67 Facts About Harold Pinter


Harold Pinter was a British playwright, screenwriter, director and actor.


Harold Pinter's best-known plays include The Birthday Party, The Homecoming and Betrayal, each of which he adapted for the screen.


Harold Pinter directed or acted in radio, stage, television and film productions of his own and others' works.


Harold Pinter was born and raised in Hackney, east London, and educated at Hackney Downs School.


Harold Pinter was a sprinter and a keen cricket player, acting in school plays and writing poetry.


Harold Pinter attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art but did not complete the course.


Harold Pinter was fined for refusing national service as a conscientious objector.


Harold Pinter left Merchant in 1975 and married author Lady Antonia Fraser in 1980.


Harold Pinter appeared as an actor in productions of his own work on radio and film, and directed nearly 50 productions for stage, theatre and screen.


Harold Pinter received over 50 awards, prizes and other honours, including the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2005 and the French Legion d'honneur in 2007.


Harold Pinter died from liver cancer on 24 December 2008.


Harold Pinter was born on 10 October 1930, in Hackney, east London, the only child of British Jewish parents of Eastern European descent: his father, Hyman "Jack" Harold Pinter was a ladies' tailor; his mother, Frances, a housewife.


Harold Pinter believed an aunt's erroneous view that the family was Sephardic and had fled the Spanish Inquisition; thus, for his early poems, Harold Pinter used the pseudonym Pinta and at other times used variations such as da Pinto.


In 1940 and 1941, after the Blitz, Harold Pinter was evacuated from their house in London to Cornwall and Reading.


Harold Pinter discovered his social potential as a student at Hackney Downs School, a London grammar school, between 1944 and 1948.


At the age of 12, Harold Pinter began writing poetry, and in spring 1947, his poetry was first published in the Hackney Downs School Magazine.


Harold Pinter enjoyed running and broke the Hackney Downs School sprinting record.


Harold Pinter was a cricket enthusiast, taking his bat with him when evacuated during the Blitz.


Harold Pinter adores women, enjoys flirting with them, and worships their resilience and strength.


Harold Pinter was initially refused registration as a conscientious objector, leading to his twice being prosecuted, and fined, for refusing to accept a medical examination, before his CO registration was ultimately agreed.


From 1954 until 1959, Harold Pinter acted under the stage name David Baron.


From 1956 until 1980, Harold Pinter was married to Vivien Merchant, an actress whom he met on tour, perhaps best known for her performance in the 1966 film Alfie.


For seven years, from 1962 to 1969, Harold Pinter was engaged in a clandestine affair with BBC-TV presenter and journalist Joan Bakewell, which inspired his 1978 play Betrayal, and throughout that period and beyond he had an affair with an American socialite, whom he nicknamed "Cleopatra".


Harold Pinter reworked it later, while on holiday at the Grand Hotel in Eastbourne, in early January 1978.


Billington writes that Harold Pinter "did everything possible to support" her and regretted that he ultimately became estranged from their son, Daniel, after their separation, Harold Pinter's remarriage, and Merchant's death.


Harold Pinter was content in his second marriage and enjoyed family life with his six adult stepchildren and 17 step-grandchildren.


The first of the poems was written in Paris, where she and Mr Harold Pinter traveled soon after they met.


Harold Pinter 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.


In "A Play and Its Politics", a 1985 interview with Nicholas Hern, Harold Pinter described his earlier plays retrospectively from the perspective of the politics of power and the dynamics of oppression.


Harold Pinter was an officer in International PEN, travelling with American playwright Arthur Miller to Turkey in 1985 on a mission co-sponsored with a Helsinki Watch committee to investigate and protest against the torture of imprisoned writers.


Harold Pinter was an active member of the Cuba Solidarity Campaign, an organisation that "campaigns in the UK against the US blockade of Cuba".


In 2001, Harold Pinter joined the International Committee to Defend Slobodan Milosevic, which appealed for a fair trial and for the freedom of Slobodan Milosevic, signing a related "Artists' Appeal for Milosevic" in 2004.


Harold Pinter strongly opposed the 1991 Gulf War, the 1999 NATO bombing campaign in FR Yugoslavia during the Kosovo War, the United States' 2001 War in Afghanistan, and the 2003 Invasion of Iraq.


Harold Pinter earned a reputation for being pugnacious, enigmatic, taciturn, terse, prickly, explosive and forbidding.


Later Harold Pinter continued to campaign against the Iraq War and on behalf of other political causes that he supported.


Harold Pinter's acting career spanned over 50 years and, although he often played villains, included a wide range of roles on stage and in radio, film, and television.


Harold Pinter began to direct more frequently during the 1970s, becoming an associate director of the National Theatre in 1973.


