Born in 1947 in Chicago, he was educated at Goddard College, in Vermont, and studied drama at New York's Neighborhood Playhouse, before returning to Chicago and establishing the St Nicholas Theatre Company in 1972. He remained their resident writer for four years. The first of his plays to secure international recognition was 'Sexual Perversity in Chicago' (1974) and 'American Buffalo' (1975). The latter was eventually performed by Al Pacino on Broadway and London's West End earning him an 'Award Obie' when it transferred from Chicago to New York. His play 'Glengarry Glen Ross' won the Pulitzer Prize and the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Play. His other plays include 'A Life in the Theatre' (1977). 'Edmond' (1982). 'The Shawl' (1985) and 'Speed the Plow' (1988). The rejection of his screen adaption of 'Sexual Perversity in Chicago' was completely rewritten and released as 'About Last Night in 1986. He soon attracted wide acclaim as a screenwriter when his version of 'The Postman Always Rings Twice' (1981) was made by Bob Rafelson and his original screenplay for 'The Verdict (1982) was nominated for an Oscar. Subsequent screenplays include 'The Untouchables' (1987), 'We're No Angels' (1990), 'Glengarry Glen Ross' (1992). He then wrote and directed 'House of Games' (1987), 'Things Change' (1988) and 'Homicide' (1991). He's also published two collections of essays 'Writing in Restaurants' (1986) and Some Freaks' (1989). In 1987, he conducted a series of classes at Columbia University Film School which were put into print as 'On Directing Film' (1992).
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