerability of power." Just before this hiatus, in 1979, Pinter re-discovered his manuscript of The Hothouse
The Hothouse
The Hothouse is a full-length tragicomedy written by Harold Pinter in the winter of 1958 between The Birthday Party and The Caretaker...

, which he had written in 1958 but had set aside; he revised it and then directed its first production himself at Hampstead Theatre
Hampstead Theatre
Hampstead Theatre is a theatre in the vicinity of Swiss Cottage and Belsize Park, in the London Borough of Camden. It specialises in commissioning and producing new writing, supporting and developing the work of new writers. In 2009 it celebrates its 50 year anniversary.The original theatre was...

 in London, in 1980. 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
Comedy of menace
Comedy of menace is a term used to describe the plays of David Campton, Nigel Dennis, N. F. Simpson, and Harold Pinter by drama critic Irving Wardle, borrowed from the subtitle of Campton's play The Lunatic View: A Comedy of Menace, in reviewing Pinter's and Campton's plays in Encore in 1958...

. Pinter played the major role of Roote in a 1995 revival at the Minerva Theatre, Chichester
Minerva Theatre, Chichester
The Minerva Theatre is a studio theatre seating at full capacity 283. It is run as part of the adjacent Chichester Festival Theatre, located in Chichester, England, and was opened in 1989...

.

Pinter's brief dramatic sketch Precisely (1983) is a duologue between two bureaucrats exploring the absurd power politics of mutual nuclear annihilation and deterrence
Deterrence theory
Deterrence theory gained increased prominence as a military strategy during the Cold War with regard to the use of nuclear weapons, and features prominently in current United States foreign policy regarding the development of nuclear technology in North Korea and Iran. Deterrence theory however was...

. His first overtly political one-act play is One for the Road (1984). 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. Pinter's "political theater dramatizes the interplay and conflict of the opposing poles of involvement and disengagement." Mountain Language
Mountain Language
Mountain Language is a one-act play written by Harold Pinter, first published in The Times Literary Supplement on 7–13 October 1988. It was first performed at the Royal National Theatre in London on 20 October 1988 with Michael Gambon and Miranda Richardson. Subsequently, it was published by...

(1988) is about the Turkish suppression of the Kurdish language
Kurdish language
Kurdish is a dialect continuum spoken by the Kurds in western Asia. It is part of the Iranian branch of the Indo-Iranian group of Indo-European languages....

. The dramatic sketch The New World Order (1991) provides what Robert Cushman, writing in The Independent
The Independent
The Independent is a British national morning newspaper published in London by Independent Print Limited, owned by Alexander Lebedev since 2010. It is nicknamed the Indy, while the Sunday edition, The Independent on Sunday, is the Sindy. Launched in 1986, it is one of the youngest UK national daily...

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
Royal Court Theatre
The Royal Court Theatre is a non-commercial theatre on Sloane Square, in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. It is noted for its contributions to modern theatre...

, 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
Political satire
Political satire is a significant part of satire that specializes in gaining entertainment from politics; it has also been used with subversive intent where political speech and dissent are forbidden by a regime, as a method of advancing political arguments where such arguments are expressly...

 Party Time (1991) premièred at the Almeida Theatre
Almeida Theatre
The Almeida Theatre, opened in 1980, is a 325 seat studio theatre with an international reputation which takes its name from the street in which it is located, off Upper Street, in the London Borough of Islington. The theatre produces a diverse range of drama and holds an annual summer festival of...

 in London, in a double-bill with Mountain Language. Pinter adapted it as a screenplay for television in 1992, directing that production, first broadcast in the UK on Channel 4
Channel 4
Channel 4 is a British public-service television broadcaster which began working on 2 November 1982. Although largely commercially self-funded, it is ultimately publicly owned; originally a subsidiary of the Independent Broadcasting Authority , the station is now owned and operated by the Channel...

 on 17 November 1992.

Intertwining political and personal concerns, his next full-length plays, Moonlight
Moonlight (play)
Moonlight is a play written by Harold Pinter, which premiered at the Almeida Theatre, in London, in September 1993.-Setting:THREE MAIN PLAYING AREAS:rehashes his youth, loves, lusts, and betrayals with his wife, [Bel], while simultaneously his two sons [Fred and Jake] — clinical, conspiratorial,...

(1993) and Ashes to Ashes
Ashes to Ashes (play)
Ashes to Ashes is a 1996 play by English playwright Harold Pinter. It was first performed, in Dutch, by Toneelgroep Amsterdam, the Netherlands' largest repertory company, in Amsterdam, as part of its 1996–1997 season, and directed by Titus Muizelaar, who reprised his production, in Dutch with...

(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
The Holocaust
The Holocaust , also known as the Shoah , was the genocide of approximately six million European Jews and millions of others during World War II, a programme of systematic state-sponsored murder by Nazi...

. 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
Celebration (play)
Celebration is a play by British playwright Harold Pinter. It was first presented as a double-bill with Pinter's first play The Room on Thursday 16 March 2000 at the Almeida Theatre in London.-Synopsis:...

(2000), is a social satire
Satire
Satire is primarily a literary genre or form, although in practice it can also be found in the graphic and performing arts. In satire, vices, follies, abuses, and shortcomings are held up to ridicule, ideally with the intent of shaming individuals, and society itself, into improvement...

 set in an opulent restaurant, which lampoons The Ivy
The Ivy
The Ivy is a restaurant in West Street, near Covent Garden in London. It opened in 1917 and is popular with celebrities and theatre goers. In 2000, the restaurant was awarded the Moët & Chandon London Restaurant Award for excellence....

, a fashionable venue in London's West End theatre
West End theatre
West End theatre is a popular term for mainstream professional theatre staged in the large theatres of London's 'Theatreland', the West End. Along with New York's Broadway theatre, West End theatre is usually considered to represent the highest level of commercial theatre in the English speaking...

 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." At the next table, Russell, a banker, describes himself as a "totally disordered personality ... a psychopath," while Lambert "vows to be reincarnated as '[a] more civilised, [a] gentler person, [a] nicer person'." These characters' deceptively smooth exteriors mask their extreme viciousness. Celebration evokes familiar Pinteresque political contexts: "The ritzy loudmouths in 'Celebration' ... and the quieter working-class mumblers of 'The Room' ... have everything in common beneath the surface". "Money remains in the service of entrenched power, and the brothers in the play are 'strategy consultants' whose jobs involve force and violence ... It is tempting but inaccurate to equate the comic power inversions of the social behavior in Celebration with lasting change in larger political structures", according to Grimes, for whom the play indicates Pinter's pessimism about the possibility of changing the status quo. Yet, as the Waiter's often comically unbelievable reminiscences about his grandfather demonstrate in Celebration, Pinter's final stage plays also extend some expressionistic
Expressionism
Expressionism was a modernist movement, initially in poetry and painting, originating in Germany at the beginning of the 20th century. Its typical trait is to present the world solely from a subjective perspective, distorting it radically for emotional effect in order to evoke moods or ideas...

 aspects of his earlier "memory plays", while harking back to his "comedies of menace", as illustrated in the characters and in the Waiter's final speech:
During 2000–2001, there were also simultaneous productions of Remembrance of Things Past
Remembrance of Things Past (play)
Remembrance of Things Past is the 2000 collaborative stage adaptation by Harold Pinter and director Di Trevis of Harold Pinter's as-yet unproduced The Proust Screenplay , a screen adaptation of À la recherche du temps perdu, the seven-volume novel by Marcel Proust.In November 2000, the play...

, Pinter's stage adaptation of his unpublished Proust Screenplay, written in collaboration with and directed by Di Trevis
Di Trevis
Diane Trevis is an English theatre director. She was born in Birmingham and educated at Sussex University. After eight years as an actress, she began directing in 1981....

, at the Royal National Theatre
Royal National Theatre
The Royal National Theatre in London is one of the United Kingdom's two most prominent publicly funded theatre companies, alongside the Royal Shakespeare Company...

