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David Mamet Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (3) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (2) | Trade Mark (5) | Trivia (23) | Personal Quotes (23)

Overview (3)

Date of Birth 30 November 1947Chicago, Illinois, USA
Birth NameDavid Alan Mamet
Height 5' 6" (1.68 m)

Mini Bio (1)

David Mamet was born on November 30, 1947 in Chicago, Illinois, USA as David Alan Mamet. He is a writer and producer, known for Glengarry Glen Ross (1992), The Untouchables (1987) and Hannibal (2001). He has been married to Rebecca Pidgeon since September 22, 1991. They have two children. He was previously married to Lindsay Crouse.

Spouse (2)

Rebecca Pidgeon (22 September 1991 - present) (2 children)
Lindsay Crouse (21 December 1977 - 1990) (divorced) (2 children)

Trade Mark (5)

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

Trivia (23)

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

Personal Quotes (23)

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

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

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

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

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