Pinter is generally recognised as the most influential post-war English dramatist, writing to disturb, not to please. Beckett became both friend and mentor, a role Pinter later played for Mamet. Always politicised, he went to Turkey with his friend Miller to investigate the torture of writers, read a defiant lecture of Rushdie’s, and joined Chomsky in berating US foreign policy. He wrote screenplays for Kazan, Schrader, Reisz and (especially – their collaboration was described as ‘perfect’) Losey. Osborne, Mamet and Stoppard were frequent correspondents as well as friends. Pinter underestimated the demands of portraiture, Freud’s painting abandoned after two sittings.