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Alan Bennett Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (2) | Mini Bio (1) | Trade Mark (1) | Trivia (21) | Personal Quotes (16)

Overview (2)

Date of Birth 9 May 1934Leeds, Yorkshire, England, UK
Height 6' (1.83 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Alan Bennett is an award-winning dramatist and screenwriter who is best known as a member of Beyond the Fringe (1964) (a satirical review that was a hit on both the London stage and on Broadway and featured fellow members Peter Cook, Jonathan Miller and Dudley Moore) and for his plays The Madness of King George (1994) and The History Boys (2006). Bennett and Miller also collaborated on the TV sketch show On the Margin (1966).

In 1995, Bennett was nominated for an Academy Award for his adaptation of his own play "The Madness of King George." He has declined a knighthood and an honorary doctorate from Oxford University.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Jon C. Hopwood

Trade Mark (1)

Laconic, morose, dead-pan Leeds accent

Trivia (21)

Playwright/actor.
As an actor, provided the voice for "Mole" in the 1996 animated version of Kenneth Graham's The Wind in the Willows. As a playwright, some years earlier, wrote a marvelous and hugely successful stage adaptation of the same book.
Graduated from Exeter College, Oxford, with BA in Medieval History in 1957.
He allegedly refused the honour of a Knighthood in 1996.
He was awarded the Laurence Olivier Theatre Award in 1992 (1991 season) for Best Actor in a Musical or Entertainment for his performance in "Talking Heads".
He was awarded the Laurence Olivier Theatre Award in 1992 (1991 season) for Best Entertainment for "Talking Heads".
His drama, "The Lady in The Van", performed at the Queen's Theatre was nominated for a Laurence Olivier Theatre Award in 2000 (1999 season) for Best New Play.
In 1963, won a Special Tony Award, along with his "Beyond the Fringe" co-stars Peter Cook, Jonathan Miller, and Dudley Moore, "for their brilliance which has shattered all the old concepts of comedy," in a show that was recreated in a television version of the same title, Beyond the Fringe (1964).
He was awarded the Society's Special Award at the Laurence Olivier Awards in 2005 for his lifetime contribution to Theatre.
He won the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Comedy for "Single Spies" in the 1989/90 season.
He won the Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Play for "The History Boys" in 2005.
Underwent surgery for colon cancer in 1997, and was initially given only two years to live.
His play, "The History Boys" was awarded 6 Tony Awards for the Broadway production in 2006 for the following categories: Best Actor (Richard Griffiths), Best Director (Nicholas Hytner), Best Actress in a Featured Role (Frances de la Tour), Best Scenic Design, Best Lighting Design, and Best Play.
In the Independent of Sunday 2006 Pink List - a list of the most influential gay men and women - he came no. 8, up from no. 17.
He allegedly declined the C.B.E. (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) in 1988 and Knighthood in 1996.
Ranked #23 in the 2008 Telegraph's list "the 100 most powerful people in British culture".
He was offered the role of Mr Goodyear in Fanny Hill (2007) but declined.
Turned down an honorary degree from the University of Oxford because of the institution's financial links with Rupert Murdoch.
His play, "The History Boys", performed at the TimeLine Theatre Company in Chicago, Illinois, was awarded the 2009 Joseph Jefferson Award for Best Production of a Play (Midsize).
On BBC Radio 4's Front Row programme on 30 September 2010 he was asked the same set of questions about his own TV plays that a contestant on BBC One's Mastermind (1972) had answered as his specialist subject. The contestant answered more questions correctly that Alan Bennett did.
His play, "The Madness of George III", at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater in Chicago, Illinois was awarded the 2011 Equity Joseph Jefferson Award For Production of a Play (Large).

Personal Quotes (16)

Definition of a classic: a book everyone is assumed to have read and often think they have.
One obstacle always stopped me directing films - namely, having to say, 'Action!' My instinct would be to say, 'Er, I think if everybody's agreeable we might as well sort of start now - that is if you're ready'.
At 18 I thought that to be 'sensitive' was a writer's first requirement - with discipline and persistence nowhere.
My claim to literary fame is that I used to deliver meat to a woman who became T.S. Eliot's mother-in-law.
When [Harold] Pinter turned 50 I was asked to say something and couldn't think of anything. Later I thought there should be a two-minute silence.
I've no need to stand on my dignity or have to be a well-thought-of figure in the theatre. I can be silly - and there is a great deal of silliness. And I enjoy that. I never think there's enough silliness in life anyway. I think that's what wrong with politicians - there's too little silliness in Downing Street.
I often think of myself as the last person who is a monarchist really, simply because I simply can't imagine if we had anything in its place it would be anything but worse.
I'm aware of the arguments about bad money being put to good uses, but I still think that Murdoch (Rupert Murdoch) is not a name with which Oxford should have associated itself. Murdoch is a bully and should be stood up to publicly and so, however puny the gesture, it needs to be in the open. (On turning down an honorary degree from the University of Oxford in 1999)
The press - I think it was the Mail - got wind of it. And somehow they then outed me as *not* being homosexual. [laughs] It was just absurd. Somehow you weren't allowed not to be what they expected you to be. There's been something of both in my life, but not enough of either. (A newspaper has published a story that Alan Bennett, known to be gay, had also had a relationship with a woman)
My partner was watching Wuthering Heights and at the end he said to me "You're rather like Heathcliff - awkward, northern and a c*nt".
[During a talk to a Women's Institute, recounting an incident that happened to his friend, chat-show host Russell Harty] Russell had been given some beta-blockers which helped to suppress the symptoms of nerves and stage fright. He put one of them in a tissue, meaning to take it just before his programme. But when he came to do so, he found it had dissolved, leaving a patch on the tissue. In the hope that some effective trace of the drug remained, he sucked this patch, and within a few minutes felt calmer and came through with flying colours. A second attack of nerves he dealt with in the same way. It was only on the way home, after the programme, that he felt in another pocket and found the original tissue with the pill intact. What he'd been sucking was some snot.
[at Fountains Abbey, as shots of the abbey are being shown] It's a sad fact but it has to be acknowledged that, whatever the sublimity and splendour of our great abbeys, to the droves of often apathetic visitors, the monastic life only comes alive when contemplating its toilet arrangements. Not monks stumbling down the night stairs at three in the morning to sing the first office of the day, not the round of prayer and praise unceasing sent heavenwards from altar and cell - what fires the popular imagination is stuff from the reredorter plopping twenty feet into the drains. The soaring buttresses of the Chapel of the Nine Altars at Fountains account for nothing alongside what remains of a fifteen-stall latrine.
I was very fond of my parents and got on with them. But that, of course, is a mixed blessing. Philip Larkin says "They fuck you up, your mum and dad". And if your parents *do* fuck you up, and you're going to write, that's fine because then you've got something to write about. But if they *don't* fuck you up, then you've got *nothing* to write about. So then they've fucked you up good and proper.
[Speaking of Christopher Plummer to Kenneth Tynan]: He's his own worst enemy -- but only just.
[talking about having his TV plays made the specialist subject of a contestant on BBC One's Mastermind (1972)] "It makes you feel dead - but lots of things do that".
I don't work on commission, I just do it on spec. If people don't want it then it's too bad.

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