, and a revival of The Caretaker
The Caretaker
The Caretaker is a play by Harold Pinter. It was first published by both Encore Publishing and Eyre Methuen in 1960. The sixth play that Pinter wrote for stage or television production, it was his first significant commercial success...

directed by Patrick Marber
Patrick Marber
Patrick Albert Crispin Marber is an English comedian, playwright, director, puppeteer, actor and screenwriter.-Early life and education:...

 and starring Michael Gambon
Michael Gambon
Sir Michael John Gambon, CBE is an Irish actor who has worked in theatre, television and film. A highly respected theatre actor, Gambon is recognised for his roles as Philip Marlowe in the BBC television serial The Singing Detective, as Jules Maigret in the 1990s ITV serial Maigret, and as...

, Rupert Graves
Rupert Graves
Rupert Graves is an English film, television and theatre actor. He is best known for his role as DI Lestrade in the critically acclaimed television series Sherlock.-Early life:...

, and Douglas Hodge
Douglas Hodge
Douglas Hodge is an English actor, director, and musician who trained for the stage at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.Hodge is a council member of the National Youth Theatre for whom, in 1989, he co-wrote Pacha Mama's Blessing about the Amazon rain forests staged at the Almeida...

, at the Comedy Theatre.

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
Royal National Theatre
The Royal National Theatre in London is one of the United Kingdom's two most prominent publicly funded theatre companies, alongside the Royal Shakespeare Company...

'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".

As screenwriter


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
Joseph Losey
Joseph Walton Losey was an American theater and film director. After studying in Germany with Bertolt Brecht, Losey returned to the United States, eventually making his way to Hollywood...

, leading to their close friendship: The Servant (1963), based on the novel by Robin Maugham
Robin Maugham
Robert Cecil Romer Maugham, 2nd Viscount Maugham , known as Robin Maugham, was a British novelist, playwright and travel writer.-Early life:...

; Accident (1967), adapted from the novel by Nicholas Mosley; and The Go-Between
The Go-Between (film)
The Go-Between is Harold Pinter's 1970 film adaptation of the novel by L. P. Hartley. A British production directed by Joseph Losey, it stars Dominic Guard , Julie Christie, Alan Bates, Margaret Leighton, Michael Redgrave, Michael Gough and Edward Fox.Pinter's screenplay—his final collaboration...

(1970), based on the novel by L. P. Hartley
L. P. Hartley
Leslie Poles Hartley was a British writer, known for novels and short stories. His best-known work is The Go-Between , which was made into a 1970 film, directed by Joseph Losey with a star cast, in an adaptation by Harold Pinter...

. Films based on Pinter's adaptations of his own stage plays are: The Caretaker (1963), directed by Clive Donner
Clive Donner
Clive Stanley Donner was a British film director who was a defining part of the British New Wave, directing films such as The Caretaker, Nothing But the Best, Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush and What's New Pussycat?...

; The Birthday Party
The Birthday Party (film)
The Birthday Party is a 1968 British drama film directed by William Friedkin, based on an unpublished screenplay by 2005 Nobel Laureate Harold Pinter, which he adapted from his own play The Birthday Party, considered an example of Pinter's "comedy of menace".-Plot:The protagonist is a lodger in his...

(1968), directed by William Friedkin
William Friedkin
William Friedkin is an American film director, producer and screenwriter best known for directing The French Connection in 1971 and The Exorcist in 1973; for the former, he won the Academy Award for Best Director...

; The Homecoming
The Homecoming (film)
The Homecoming is a 1973 film directed by Peter Hall based on the play of the same name by Harold Pinter. The film was screened at the 1974 Cannes Film Festival, but was not entered into the main competition.-Plot:...

(1973), directed by Peter Hall; and Betrayal
Betrayal (1983 film)
Betrayal is a film adaptation of Harold Pinter's 1978 play of the same name. With a semi-autobiographical screenplay by Pinter, the film was produced by Sam Spiegel and directed by David Jones. It was critically well received, praised notably by New York Times film critic Vincent Canby and by...

(1983), directed by David Jones.

Pinter also adapted other writers' novels to screenplays, including The Pumpkin Eater
The Pumpkin Eater
The Pumpkin Eater is a 1964 British drama film starring Anne Bancroft as an unusually fertile woman and Peter Finch as her philandering husband....

(1964), based on the novel by Penelope Mortimer
Penelope Mortimer
Penelope Ruth Mortimer , was a British journalist, biographer and novelist.-Early life:...

, directed by Jack Clayton
Jack Clayton
Jack Clayton was a British film director who specialised in bringing literary works to the screen.-Career:A native of East Sussex, Clayton started his career as a child actor on the 1929 film Dark Red Roses...

; The Quiller Memorandum
The Quiller Memorandum
The Quiller Memorandum is a film adaptation of the 1965 spy novel The Berlin Memorandum, by Trevor Dudley-Smith under the name "Adam Hall", screenplay by Harold Pinter, directed by Michael Anderson, featuring George Segal, Max von Sydow, Senta Berger and Alec Guinness. The film was shot on...

(1966), from the 1965 spy novel The Berlin Memorandum, by Elleston Trevor
Elleston Trevor
Elleston Trevor was the pseudonym, and eventually legal name, of the British novelist Trevor Dudley-Smith , who also wrote as Adam Hall, Simon Rattray, Howard North, Roger Fitzalan, Mansell Black, Trevor Burgess, Warwick Scott, Caesar Smith and Lesley Stone...

, directed by Michael Anderson
Michael Anderson (director)
Michael Joseph Anderson, Sr. is an English film director, best known for directing The Dam Busters , Around the World in 80 Days and Logan's Run .-Early life:...

; The Last Tycoon
The Last Tycoon (film)
The Last Tycoon is a 1976 American dramatic film directed by Elia Kazan and produced by Sam Spiegel, based upon Harold Pinter's screenplay adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Last Tycoon, sometimes known as The Love of the Last Tycoon. It stars Robert De Niro, Tony Curtis, Robert Mitchum, Jack...

(1976), from the unfinished novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald
F. Scott Fitzgerald
Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald was an American author of novels and short stories, whose works are the paradigm writings of the Jazz Age, a term he coined himself. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest American writers of the 20th century. Fitzgerald is considered a member of the "Lost...

, directed by Elia Kazan
Elia Kazan
Elia Kazan was an American director and actor, described by the New York Times as "one of the most honored and influential directors in Broadway and Hollywood history". Born in Istanbul, the capital of the Ottoman Empire, to Greek parents originally from Kayseri in Anatolia, the family emigrated...

; The French Lieutenant's Woman
The French Lieutenant's Woman (film)
The French Lieutenant's Woman is a 1981 film directed by Karel Reisz and adapted by playwright Harold Pinter. It is based on the novel of the same title by John Fowles...

(1981), from the novel by John Fowles
John Fowles
John Robert Fowles was an English novelist and essayist. In 2008, The Times newspaper named Fowles among their list of "The 50 greatest British writers since 1945".-Birth and family:...

, directed by Karel Reisz
Karel Reisz
Karel Reisz was a Czech-born British filmmaker who was active in post–war Britain, and one of the pioneers of the new realist strain in 1950s and 1960s British cinema.-Early life:...

; Turtle Diary
Turtle Diary
Turtle Diary is a 1985 British drama about "people rediscovering the joys of life and love," based on a screenplay adapted by Harold Pinter from Russell Hoban's novel Turtle Diary, directed by John Irvin, and starring Glenda Jackson, Ben Kingsley, and Michael Gambon.-Synopsis:Two lonely Londoners -...

(1985), based on the novel by Russell Hoban
Russell Hoban
Russell Conwell Hoban is an American writer, now living in England, of fantasy, science fiction, mainstream fiction, magic realism, poetry, and children's books-Biography:...

; The Heat of the Day (1988), a television film, from the 1949 novel by Elizabeth Bowen
Elizabeth Bowen
Elizabeth Dorothea Cole Bowen, CBE was an Irish novelist and short story writer.-Life:Elizabeth Bowen was born on 7 June 1899 at 15 Herbert Place in Dublin, Ireland and was baptized in the nearby St Stephen's Church on Upper Mount Street...

; The Comfort of Strangers
The Comfort of Strangers (film)
The Comfort of Strangers is a 1990 film directed by Paul Schrader. The screenplay is by Harold Pinter, adapted from a short novel of the same name by Ian McEwan. The film stars Natasha Richardson, Christopher Walken, Rupert Everett and Helen Mirren...

