Skip to main content
Select Source:

Mamet, David 1947–

MAMET, David 1947–

(Richard Weisz)

PERSONAL

Surname is pronounced "Mam–it"; full name, David Alan Mamet; born November 30, 1947, in Chicago (some sources cite Flossmoor), IL; son of Bernard Morris (an attorney) and Lenore June (a teacher; maiden name, Silver) Mamet; brother of Lynn Mamet (a writer and producer) and Tony Mamet (an actor); married Lindsay Crouse (an actress), December 21, 1977 (divorced); married Rebecca Pidgeon (an actress, singer, and songwriter), September 22, 1991; children: (first marriage) Willa, Zosia; (second marriage) Clara, Noah. Education: Studied acting at Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre, New York City, 1968–69; Goddard College, B.A., 1969. Religion: Judaism.

Addresses: Agent—International Creative Management, 8942 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, CA 90211.

Career: Writer, producer, director, and actor. Actor in New England summer theatre productions, 1969; stage manager in New York City, 1969–70; St. Nicholas Company, Plainfield, VT, founding member and artistic director, 1972; St. Nicholas Theatre Company, Chicago, IL, founding member, 1973, artistic director, 1973–76, member of board of directors, beginning 1973; Goodman Theatre, Chicago, IL, associate artistic director, 1978–79, playwright in residence, 1978–84; New Theatre Company, Chicago, IL, associate director, beginning 1985; Hull House Theatre, Chicago, IL, worked as stagehand. Marlboro College, special lecturer in drama, 1970; Goddard College, artist in residence and instructor, 1971–73; Illinois Arts Council, faculty member, 1974; University of Chicago, visiting lecturer, 1975–76 and 1979; Yale University, teaching fellow at School of Drama, 1976–77; New York University, visiting lecturer at the Tisch School of the Arts, 1981, cofounder of Atlantic Theatre Company, 1988, and chair of Atlantic Theatre Company board of directors; Columbia University, associate professor of film, beginning 1988; Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS, founding member of Dinglefest Theatre. Appeared in a local television religious program in the Chicago, IL area. Worked at Second City Theatre, Chicago, IL, as an assistant manager of a real estate office, Chicago, IL, and as a cartoonist, factory worker, real estate agent, window washer, office cleaner, taxi driver, truck driver, short order cook, and salesperson. Wartime service: Served in the U.S. Merchant Marines.

Member: International PEN, Dramatists Guild, Writers Guild of America, Actors' Equity Association, Randolph A. Hollister Association, United Steelworkers of America.

