Harold Pinter

1930 (London) – 2008 (London)

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.

Harold Pinter knew…