(1990), from the novel by Ian McEwan
Ian McEwan
Ian Russell McEwan CBE, FRSA, FRSL is a British novelist and screenwriter, and one of Britain's most highly regarded writers. In 2008, The Times named him among their list of "The 50 greatest British writers since 1945"....

, directed by Paul Schrader
Paul Schrader
Paul Joseph Schrader is an American screenwriter, film director, and former film critic. Apart from his credentials as a director, Schrader is most notably known for his screenplays for Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver and Raging Bull....

; and The Trial
The Trial (1993 film)
The Trial is a 1993 film made by the British Broadcasting Corporation based on Harold Pinter's screenplay adaptation of Franz Kafka's 1925 novel The Trial....

(1993), from the novel by Franz Kafka
Franz Kafka
Franz Kafka was a culturally influential German-language author of short stories and novels. Contemporary critics and academics, including Vladimir Nabokov, regard Kafka as one of the best writers of the 20th century...

, directed by David Jones.

His commissioned screenplays of others' works for the films The Handmaid's Tale
The Handmaid's Tale (film)
The Handmaid's Tale is a 1990 film adaptation of the Margaret Atwood novel of the same name. Directed by Volker Schlöndorff the film stars Natasha Richardson , Faye Dunaway , Robert Duvall , Aidan Quinn , and Elizabeth McGovern . The screenplay was written by Harold Pinter...

(1990), The Remains of the Day
The Remains of the Day (film)
The Remains of the Day is a 1993 Merchant Ivory film adapted by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala from the novel by Kazuo Ishiguro. It was directed by James Ivory and produced by Ismail Merchant, Mike Nichols and John Calley. It starred Anthony Hopkins as Stevens and Emma Thompson as Miss Kenton with James Fox,...

(1990), and Lolita
Lolita (1997 film)
Lolita is a 1997 French-American drama film directed by Adrian Lyne. It is the second screen adaptation of Vladimir Nabokov's novel of the same name and stars Jeremy Irons as Humbert Humbert and Dominique Swain as Dolores "Lolita" Haze, with supporting roles by Melanie Griffith as Charlotte Haze,...

(1997), remain unpublished and in the case of the latter two films, uncredited, though several scenes from or aspects of his scripts were used in these finished films. His screenplays The Proust Screenplay
Remembrance of Things Past (play)
Remembrance of Things Past is the 2000 collaborative stage adaptation by Harold Pinter and director Di Trevis of Harold Pinter's as-yet unproduced The Proust Screenplay , a screen adaptation of À la recherche du temps perdu, the seven-volume novel by Marcel Proust.In November 2000, the play...

(1972), Victory (1982), and The Dreaming Child (1997) and his unpublished screenplay The Tragedy of King Lear (2000) have not been filmed. A section of Pinter's Proust Screenplay was, however, released as the 1984 film Swann in Love (Un amour de Swann), directed by Volker Schlöndorff
Volker Schlöndorff
Volker Schlöndorff is a Berlin-based German filmmaker who has worked in Germany, France and the United States...

, and it was also adapted by Michael Bakewell
Michael Bakewell
Michael Bakewell is a British television producer. He is best known for his work during the 1960s, when he was the first Head of Plays at the BBC after Sydney Newman divided the drama department into separate series, serials and plays divisions in 1963...

 as a two-hour radio drama broadcast on BBC Radio 3
BBC Radio 3
BBC Radio 3 is a national radio station operated by the BBC within the United Kingdom. Its output centres on classical music and opera, but jazz, world music, drama, culture and the arts also feature. The station is the world’s most significant commissioner of new music, and its New Generation...

 in 1995, before Pinter and director Di Trevis collaborated to adapt it for the 2000 National Theatre production.

Pinter's last filmed screenplay was an adaptation of the 1970 Tony Award
Tony Award
The Antoinette Perry Award for Excellence in Theatre, more commonly known as a Tony Award, recognizes achievement in live Broadway theatre. The awards are presented by the American Theatre Wing and The Broadway League at an annual ceremony in New York City. The awards are given for Broadway...

-winning play Sleuth
Sleuth (play)
Sleuth is a 1970 play written by Anthony Shaffer. The play is set in the Wiltshire, England manor house of Andrew Wyke, an immensely successful mystery writer. His home reflects Wyke's obsession with the inventions and deceptions of fiction and his fascination with games and game-playing...

, by Anthony Shaffer, which was commissioned by Jude Law
Jude Law
David Jude Heyworth Law , known professionally as Jude Law, is an English actor, film producer and director.He began acting with the National Youth Music Theatre in 1987, and had his first television role in 1989...

, one of the film's producers. It is the basis for the 2007 film Sleuth
Sleuth (2007 film)
Sleuth is a 2007 thriller film directed by Kenneth Branagh and starring Jude Law and Michael Caine. The screenplay by Harold Pinter is an adaption of Anthony Shaffer's Tony Award-winning play Sleuth...

, directed by Kenneth Branagh
Kenneth Branagh
Kenneth Charles Branagh is an actor and film director from Northern Ireland. He is best known for directing and starring in several film adaptations of William Shakespeare's plays including Henry V , Much Ado About Nothing , Hamlet Kenneth Charles Branagh is an actor and film director from...

. Pinter's screenplays for The French Lieutenant's Woman
The French Lieutenant's Woman (film)
The French Lieutenant's Woman is a 1981 film directed by Karel Reisz and adapted by playwright Harold Pinter. It is based on the novel of the same title by John Fowles...

and Betrayal were nominated for Academy Awards in 1981 and 1983, respectively.

2001–2008



From 16 to 31 July 2001, a Harold Pinter Festival celebrating his work, curated by Michael Colgan
Michael Colgan (theatre director)
Michael Colgan is a film and television producer and is also the Artistic Director of the Gate Theatre in Dublin.-Life and work:Born in Dublin in 1950, he was educated at Trinity College, Dublin, where, as a student, he became chairman of Trinity Players...

, artistic director of the Gate Theatre
Gate Theatre
The Gate Theatre, in Dublin, was founded in 1928 by Hilton Edwards and Micheál Mac Liammóir, initially using the Abbey Theatre's Peacock studio theatre space to stage important works by European and American dramatists...

, Dublin, was held as part of the annual Lincoln Center Festival at Lincoln Center
Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts is a complex of buildings in the Lincoln Square neighborhood of New York City's Upper West Side. Reynold Levy has been its president since 2002.-History and facilities:...

 in New York City. 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. 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.

In December 2001, Pinter was diagnosed with oesophageal cancer, for which, in 2002, he underwent an operation and chemotherapy
Chemotherapy
Chemotherapy is the treatment of cancer with an antineoplastic drug or with a combination of such drugs into a standardized treatment regimen....

. 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).

From 9 to 25 January 2003, the Manitoba Theatre Centre, in Manitoba
Manitoba
Manitoba is a Canadian prairie province with an area of . The province has over 110,000 lakes and has a largely continental climate because of its flat topography. Agriculture, mostly concentrated in the fertile southern and western parts of the province, is vital to the province's economy; other...

, Canada, held a nearly month-long PinterFest, in which over a 130 performances of twelve of Pinter's plays were performed by a dozen different theatre companies. 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.

In 2005, Pinter stated that he had stopped writing plays and that he would be devoting his efforts more to his political activism
Activism
Activism consists of intentional efforts to bring about social, political, economic, or environmental change. Activism can take a wide range of forms from writing letters to newspapers or politicians, political campaigning, economic activism such as boycotts or preferentially patronizing...

 and writing poetry: "I think I've written 29 plays. 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".

From 2005, Pinter suffered ill health, including a rare skin disease called pemphigus
Pemphigus
Pemphigus is a rare group of blistering autoimmune diseases that affect the skin and mucous membranes.In pemphigus, autoantibodies form against desmoglein. Desmoglein forms the "glue" that attaches adjacent epidermal cells via attachment points called desmosomes...

 and "a form of septicaemia
Sepsis
Sepsis is a potentially deadly medical condition that is characterized by a whole-body inflammatory state and the presence of a known or suspected infection. The body may develop this inflammatory response by the immune system to microbes in the blood, urine, lungs, skin, or other tissues...

 that afflict[ed] his feet and made it difficult for him to walk." Yet, he completed his screenplay for the film of Sleuth in 2005. His last dramatic work for radio, Voices (2005), a collaboration with composer James Clarke
James Clarke (composer)
James Clarke is an English composer sometimes associated with the New Complexity school.-Education:According to fellow English composer and music scholar Christopher Fox, in The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, "After studying at Southampton University and City University, London,...