Awards, Honors: Joseph Jefferson awards, 1975, for Sexual Perversity in Chicago, and 1976, for American Buffalo; Obie Award, Village Voice, best new playwright, 1976, for Sexual Perversity in Chicago and American Buffalo; children's theatre grant, New York State Council on the Arts, 1976; Rockefeller Foundation grant, 1976; Columbia Broadcasting System creative writing fellowship for School of Drama, Yale University, 1976–77; New York Drama Critics Circle Award, best American play, 1977, for American Buffalo; Outer Critics Circle Award, 1978, for contributions to the American theatre; Obie awards (with others), best American play, and outstanding playwriting, both 1983, for Edmond; Academy Award nomination, best screenplay adaptation, Golden Globe Award nomination, best screenplay for a motion picture, and Screen Award nomination, Writers Guild of America, best drama adapted from another medium, all 1983, for The Verdict; Laurence Olivier Award, Society of West End Theatre, best play, 1983, Pulitzer Prize for drama, Elizabeth Hull–Kate Warriner Award, Dramatists Guild, New York Drama Critics Circle Award, best American play, Joseph Dintenfass Award, and Antoinette Perry Award nomination, best play, all 1984, all for the stage play Glengarry Glen Ross; Antoinette Perry Award nomination, best reproduction of a play, 1984, for American Buffalo; American–Institute Award in Literature, American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, 1986; Writers Guild of America Award nomination, best screenplay based on material from another medium, 1988, for The Untouchables; Antoinette Perry Award nomination, best play, 1988, for Speed–the–Plow; Golden Osella, best original screenplay, and Pasinetti Award, best film, both Venice International Film Festival, and Golden Globe Award nomination, best screenplay for a motion picture, all 1988, and London Critics Circle Film Award, screenwriter of the year, 1989, all for House of Games; Edgar Allan Poe Award nomination (with Shel Silverstein), Mystery Writers of America, best motion picture, 1989, for Things Change; nomination for Golden Palm, Cannes International Film Festival, 1991, and London Critics Circle Film Award, screenwriter of the year, 1992, both for Homicide; Screen Award nomination, Writers Guild of America, best screenplay based on material previously produced or published, 1993, for the film Glengarry Glen Ross; honorable mention for Wise Owl Award (with others), Retirement Research Foundation, best television and theatrical film fiction, 1994, for A Life in the Theatre; Obie Award, 1995, for The Cryptogram; honorary D.Litt., Dartmouth College, 1996; Academy Award nomination, best screenplay adaptation, Golden Globe Award nomination, best screenplay for a motion picture, and Screen Award nomination, Writers Guild of America, best screenplay based on material previously produced or published, all 1998, and Film Award nomination, British Academy of Film and Television Arts, best screenplay—adapted, 1999, all with Hilary Henkin, all for Wag the Dog; Independent Spirit Award nomination, Independent Features Project/West, best screenplay, and Edgar Allan Poe Award nomination, best motion picture, both 1999, for The Spanish Prisoner; Atlantic Theatre Company staged an entire season of Mamet's plays for its 1999–2000 season; Los Charales Award, Ajijic International Film Festival, best studio feature film, and Christopher Award, feature film category, 2000, both for The Winslow Boy; Jury Award, Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival, best film, 2000, Florida Film Critics Circle Award, Golden Satellite Award nomination, International Press Academy, Chicago Film Critics Association Award nomination, and Online Film Critics Society Award nomination, all best screenplay, 2001, all for State and Main; Laurence Olivier award nomination, best new comedy, 2002, for Boston Marriage. The David Mamet Society has been founded in his name as well as its newsletter, DM: The David Mamet Review.

CREDITS

Stage Director:

Beyond the Horizon, St. Nicholas Theatre, Chicago, IL, 1974.

The Woods (two–act), St. Nicholas Theatre, 1977.

Reunion, Circle Repertory Theatre, New York City, 1979.

Twelfth Night, Circle Repertory Theatre, 1980.

A Sermon (one–act), Ensemble Studio Theatre, New York City, 1981.

The Woods (two–act), Second Stage Theatre, New York City, 1982.

Litko (double–bill with Shoehorn), Hartley House Theatre, New York City, 1984.

Oleanna, American Repertory Theatre, Hasty Pudding Theatre, Cambridge, MA, 1991–1992, then Orpheum Theatre, New York City, 1992–1994, other productions.

The Cryptogram, London, 1994, later C. Walsh Theatre, Boston, MA, 1995, then Westside Arts Theatre Upstairs, New York City, 1995.

Ricky Jay and His 52 Assistants (solo show), Second Stage Theatre, McGinn–Cazale Theatre, New York City, 1994, c. 1998.

Dangerous Corner, Atlantic Theatre Company, New York City, 1995.

Ricky Jay: On the Stem (solo show), Second Stage Theatre, 2002.

Dr. Faustus, Magic Theatre, San Francisco, CA, 2004.

House manager and lighting technician for a production of The Fantasticks, off–Broadway.

Stage Appearances:

Ricky Jay and David Mamet: Two Hussies, Town Hall Theatre, New York City, 2001.

Film Director:

House of Games, Orion, 1987.

Things Change, Columbia, 1988.

Homicide, Columbia, 1991.