Harold Pinter was the author of 29 plays and 15 dramatic sketches and the co-author of two works for stage and radio.


Harold Pinter was considered to have been one of the most influential modern British dramatists, Along with the 1967 Tony Award for Best Play 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.


Harold Pinter's style has entered the English language as an adjective, "Pinteresque", although Pinter himself disliked the term and found it meaningless.


Harold Pinter's first play, The Room, written and first performed in 1957, was a student production at the University of Bristol, directed by his good friend, actor Henry Woolf, who originated the role of Mr Kidd.


Harold Pinter acknowledges the influence of Samuel Beckett, particularly on his early work; they became friends, sending each other drafts of their works in progress for comments.


Harold Pinter wrote The Hothouse in 1958, which he shelved for over 20 years.


Some of Harold Pinter's later plays, including Party Time, Moonlight, Ashes to Ashes, and Celebration, draw upon some features of his "memory" dramaturgy in their focus on the past in the present, but they have personal and political resonances and other tonal differences from these earlier memory plays.


Harold Pinter played the major role of Roote in a 1995 revival at the Minerva Theatre, Chichester.


Harold Pinter's brief dramatic sketch Precisely is a duologue between two bureaucrats exploring the absurd power politics of mutual nuclear annihilation and deterrence.


In 1985 Harold Pinter stated that whereas his earlier plays presented metaphors for power and powerlessness, the later ones present literal realities of power and its abuse.


The dramatic sketch The New World Order provides what Robert Cushman, writing in The Independent described as "10 nerve-wracking minutes" of two men threatening to torture a third man who is blindfolded, gagged and bound in a chair; Harold Pinter directed the British premiere at the Royal Court Theatre Upstairs, where it opened on 9 July 1991, and the production then transferred to Washington, DC, where it was revived in 1994.


Harold Pinter adapted it as a screenplay for television in 1992, directing that production, first broadcast in the UK on Channel 4 on 17 November 1992.


Harold Pinter left it behind him and he didn't look back.


Harold Pinter composed 27 screenplays and film scripts for cinema and television, many of which were filmed, or adapted as stage plays.


Harold Pinter's commissioned screenplays of others' works for the films The Handmaid's Tale, The Remains of the Day, and Lolita, 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.


Harold Pinter's last filmed screenplay was an adaptation of the 1970 Tony Award-winning play Sleuth, by Anthony Shaffer, which was commissioned by Jude Law, one of the film's producers.


From 16 to 31 July 2001, a Harold Pinter Festival celebrating his work, curated by Michael Colgan, artistic director of the Gate Theatre, Dublin, was held as part of the annual Lincoln Center Festival at Lincoln Center in New York City.


Harold 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.


In December 2001, Harold Pinter was diagnosed with oesophageal cancer, for which, in 2002, he underwent an operation and chemotherapy.


In June 2006, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts hosted a celebration of Harold Pinter's films curated by his friend, the playwright David Hare.


On 18 March 2007, BBC Radio 3 broadcast a new radio production of The Homecoming, directed by Thea Sharrock and produced by Martin J Smith, with Pinter performing the role of Max.


The final revival during Harold Pinter's lifetime was a production of No Man's Land, directed by Rupert Goold, opening at the Gate Theatre, Dublin, in August 2008, and then transferring to the Duke of York's Theatre, London, where it played until 3 January 2009.


Harold Pinter's funeral was a private, half-hour secular ceremony conducted at the graveside at Kensal Green Cemetery, 31 December 2008.


The eight readings selected in advance by Harold Pinter included passages from seven of his own writings and from the story "The Dead", by James Joyce, which was read by actress Penelope Wilton.


An Honorary Associate of the National Secular Society, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and an Honorary Fellow of the Modern Language Association of America, Harold Pinter was appointed CBE in 1966 and became a Companion of Honour in 2002, having declined a knighthood in 1996.


Harold Pinter received the World Leaders Award for "Creative Genius" as the subject of a week-long "Homage" in Toronto, in October 2001.


In October 2008, the Central School of Speech and Drama announced that Harold Pinter had agreed to become its president and awarded him an honorary fellowship at its graduation ceremony.


Poetry teaches us how to live and you, Harold Pinter, teach us how to live.


Lawrence Pollard observed that "the award for the great playwright underlines how much Mr Harold Pinter is admired in countries like France as a model of the uncompromising radical intellectual".


Smaller collections of Harold Pinter manuscripts are in the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, the University of Texas at Austin; The Lilly Library, Indiana University at Bloomington; the Mandeville Special Collections Library, Geisel Library, at the University of California, San Diego; the British Film Institute, in London; and the Margaret Herrick Library, Pickford Center for Motion Picture Study, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Beverly Hills, California.