, adapting selected works by Pinter to music, premièred on BBC Radio 3
BBC Radio 3
BBC Radio 3 is a national radio station operated by the BBC within the United Kingdom. Its output centres on classical music and opera, but jazz, world music, drama, culture and the arts also feature. The station is the world’s most significant commissioner of new music, and its New Generation...

 on his 75th birthday on 10 October 2005. Three days later, it was announced that he had won the 2005 Nobel Prize in Literature.

In an interview with Pinter in 2006, conducted by critic Michael Billington as part of the cultural programme of the 2006 Winter Olympics
2006 Winter Olympics
The 2006 Winter Olympics, officially known as the XX Olympic Winter Games, was a winter multi-sport event which was celebrated in Turin, Italy from February 10, 2006, through February 26, 2006. This marked the second time Italy hosted the Olympic Winter Games, the first being the VII Olympic Winter...

 in Turin
Turin
Turin is a city and major business and cultural centre in northern Italy, capital of the Piedmont region, located mainly on the left bank of the Po River and surrounded by the Alpine arch. The population of the city proper is 909,193 while the population of the urban area is estimated by Eurostat...

, Italy, Pinter confirmed that he would continue to write poetry but not plays. In response, the audience shouted No in unison, urging him to keep writing. 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
Alan Stanford
Alan Stanford is a well known Irish-based actor and director.-Personal life:Stanford has lived in Ireland since 1969. He trained as an actor at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London....

, of the Gate Theatre
Gate Theatre
The Gate Theatre, in Dublin, was founded in 1928 by Hilton Edwards and Micheál Mac Liammóir, initially using the Abbey Theatre's Peacock studio theatre space to stage important works by European and American dramatists...

, Dublin. In June 2006, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts
British Academy of Film and Television Arts
The British Academy of Film and Television Arts is a charity in the United Kingdom that hosts annual awards shows for excellence in film, television, television craft, video games and forms of animation.-Introduction:...

 (BAFTA) hosted a celebration of Pinter's films curated by his friend, the playwright David Hare
David Hare (playwright)
Sir David Hare is an English playwright and theatre and film director.-Early life:Hare was born in St Leonards-on-Sea, Hastings, East Sussex, the son of Agnes and Clifford Hare, a sailor. He was educated at Lancing, an independent school in West Sussex, and at Jesus College, Cambridge...

. 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
Ingmar Bergman
Ernst Ingmar Bergman was a Swedish director, writer and producer for film, stage and television. Described by Woody Allen as "probably the greatest film artist, all things considered, since the invention of the motion picture camera", he is recognized as one of the most accomplished and...

's is on the human face, in which tension is maintained by a carefully crafted mix of image and dialogue."

After returning to London from the Edinburgh International Book Festival
Edinburgh International Book Festival
The Edinburgh International Book Festival, is a book festival that takes place in the last three weeks of August every year in Charlotte Square, in the centre of Edinburgh, Scotland’s capital...

, in September 2006, Pinter began rehearsing for his performance of the role of Krapp in Samuel Beckett
Samuel Beckett
Samuel Barclay Beckett was an Irish avant-garde novelist, playwright, theatre director, and poet. He wrote both in English and French. His work offers a bleak, tragicomic outlook on human nature, often coupled with black comedy and gallows humour.Beckett is widely regarded as among the most...

's one-act monologue
Monologue
In theatre, a monologue is a speech presented by a single character, most often to express their thoughts aloud, though sometimes also to directly address another character or the audience. Monologues are common across the range of dramatic media...

 Krapp's Last Tape
Krapp's Last Tape
Krapp's Last Tape is a one-act play, written in English, by Samuel Beckett. Consisting of a cast of one man, it was originally written for Northern Irish actor Patrick Magee and first titled "Magee monologue"...

, which he performed from a motorised wheelchair in a limited run the following month at the Royal Court Theatre
Royal Court Theatre
The Royal Court Theatre is a non-commercial theatre on Sloane Square, in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. It is noted for its contributions to modern theatre...

 to sold-out audiences and "ecstatic" critical reviews. The production ran for only nine performances, as part of the 50th-anniversary celebration season of the Royal Court Theatre
Royal Court Theatre
The Royal Court Theatre is a non-commercial theatre on Sloane Square, in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. It is noted for its contributions to modern theatre...

; it sold out within minutes of the opening of the box office and tickets commanded large sums from ticket resellers
Ticket resale
Ticket resale is the act of reselling tickets for admission to events. Tickets are bought from licensed sellers and are then sold for a price determined by the individual or company in possession of the tickets. Tickets sold through secondary sources may be sold for less or more than their face...

. One performance was filmed and broadcast on BBC Four
BBC Four
BBC Four is a British television network operated by the British Broadcasting Corporation and available to digital television viewers on Freeview, IPTV, satellite and cable....

 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 October and November 2006, Sheffield Theatres
Sheffield Theatres
Sheffield Theatres is a theatre complex in Sheffield, South Yorkshire comprising three theatres: the Crucible, the Lyceum and the Crucible Studio...

 hosted Pinter: A Celebration. 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
Trafalgar Studios
Trafalgar Studios, formerly The Whitehall Theatre until 2004, is a West End theatre in Whitehall, near Trafalgar Square, in the City of Westminster, London....

. Later in February 2007, John Crowley
John Crowley (director)
John Crowley is an Irish television, theatre and film director. He is perhaps best known for his feature film debut Intermission .-Education:Crowley earned a B.A. in philosophy from University College Cork.-Career:...

's film version of Pinter's play Celebration (2000) was shown on More4
More4
More4 is a digital television channel, run by British broadcaster Channel 4, that launched on 10 October 2005. It is carried on Freeview, on satellite broadcasters Freesat and Sky, UK IPTV broadcaster TalkTalk TV and on UK cable network Virgin Media and in the Republic of Ireland cable networks...

(Channel 4
Channel 4
Channel 4 is a British public-service television broadcaster which began working on 2 November 1982. Although largely commercially self-funded, it is ultimately publicly owned; originally a subsidiary of the Independent Broadcasting Authority , the station is now owned and operated by the Channel...

, UK). On 18 March 2007, BBC Radio 3
BBC Radio 3
BBC Radio 3 is a national radio station operated by the BBC within the United Kingdom. Its output centres on classical music and opera, but jazz, world music, drama, culture and the arts also feature. The station is the world’s most significant commissioner of new music, and its New Generation...

 broadcast a new radio production of The Homecoming, directed by Thea Sharrock
Thea Sharrock
Thea Sharrock is an award-winning English theatre director. In 2001, when at age 24 she became artistic director of London's Southwark Playhouse, she was the youngest artistic director in British theatre....

 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
Donmar Warehouse
Donmar Warehouse is a small not-for-profit theatre in the Covent Garden area of London, with a capacity of 251.-About:Under the artistic leadership of Michael Grandage, the theatre has presented some of London’s most memorable award-winning theatrical experiences, as well as garnered critical...

, directed by Roger Michell
Roger Michell
Roger Michell is an English theatre, television and film director.-Personal life:He was born in Pretoria, South Africa but spent significant parts of his childhood in Beirut, Damascus and Prague as his father was a diplomat. He was educated at Clifton College where he became a member of Brown's...

.

Revivals in 2008 included the 40th-anniversary production of the American première of The Homecoming on Broadway, directed by Daniel J. Sullivan
Daniel J. Sullivan
Daniel J. Sullivan is an American theatre and film director and playwright.-Life and career:Sullivan was born in Wray, Colorado, the son of Mary Catherine and John Martin Sullivan. He was raised in San Francisco, where he graduated from San Francisco State University...

. From 8 to 24 May 2008, the Lyric Hammersmith
Lyric Hammersmith
The Lyric Theatre, also known as the Lyric Hammersmith, is a theatre on King Street, in the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, which takes pride in its original, "groundbreaking" productions....