Oleanna, Samuel Goldwyn, 1994.

The Spanish Prisoner, Sony Pictures Classics, 1997.

The Winslow Boy, Sony Pictures Classics, 1999.

State and Main (also known as Sequences et consequences), Fine Line, 2000.

Heist (also known as Le vol), Warner Bros., 2001.

Spartan, Warner Bros., 2004.

Whistle, 2005.

Film Work; Other:

Associate producer, Hoffa, Twentieth Century–Fox, 1992.

Film Appearances:

Herb, Black Widow, Twentieth Century–Fox, 1987.

Television Work; Movies:

Executive producer, Lansky, HBO, 1999.

Television Work; Specials:

Executive producer, "A Life in the Theatre," Great Performances, PBS, 1979.

Executive producer (with Michael Hausman), "Lip Service," HBO Showcase, HBO, 1988.

Executive producer, A Life in the Theatre, TNT, 1993.

Director, Ricky Jay and His 52 Assistants, HBO, 1996.

Director, Catastrophe, PBS, 2000.

Television Director; Episodic:

"Strays," The Shield, FX Network, 2004.

Television Appearances; Miniseries:

Himself, Changing Stages, PBS, 2001.

Television Appearances; Movies:

Brown–haired man, "The Water Engine," TNT Screenworks, TNT, 1992.

Television Appearances; Specials:

Himself, "Sanford Meisner—The Theatre's Best Kept Secret," American Masters, PBS, 1990.

Himself, Chicago on Stage, PBS, 1995.

Television Appearances; Episodic:

Guest, Late Night with David Letterman, NBC, 1984.

Himself, The South Bank Show, London Weekend Television, 1985.

Voice, "New Phone System," Dr. Katz: Professional Therapist (animated), Comedy Central, 1997.

The Directors, 2004.

WRITINGS

Stage Plays:

Lakeboat (one–act), Marlboro Theatre Workshop, Marlboro, VT, 1970, revised version produced in Milwaukee, WI, 1980, then Goodman Theatre, Chicago, IL, 1982, later Long Wharf Theatre, New Haven, CT, 1982, published by Grove Press, 1981, and in collections.

Mackinac (for children), St. Nicholas Company, Goddard College Theatre, Plainfield, VT, 1972.

Marranos, Chicago, IL, c. 1972.

Duck Variations (one–act), St. Nicholas Company, Goddard College Theatre, 1972, then Theatre at St. Clement's Church, New York City, 1975, then Cherry Lane Theatre, New York City, 1976–1977, later Regent Theatre, London, 1977, published in collections.

The Poet and the Rent: A Play for Kids from Seven to 8:15, Chicago, IL, 1974, published in collections.

Sexual Perversity in Chicago (one–act), Organic Theatre Company, Chicago, IL, 1974, then Theatre at St. Clement's Church, 1975, then Cherry Lane Theatre, 1976, later Regent Theatre, 1977, published in collections.

Squirrels (one–act), St. Nicholas Theatre, Chicago, IL, 1974, then King's Head Theatre, London, 1993, published by Samuel French, 1982, and in collections.

American Buffalo (two–act), Goodman Theatre, Stage Two, Chicago, IL, 1975, then Theatre at St. Clement's Church, 1976, revised version produced at Ethel Barrymore Theatre and Belasco Theatre, New York City, 1977, then Cottesloe Theatre, London, 1978, later Circle in the Square Downtown, New York City, 1981–1982, and Booth Theatre, New York City, 1983, published by Grove Press, 1977, and in collections.

Reunion (one–act), St. Nicholas Theatre, 1976, produced in a double–bill with Dark Pony, Yale Repertory Theatre, New Haven, CT, 1977, produced with Dark Pony and The Sanctity of Marriage as Reunion, Circle Repertory Theatre, New York City, 1979, published in collections.

All Men Are Whores: An Inquiry, Yale Cabaret, New Haven, 1977, published in collections.