 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.


The final revival during Pinter's lifetime was a production of No Man's Land, directed by Rupert Goold
Rupert Goold
Rupert Goold is an English theatre director. He is the artistic director of Headlong Theatre and from 2010 he will be an associate director at the Royal Shakespeare Company.- Early years :...

, opening at the Gate Theatre, Dublin, in August 2008, and then transferring to the Duke of York's Theatre
Duke of York's Theatre
The Duke of York's Theatre is a West End Theatre in St Martin's Lane, in the City of Westminster. It was built for Frank Wyatt and his wife, Violet Melnotte, who retained ownership of the theatre, until her death in 1935. It opened on 10 September 1892 as the Trafalgar Square Theatre, with Wedding...

, London, where it played until 3 January 2009. On the Monday before Christmas 2008, Pinter was admitted to Hammersmith Hospital
Hammersmith Hospital
Hammersmith Hospital is a major teaching hospital in West London. It is part of Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust in the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, and is associated with the Imperial College Faculty of Medicine...

, where he died on Christmas Eve from liver cancer. 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:

Funeral


Pinter's funeral was a private, half-hour secular ceremony conducted at the graveside at Kensal Green Cemetery
Kensal Green Cemetery
Kensal Green Cemetery is a cemetery in Kensal Green, in the west of London, England. It was immortalised in the lines of G. K. Chesterton's poem The Rolling English Road from his book The Flying Inn: "For there is good news yet to hear and fine things to be seen; Before we go to Paradise by way of...

, 31 December 2008. The eight readings selected in advance by Pinter included passages from seven of his own writings and from the story "The Dead
The Dead (short story)
"The Dead" is the final short story in the 1914 collection Dubliners by James Joyce. It is the longest story in the collection and is often considered the best of Joyce's shorter works. At 15,672 words it has also been considered a novella....

", by James Joyce
James Joyce
James Augustine Aloysius Joyce was an Irish novelist and poet, considered to be one of the most influential writers in the modernist avant-garde of the early 20th century...

, which was read by actress Penelope Wilton
Penelope Wilton
Penelope Alice Wilton, OBE is an English actress.-Life and career:Penelope Alice Wilton was born in Scarborough, North Riding of Yorkshire, to a former actress mother and a businessman father. She is a niece of actors Bill Travers and Linden Travers and a cousin of the actor Richard Morant...

. Michael Gambon
Michael Gambon
Sir Michael John Gambon, CBE is an Irish actor who has worked in theatre, television and film. A highly respected theatre actor, Gambon is recognised for his roles as Philip Marlowe in the BBC television serial The Singing Detective, as Jules Maigret in the 1990s ITV serial Maigret, and as...

 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
Tom Stoppard
Sir Tom Stoppard OM, CBE, FRSL is a British playwright, knighted in 1997. He has written prolifically for TV, radio, film and stage, finding prominence with plays such as Arcadia, The Coast of Utopia, Every Good Boy Deserves Favour, Professional Foul, The Real Thing, and Rosencrantz and...

, 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
Horatio (character)
Horatio is a character from William Shakespeare's play Hamlet. A friend of Prince Hamlet from Wittenberg University, Horatio's origins are unknown, though he is evidently poor and was present on the battlefield when Hamlet's father defeated 'the ambitious Norway'...

's speech after the death of Hamlet
Prince Hamlet
Prince Hamlet is a fictional character, the protagonist in Shakespeare's tragedy Hamlet. He is the Prince of Denmark, nephew to the usurping Claudius and son of the previous King of Denmark, Old Hamlet. Throughout the play he struggles with whether, and how, to avenge the murder of his father, and...

: "Goodnight, sweet prince, / And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest."

Memorial tributes


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
Ambassador Theatre Group
The Ambassador Theatre Group is an independent operator of theatres in the United Kingdom. Formed in 1992, by Howard Panter and Rosemary Squire,OBE, it acquired the Live Nation theatre group in November 2009.-List of theatres:...

 in the West End dimmed their lights for an hour to honour the playwright.

Diane Abbott
Diane Abbott
Diane Julie Abbott is a British Labour Party politician who has been the Member of Parliament for Hackney North and Stoke Newington since 1987, when she became the first black woman to be elected to the House of Commons...

, the Member of Parliament for Hackney North & Stoke Newington proposed an early day motion
Early day motion
An Early Day Motion , in the Westminster system, is a motion, expressed as a single sentence, tabled by Members of Parliament for debate "on an early day" . Controversial EDMs are not signed by Government Ministers, PPS or the Speaker of the House of Commons and very few are debated on the floor...

 in the House of Commons to support a residents' campaign to restore the Clapton Cinematograph Theatre, established in Lower Clapton Road
Lower Clapton
Lower Clapton is a district within the London Borough of Hackney.It is immediately adjacent to central Hackney - bounded, roughly, by the western side of Hackney Downs , the Lea Valley , Clifden Road and the Lea Bridge Road...

 in 1910, and to turn it into a memorial to Pinter "to honour this Hackney boy turned literary great." On 2 May 2009, a free public memorial tribute was held at The Graduate Center
CUNY Graduate Center
The Graduate Center of the City University of New York brings together graduate education, advanced research, and public programming to midtown Manhattan hosting 4,600 students, 33 doctoral programs, 7 master's programs, and 30 research centers and institutes...

 of The City University of New York
City University of New York
The City University of New York is the public university system of New York City, with its administrative offices in Yorkville in Manhattan. It is the largest urban university in the United States, consisting of 23 institutions: 11 senior colleges, six community colleges, the William E...

. It was part of the 5th Annual PEN World Voices Festival
PEN World Voices
PEN World Voices: The New York Festival of International Literature was launched in 2005. PEN World Voices is a week-long literary festival in New York City. The Festival was founded by Esther Allen and Michael Roberts under then PEN President Salman Rushdie. The Festival was composed of programs,...

 of International Literature, taking place in New York City. Another memorial celebration, held in the Olivier Theatre, at the Royal National Theatre
Royal National Theatre
The Royal National Theatre in London is one of the United Kingdom's two most prominent publicly funded theatre companies, alongside the Royal Shakespeare Company...

, in London, on the evening of 7 June 2009, consisted of excerpts and readings from Pinter's writings by nearly three dozen actors, many of whom were his friends and associates, including: Eileen Atkins
Eileen Atkins
Dame Eileen June Atkins, DBE is an English actress and occasional screenwriter.- Early life :Atkins was born in the Mothers' Hospital in Clapton, a Salvation Army women's hostel in East London...

, David Bradley
David Bradley (actor)
David Bradley is an English character actor. He has recently become known for playing the caretaker of Hogwarts, Argus Filch, in the Harry Potter film franchise.-Life and career :...

, Colin Firth
Colin Firth
SirColin Andrew Firth, CBE is a British film, television, and theatre actor. Firth gained wide public attention in the 1990s for his portrayal of Mr. Darcy in the 1995 television adaptation of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice...

, Henry Goodman
Henry Goodman
Henry Goodman is a British theatre actor. He trained at RADA in London alongside Jonathan Pryce.In 1988, he played George Green's brother-in-law Cyril in London's Burning. He played character roles in episodes of the popular UK police drama The Bill...

, Sheila Hancock
Sheila Hancock
Sheila Cameron Hancock, CBE is an English actress and author.-Early life:Sheila Hancock was born in Blackgang on the Isle of Wight, the daughter of Ivy Louise and Enrico Cameron Hancock, who was a publican. Her sister Billie is seven years older...

, Alan Rickman
Alan Rickman
Alan Sidney Patrick Rickman is an English actor and theatre director. He is a renowned stage actor in modern and classical productions and a former member of the Royal Shakespeare Company...

, Penelope Wilton
Penelope Wilton
Penelope Alice Wilton, OBE is an English actress.-Life and career:Penelope Alice Wilton was born in Scarborough, North Riding of Yorkshire, to a former actress mother and a businessman father. She is a niece of actors Bill Travers and Linden Travers and a cousin of the actor Richard Morant...

, Susan Wooldridge
Susan Wooldridge
Susan Wooldridge , is the daughter of British actress Margaretta Scott and composer John Wooldridge. She is also the sister of Hugh Wooldridge.She was born in London, England, and educated at convent schools....

, and Henry Woolf
Henry Woolf
Henry Woolf ,is a British actor, theatre director, and teacher of acting, drama, and theatre who lives in Canada, and a longtime friend and collaborator of 2005 Nobel Laureate Harold Pinter, having stimulated Pinter to write his first play, The Room in 1956...

; and a troupe of students from the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art
London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art
The London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art is a leading British drama school in west London. LAMDA's president is Timothy West and its new principal is Joanna Read, who recently succeeded Peter James...

, directed by Ian Rickson.

On 16 June 2009, Antonia Fraser officially opened a commemorative room at the Hackney Empire
Hackney Empire
The Hackney Empire is a theatre on Mare Street, in the London Borough of Hackney, built in 1901 as a music hall.-History:Hackney Empire is a grade II* listed building...

. The theatre also established a writer's residency in Pinter's name. Most of issue number 28 of Craig Raine
Craig Raine
Craig Raine is an English poet and critic born in Bishop Auckland, County Durham, England. Along with Christopher Reid, he is the best-known exponent of Martian poetry.-Life:...

's Arts Tri-Quarterly Areté
Areté
Areté is an arts magazine, published three times a year, edited by the poet Craig Raine. The magazine aims to give detailed coverage of theatre, fiction, and poetry, while also serving as a platform for new writing in all genres....

was devoted to pieces remembering Pinter, beginning with Pinter's 1987 unpublished love poem dedicated "To Antonia" and his poem "Paris", written in 1975 (the year in which he and Fraser began living together), followed by brief memoirs by some of Pinter's associates and friends, including Patrick Marber
Patrick Marber
Patrick Albert Crispin Marber is an English comedian, playwright, director, puppeteer, actor and screenwriter.-Early life and education:...

, Nina Raine
Nina Raine
Nina Raine is an English theatre director and playwright, and the only daughter of the poet Craig Raine.She graduated from Christ Church, Oxford in 1998 with a First in English Literature.-Career:...

, Tom Stoppard
Tom Stoppard
Sir Tom Stoppard OM, CBE, FRSL is a British playwright, knighted in 1997. He has written prolifically for TV, radio, film and stage, finding prominence with plays such as Arcadia, The Coast of Utopia, Every Good Boy Deserves Favour, Professional Foul, The Real Thing, and Rosencrantz and...

, Peter Nichols
Peter Nichols
Peter Nichols FRSL is an English writer of stage plays, film and television.Born in Bristol, England, he was educated at Bristol Grammar School, and served his compulsory National Service as a clerk in Calcutta and later in the Combined Services Entertainments Unit in Singapore where he...

, Susanna Gross
Susanna Gross
Susanna Gross has been the books editor of The Mail on Sunday since 1999. She was born in London and educated at the University of York. She previously worked as an editor at the Daily Mail, was features editor of Harper’s & Queen and was deputy editor of The Week.She is also a keen bridge player,...

, Richard Eyre
Richard Eyre
Sir Richard Charles Hastings Eyre CBE is an English director of film, theatre, television, and opera.-Biography:Eyre was educated at Sherborne School, an independent school for boys in the market town of Sherborne in north-west Dorset in south-west England, followed by Peterhouse at the University...

, and David Hare.

A memorial cricket match at Lord's Cricket Ground
Lord's Cricket Ground
Lord's Cricket Ground is a cricket venue in St John's Wood, London. Named after its founder, Thomas Lord, it is owned by Marylebone Cricket Club and is the home of Middlesex County Cricket Club, the England and Wales Cricket Board , the European Cricket Council and, until August 2005, the...

 between the Gaieties Cricket Club and the Lord's Taverners, followed by performances of Pinter's poems and excerpts from his plays, took place on 27 September 2009.

Being Harold Pinter


In January 2011 Being Harold Pinter, a theatrical collage of excerpts from Pinter's dramatic works, his Nobel Lecture, and letters of Belarusian prisoners, created and performed by the Belarus Free Theatre
Belarus Free Theatre
Belarus Free Theatre is a Belarusian underground theatre group.Under the current political system the Belarus Free Theatre has no official registration, no premises, nor any other facilities...

, evoked a great deal of attention in the public media. The Free Theatre's members had to be smuggled out of Minsk
Minsk
- Ecological situation :The ecological situation is monitored by Republican Center of Radioactive and Environmental Control .During 2003–2008 the overall weight of contaminants increased from 186,000 to 247,400 tons. The change of gas as industrial fuel to mazut for financial reasons has worsened...

, owing to a government crackdown on dissident artists, to perform their production in a two-week sold-out engagement at La MaMa
La Mama
La Mama may refer to:* La Mama - a German disco group* La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club in East Village, Manhattan, New York City, founded 1961* La Mama Theatre in Carlton, Victoria, Australia, founded 1967...

 in New York as part of the 2011 Under the Radar Festival
Under the Radar Festival
The Under the Radar Festival is a theater festival in New York City, founded in 2005 by Mark Russell, former Artistic Director of P.S. 122 for over twenty years and also Guest Artistic Director for the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art's Time-Based Art Festival in 2006...

. In an additional sold-out benefit performance at the Public Theater
Public Theater
The Public Theater is a New York City arts organization founded as The Shakespeare Workshop in 1954 by Joseph Papp, with the intention of showcasing the works of up-and-coming playwrights and performers. It is headquartered at 425 Lafayette Street in the former Astor Library in the East Village...

, co-hosted by playwrights Tony Kushner
Tony Kushner
Anthony Robert "Tony" Kushner is an American playwright and screenwriter. He received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1993 for his play, Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes, and co-authored with Eric Roth the screenplay for the 2005 film, Munich.-Life and career:Kushner was born...

 and Tom Stoppard
Tom Stoppard
Sir Tom Stoppard OM, CBE, FRSL is a British playwright, knighted in 1997. He has written prolifically for TV, radio, film and stage, finding prominence with plays such as Arcadia, The Coast of Utopia, Every Good Boy Deserves Favour, Professional Foul, The Real Thing, and Rosencrantz and...

, the prisoner's letters were read by ten guest performers: Mandy Patinkin
Mandy Patinkin
Mandel Bruce "Mandy" Patinkin is an award-winning American actor of stage and screen and a tenor vocalist. He is a noted interpreter of the musical works of Stephen Sondheim, and is best-known for his work in musical theatre, originating iconic roles such as Georges Seurat in Sunday in the Park...

, Kevin Kline
Kevin Kline
Kevin Delaney Kline is an American theatre, voice, film actor and comedian. He has won an Academy Award and two Tony Awards, and has been nominated for five Golden Globe Awards, two BAFTA Awards and an Emmy Award.- Early life :...

, Olympia Dukakis
Olympia Dukakis
Olympia Dukakis is an American actress. In 1987, she won an Academy Award, BAFTA, and a Golden Globe for her performance in Moonstruck...

, Lily Rabe
Lily Rabe
Lily Rabe is an American actress. She is the daughter of the late actress Jill Clayburgh and playwright David Rabe and attended Northwestern University and the Hotchkiss School....

, Linda Emond
Linda Emond
Linda Emond is an American stage, film and television actress.-Training and career:Emond graduated with an MFA from the Professional Actor Training Program at the University of Washington in Seattle...

, Josh Hamilton
Josh Hamilton (actor)
Josh C. Hamilton is an American actor.Hamilton was born in New York City, New York. His father is actor Dan Hamilton, and his stepmother is actress Stephanie Braxton...

, Stephen Spinella, Lou Reed
Lou Reed
Lewis Allan "Lou" Reed is an American rock musician, songwriter, and photographer. He is best known as guitarist, vocalist, and principal songwriter of The Velvet Underground, and for his successful solo career, which has spanned several decades...

, Laurie Anderson
Laurie Anderson
Laura Phillips "Laurie" Anderson is an American experimental performance artist, composer and musician who plays violin and keyboards and sings in a variety of experimental music and art rock styles. Initially trained as a sculptor, Anderson did her first performance-art piece in the late 1960s...

, and Philip Seymour Hoffman
Philip Seymour Hoffman
Philip Seymour Hoffman is an American actor and director. Hoffman began acting in television in 1991, and the following year started to appear in films...