Mr. Happiness (monologue), produced in a double–bill with The Water Engine: An American Fable (two–act), New York Shakespeare Festival, Public Theatre, Martinson Hall, 1977–1978, and Plymouth Theatre, New York City, 1978, published with The Water Engine: An American Fable, Grove Press, 1978, and in collections.

The Revenge of the Space Pandas; or, Binky Rudich and the Two–Speed Clock (for children), St. Nicholas Theatre, then Flushing Town Hall, Flushing, Queens, New York City, both 1977, published by Dramatic Publishing Company, 1978, and in collections.

The Water Engine: An American Fable (two–act; based on his radio play), St. Nicholas Theatre, 1977, produced in a double–bill with Mr. Happiness, New York Shakespeare Festival, Public Theatre, Martinson Hall, New York City, 1977–1978, and Plymouth Theatre, 1978, published with Mr. Happiness, Grove Press, 1978, and in collections.

A Life in the Theatre (one–act), Goodman Theatre, Stage Two, 1977, then Theatre De Lys (now Lucille Lortel Theatre), New York City, 1977–1978, later Open Space Theatre, London, 1979, published by Grove Press, 1978.

Dark Pony (one–act), produced in a double–bill with Reunion, Yale Repertory Theatre, 1977, produced with Reunion and The Sanctity of Marriage as Reunion, Circle Repertory Theatre, 1979, published in collections.

The Woods (two–act), St. Nicholas Theatre, 1977, then New York Shakespeare Festival, Public Theatre, Estelle R. Newman Theatre, New York City, 1979, later Second Stage Theatre, New York City, 1982, then London, 1984, published by Grove Press, 1979, and in collections.

Libretto, Lone Canoe; or, The Explorer (musical), music and lyrics by Alaric Jans, Goodman Theatre, 1979.

The Sanctity of Marriage (one–act), produced with Reunion and Dark Pony as Reunion, Circle Repertory Theatre, 1979, published in collections.

Shoeshine (one–act), Ensemble Studio Theatre, New York City, 1979, published in collections.

Prairie du Chien (one–act), first produced in 1979, produced in a double–bill with The Shawl, Mitzi E. Newhouse Theatre, New York City, 1985–1986, produced in London, 1986, published with The Shawl, Grove Press, 1985, and in collections.

The Blue Hour: City Sketches, produced in 1981, published as The Blue City Sketches, Dramatists Play Service, and in collections.

Donny March, produced in 1981.

In Old Vermont, produced in 1981, published in collections.

Litko, produced in 1981, produced in a double–bill with Shoehorn, Hartley House Theatre, New York City, 1984, published in collections.

A Sermon (one–act), Ensemble Studio Theatre, 1981, then London, 1987, published in collections.

Edmond, Goodman Theatre, 1982, then Provincetown Playhouse, New York City, 1982, later London, 1985, then Atlantic Theatre Company, New York City, 1996, published by Grove Press, 1983, and in collections.

The Disappearance of the Jews (one–act), Goodman Theatre, 1983, published in collections.

The Dog, produced in 1983, published in collections.

Film Crew, produced in 1983, published in collections.

4 A.M., produced in 1983, published in collections.

Prologue: American Twilight, produced in 1983, published by Dramatists Play Service.

(Adaptor) Pierre Laville, Red River, Goodman Theatre, 1983.

"Two Conversations,""Two Scenes," and "Yes, but So What," produced in Five Unrelated Pieces, Ensemble Studio Theatre, 1983, published in collections.

Glengarry Glen Ross (two–act), National Theatre, London, 1983, then Goodman Theatre, 1984, later John Golden Theatre, New York City, 1984–1985, published by Grove Press, 1984, and in collections.

"Conversations with the Spirit World,""Deer Dogs," "Dowsing," and "Pint's a Pound the World Around," in Vermont Sketches, produced in New York City, 1984, published in collections.