. In solidarity with the Belarus Free Theatre, collaborations of actors and theatre companies joined in offering additional benefit readings of Being Harold Pinter across the United States.

The Harold Pinter Theatre, London


In September 2011, British Theatre owners, Ambassador Theatre Group
Ambassador Theatre Group
The Ambassador Theatre Group is an independent operator of theatres in the United Kingdom. Formed in 1992, by Howard Panter and Rosemary Squire,OBE, it acquired the Live Nation theatre group in November 2009.-List of theatres:...

 (ATG) announced it was renaming its Comedy Theatre, Panton Street, London to become The Harold Pinter Theatre
Harold Pinter Theatre
The Harold Pinter Theatre formerly the Comedy Theatre until 2011, is a West End theatre, and opened on Panton Street in the City of Westminster, on 15 October 1881, as the Royal Comedy Theatre. It was designed by Thomas Verity and built in just six months in painted stone and brick. By 1884 it was...

. Howard Panter
Howard Panter
Howard Hugh Panter is a multi-award winning British theatre impresario and theatre operator. He is a Founder, Co-Owner, Joint Chief Executive and Creative Director of The Ambassador Theatre Group Ltd and Chairman of Rambert Dance Company.In 2009, together...

, Joint CEO and Creative Director of ATG told the BBC
BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

, "The work of Pinter has become an integral part of the history of the Comedy Theatre. The re-naming of one of our most successful West End theatres is a fitting tribute to a man who made such a mark on British theatre who, over his 50 year career, became recognised as one of the most influential modern British dramatists."

Honours



An Honorary Associate of the National Secular Society
National Secular Society
The National Secular Society is a British campaigning organisation that promotes secularism and the separation of church and state. It holds that no-one should gain advantage or disadvantage because of their religion or lack of religion. It was founded by Charles Bradlaugh in 1866...

, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature
Royal Society of Literature
The Royal Society of Literature is the "senior literary organisation in Britain". It was founded in 1820 by George IV, in order to "reward literary merit and excite literary talent". The Society's first president was Thomas Burgess, who later became the Bishop of Salisbury...

, and an Honorary Fellow of the Modern Language Association of America
Modern Language Association
The Modern Language Association of America is the principal professional association in the United States for scholars of language and literature...

 (1970), Pinter was appointed CBE
Order of the British Empire
The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is an order of chivalry established on 4 June 1917 by George V of the United Kingdom. The Order comprises five classes in civil and military divisions...

 in 1966 and became a Companion of Honour
Order of the Companions of Honour
The Order of the Companions of Honour is an order of the Commonwealth realms. It was founded by King George V in June 1917, as a reward for outstanding achievements in the arts, literature, music, science, politics, industry or religion....

 in 2002, having declined a knighthood in 1996. In 1995, he accepted the David Cohen Prize
David Cohen Prize
The David Cohen Prize for Literature is a biennial British literary award given to a writer, novelist, short-story writer, poet, essayist or dramatist in recognition of an entire body of work, written in the English language. The prize is funded by the John S. Cohen Foundation and administered by...

, in recognition of a lifetime of literary achievement. In 1996, he received a Laurence Olivier Special Award
Laurence Olivier Awards
The Laurence Olivier Award is presented annually by the Society of London Theatre to recognise excellence in professional theatre. Named after the renowned British actor Laurence Olivier, they are given for West End shows and other productions staged in London...

 for lifetime achievement in the theatre. In 1997 he became a BAFTA
British Academy of Film and Television Arts
The British Academy of Film and Television Arts is a charity in the United Kingdom that hosts annual awards shows for excellence in film, television, television craft, video games and forms of animation.-Introduction:...

 Fellow. He received the World Leaders Award for "Creative Genius" as the subject of a week-long "Homage" in Toronto, in October 2001. In 2004, he received the Wilfred Owen
Wilfred Owen
Wilfred Edward Salter Owen MC was an English poet and soldier, one of the leading poets of the First World War...

 Award for Poetry for his "lifelong contribution to literature, 'and specifically for his collection of poetry entitled War, published in 2003'". In March 2006, he was awarded the Europe Theatre Prize in recognition of lifetime achievements pertaining to drama and theatre. In conjunction with that award, the critic Michael Billington coordinated an international conference on Pinter: Passion, Poetry, Politics, including scholars and critics from Europe and the Americas, held in Turin
Turin
Turin is a city and major business and cultural centre in northern Italy, capital of the Piedmont region, located mainly on the left bank of the Po River and surrounded by the Alpine arch. The population of the city proper is 909,193 while the population of the urban area is estimated by Eurostat...

, Italy, from 10 to 14 March 2006.

In October 2008, the Central School of Speech and Drama
Central School of Speech and Drama
The Central School of Speech and Drama was founded in London in 1906 by Elsie Fogerty to offer a new form of training in speech and drama for young actors and other students...

 announced that Pinter had agreed to become its president and awarded him an honorary fellowship
Honorary title (academic)
Honorary titles in academia may be conferred on persons in recognition of contributions by a non-employee or by an employee beyond regular duties...

 at its graduation ceremony. 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 ll health. His presidency of the school was brief; he died just two weeks after the graduation ceremony, on 24 December 2008.

Nobel Prize and Nobel Lecture



On 13 October 2005, the Swedish Academy
Swedish Academy
The Swedish Academy , founded in 1786 by King Gustav III, is one of the Royal Academies of Sweden.-History:The Swedish Academy was founded in 1786 by King Gustav III. Modelled after the Académie française, it has 18 members. The motto of the Academy is "Talent and Taste"...

 announced that it had decided to award the Nobel Prize in Literature
Nobel Prize in Literature
Since 1901, the Nobel Prize in Literature has been awarded annually to an author from any country who has, in the words from the will of Alfred Nobel, produced "in the field of literature the most outstanding work in an ideal direction"...

 for that year to Pinter, who "in his plays uncovers the precipice under everyday prattle and forces entry into oppression's closed rooms". Its selection instigated some public controversy and criticism relating both to characteristics of Pinter's work
Characteristics of Harold Pinter's work
Characteristics of Harold Pinter's work identifies distinctive aspects of the works of the British playwright Harold Pinter and gives an indication of their influence on Anglo-American culture.-Pinteresque:...

 and to his politics. When interviewed that day about his reaction to the announcement, Pinter said: "I was told today that one of the Sky channels said this morning that 'Harold Pinter is dead.' Then they changed their mind and said, 'No, he's won the Nobel prize.' So I've risen from the dead." The Nobel Prize
Nobel Prize
The Nobel Prizes are annual international awards bestowed by Scandinavian committees in recognition of cultural and scientific advances. The will of the Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite, established the prizes in 1895...

 Awards Ceremony and related events throughout Scandinavia took place in December 2005. After the Academy notified Pinter of his award, he had planned to travel to Stockholm
Stockholm
Stockholm is the capital and the largest city of Sweden and constitutes the most populated urban area in Scandinavia. Stockholm is the most populous city in Sweden, with a population of 851,155 in the municipality , 1.37 million in the urban area , and around 2.1 million in the metropolitan area...

 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
Faber and Faber
Faber and Faber Limited, often abbreviated to Faber, is an independent publishing house in the UK, notable in particular for publishing a great deal of poetry and for its former editor T. S. Eliot. Faber has a rich tradition of publishing a wide range of fiction, non fiction, drama, film and music...

, 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
Channel 4
Channel 4 is a British public-service television broadcaster which began working on 2 November 1982. Although largely commercially self-funded, it is ultimately publicly owned; originally a subsidiary of the Independent Broadcasting Authority , the station is now owned and operated by the Channel...

 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.

Pinter quoted Father John Metcalf speaking to Raymond Seitz
Raymond G. H. Seitz
Raymond George Hardenbergh Seitz is a former career diplomat and U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom. He was born in Honolulu, Hawaii on December 8, 1940. He graduated from Yale University in 1963 with a BA in history, following which he spent 2 years teaching in Dallas, Texas. He joined the US...

, then Minister at the US Embassy in London, "My parishioners built a school, a health centre, a cultural centre. We have lived in peace. A few months ago a Contra force attacked the parish. They destroyed everything: the school, the health centre, the cultural centre. They raped nurses and teachers, slaughtered doctors, in the most brutal manner. They behaved like savages. Please demand that the US government withdraw its support from this shocking terrorist activity." Seitz responded, "Let me tell you something. In war, innocent people always suffer." Pinter called the US invasion of Iraq "an arbitrary military action inspired by a series of lies upon lies and gross manipulation of the media and therefore of the public", and condemned the British government for its cooperation.

Pinter's lecture has been widely distributed by print and online media and has provoked much commentary and debate, with some commentators accusing Pinter of "anti-Americanism". In his Nobel Lecture, however, Pinter emphasises that he criticises policies and practices of American administrations (and those who voted for them), not all American citizens, many of whom he recognises as "demonstrably sickened, shamed and angered by their government's actions".

Légion d'honneur


On 18 January 2007, French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin
Dominique de Villepin
Dominique Marie François René Galouzeau de Villepin is a French politician who served as the Prime Minister of France from 31 May 2005 to 17 May 2007....

 presented Pinter with France's highest civil honour, the Légion d'honneur
Légion d'honneur
The Legion of Honour, or in full the National Order of the Legion of Honour is a French order established by Napoleon Bonaparte, First Consul of the Consulat which succeeded to the First Republic, on 19 May 1802...

, at a ceremony at the French Embassy in London. 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".

Scholarly response



Some scholars and critics challenge the validity of Pinter's critiques of what he terms "the modes of thinking of those in power" or dissent from his retrospective viewpoints on his own work. In 1985, Pinter recalled that his early act of conscientious objection resulted from being "terribly disturbed as a young man by the Cold War. And McCarthyism ... A profound hypocrisy. 'They' the monsters, 'we' the good. In 1948, the Russian suppression of Eastern Europe was an obvious and brutal fact, but I felt very strongly then and feel as strongly now that we have an obligation to subject our own actions and attitudes to an equivalent critical and moral scrutiny." Scholars agree that Pinter's dramatic rendering of power relations results from this scrutiny.

Pinter's aversion to any censorship by "the authorities" is epitomised in Petey's line at the end of The Birthday Party. As the broken-down and reconstituted Stanley is being carted off by the figures of authority Goldberg and McCann, Petey calls after him, "Stan, don't let them tell you what to do!" Pinter told Gussow in 1988, "I've lived that line all my damn life. Never more than now." The example of Pinter's stalwart opposition to what he termed "the modes of thinking of those in power"—the "brick wall" of the "minds" perpetuating the "status quo"—infused the "vast political pessimism" that some academic critics may perceive in his artistic work, its "drowning landscape" of harsh contemporary realities, with some residual "hope for restoring the dignity of man."

As Pinter's long-time friend David Jones reminded analytically inclined scholars and dramatic critics, Pinter was one of the "great comic writers": His dramatic conflicts present serious implications for his characters and his audiences, leading to sustained inquiry about "the point" of his work and multiple "critical strategies" for developing interpretations and stylistic analyses of it.

Pinter research collections



Pinter's unpublished manuscripts and letters to and from him are held in the Harold Pinter Archive in the Modern Literary Manuscripts division of the British Library
British Library
The British Library is the national library of the United Kingdom, and is the world's largest library in terms of total number of items. The library is a major research library, holding over 150 million items from every country in the world, in virtually all known languages and in many formats,...

. Smaller collections of Pinter manuscripts are in the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
The Harry Ransom Center is a library and archive at the University of Texas at Austin, specializing in the collection of literary and cultural artifacts from the United States and Europe. The Ransom Center houses 36 million literary manuscripts, 1 million rare books, 5 million photographs, and more...

, the University of Texas at Austin
University of Texas at Austin
The University of Texas at Austin is a state research university located in Austin, Texas, USA, and is the flagship institution of the The University of Texas System. Founded in 1883, its campus is located approximately from the Texas State Capitol in Austin...

; The Lilly Library, Indiana University at Bloomington; the Mandeville Special Collections Library, Geisel Library, at the University of California, San Diego
University of California, San Diego
The University of California, San Diego, commonly known as UCSD or UC San Diego, is a public research university located in the La Jolla neighborhood of San Diego, California, United States...

; the British Film Institute
British Film Institute
The British Film Institute is a charitable organisation established by Royal Charter to:-Cinemas:The BFI runs the BFI Southbank and IMAX theatre, both located on the south bank of the River Thames in London...

, in London; and the Margaret Herrick Library, Pickford Center for Motion Picture Study
Pickford Center for Motion Picture Study
The Pickford Center for Motion Picture Study is one of three Los Angeles-area facilities of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, located at 1313 Vine Street, in central Hollywood....

, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is a professional honorary organization dedicated to the advancement of the arts and sciences of motion pictures...

, Beverly Hills, California
Beverly Hills, California
Beverly Hills is an affluent city located in Los Angeles County, California, United States. With a population of 34,109 at the 2010 census, up from 33,784 as of the 2000 census, it is home to numerous Hollywood celebrities. Beverly Hills and the neighboring city of West Hollywood are together...

.

External links


  • HaroldPinter.orgThe Official Website for the International Playwright Harold Pinter (home and index page)
  • "Harold Pinter" at Granta
    Granta
    Granta is a literary magazine and publisher in the United Kingdom whose mission centers on its "belief in the power and urgency of the story, both in fiction and non-fiction, and the story’s supreme ability to describe, illuminate and make real." In 2007, The Observer stated, "In its blend of...

     (collection of useful links)
  • "Harold Pinter" at guardian.co.uk
    Guardian.co.uk
    guardian.co.uk, formerly known as Guardian Unlimited, is a British website owned by the Guardian Media Group. Georgina Henry is the editor...

    ("The best of the Guardian's coverage, including tributes, reviews and articles from the archive," periodically updated)
  • Harold Pinter at the Internet Broadway Database
    Internet Broadway Database
    The Internet Broadway Database is an online database of Broadway theatre productions and their personnel. It is operated by the Research Department of The Broadway League, a trade association for the North American commercial theatre community....

  • "Harold Pinter" in "Times Topics" at nytimes.com
    The New York Times
    The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...

    (periodically updated collection of news articles, reviews, commentaries, photographs, and Web resources from The New York Times )
  • "Harold Pinter" on The Mark Shenton Show, TheatreVoice, recorded on 21 February 2007 (critics Michael Billington and Alastair Macaulay review Pinter's People
    Pinter's People
    Pinter's People is a compilation of revue sketches or short prose works by Harold Pinter, which was performed for four weeks from 30 January 2007, at the Haymarket Theatre, in London, starring Bill Bailey, Geraldine McNulty, Sally Phillips, and Kevin Eldon...

    and The Dumb Waiter
    The Dumb Waiter
    The Dumb Waiter is a one-act play by 2005 Nobel Laureate Harold Pinter written in 1957; it premiered at the Hampstead Theatre Club, on 21 January 1960...

    ; director and actor Harry Burton talks about his experiences with Pinter)
  • "Reputations: Harold Pinter" on TheatreVoice, recorded on 14 October 2005 (critical assessments by Michael Billington, Dan Rebellato, Charles Spencer
    Charles Spencer (journalist)
    Charles Spencer is a British journalist. He has been the drama critic of The Daily Telegraph since 1991. In 2006, Compton Miller of The Independent wrote in a profile: "This convivial ex-alcoholic is best remembered for his description of Nicole Kidman's nude scene in The Blue Room as 'pure...

     and Ian Smith)
  • Working with Pinter, 2007 film by Harry Burton
  • "Harold Pinter – Interview", British Library
    British Library
    The British Library is the national library of the United Kingdom, and is the world's largest library in terms of total number of items. The library is a major research library, holding over 150 million items from every country in the world, in virtually all known languages and in many formats,...

     Online Gallery: What's On
    , British Library, 8 September 2008 (Pinter discusses his memories of postwar British theatre with Harry Burton)
  • Harold Pinter portrait by artist Joe Hill, joe-hill-art.com (offered at auction, with proceeds being donated to charity, on 27 September 2009)
  • International Harold Pinter Society (Allied Organization of the Modern Language Association
    Modern Language Association
    The Modern Language Association of America is the principal professional association in the United States for scholars of language and literature...

    , co-publisher of The Pinter Review)