Mamet, produced in 1984.

The Frog Prince (for children), produced in Louisville, KY, 1984, then in Marathon '85, Ensemble Studio Theatre, 1985, published in collections.

Columbus Avenue, produced in 1985, published in collections.

Food, produced in 1985, published in collections.

In the Mall, produced in 1985, published in collections.

Maple Sugaring, produced in 1985, published in collections.

Morris and Joe, produced in 1985, published in collections.

The Power Outage, produced in 1985, published in collections.

The Spanish Prisoner, New Theatre Company, Goodman Theatre, 1985.

"Vint" (one–act; based on a story by Anton Chekhov) in Orchards, produced in Urbana, IL, 1985, then Acting Company, New York City, 1985, and Lucille Lortel Theatre, 1986, published in Orchards, Grove Press, 1986.

The Shawl (one–act), New Theatre Company, Goodman Theatre, 1985, then Mitzi E. Newhouse Theatre, 1985, produced in a double–bill with Prairie du Chien, Mitzi E. Newhouse Theatre, New York City, 1985–1986, produced in London, 1986, published with Prairie du Chien, Grove Press, 1985, and in collections.

(Adaptor) Anton Chekhov, The Cherry Orchard, New Theatre Company, Goodman Theatre, 1985, published by Grove Press, 1987.

"Where Were You When It Went Down?" in Urban Blight (musical revue), music by David Shire, lyrics by Richard Maltby, Jr., Manhattan Theatre Club Stage I, City Center Theatre, New York City, 1988.

Speed–the–Plow, Royale Theatre, New York City, 1988, later produced at the Richmond Theatre, Surrey, England, 2000, published by Grove Press, 1988, and in collections.

"Bobby Gould in Hell" in Oh, Hell, Mitzi E. Newhouse Theatre, 1989, then London, 1991.

Goldberg Street, produced in 1990, published as Goldberg Street: Short Plays and Monologues, Grove Press, 1989.

(Adaptor and editor) Anton Chekhov, Uncle Vanya, produced at Goodman Theatre, 1990, published by Grove Press, 1989.

Bradford, produced in 1990, published in collections.

The Museum of Science and Industry Story, produced in 1990, published in collections.

A Waitress in Yellowstone, produced in 1990, published in collections.

A Wasted Weekend, produced in 1990, published in collections.

We Will Take You There, produced in 1990, published in collections.

(With Amlin Gray and Romulus Linney) An Evening of Mamet, Gray, and Linney, Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, Stiemke Theatre, Milwaukee, WI, 1991–1992.

(Adaptor) Anton Chekhov, The Three Sisters, Atlantic Theatre, 1991, published as The Three Sisters: A Play, Samuel French, 1992.

Oleanna, American Repertory Theatre, Hasty Pudding Theatre, Cambridge, MA, 1991–1992, then Orpheum Theatre, New York City, 1992–1994, later London, 1993, also other productions, published by Pantheon, 1992, and Dramatists Play Service, 1993.

The Old Neighborhood (includes The Disappearance of the Jews, Jolly, and Deeny), produced in 1991, later by American Repertory Theatre, Booth Theatre, 1997–1998, later Royal Court Theatre Downstairs, London, published as The Old Neighborhood: Three Plays, Vintage, 1998.

"A Speech for Michael Dukakis" in Vox Pop, Atlantic Theatre Company, 1992.

The Cryptogram, produced in London, 1994, later C. Walsh Theatre, Boston, MA, 1995, then Westside Arts Theatre Upstairs, New York City, 1995, published by Dramatists Play Service, 1995, and by Vintage, 1995.

"An Interview" (one–act) in Death–Defying Acts, Rich Forum, Stamford, CT, then Variety Arts Theatre, New York City, both 1995.

Boston Marriage, American Repertory Theatre, Hasty Pudding Theatre, 1999, then Donmar Warehouse Theatre and New Ambassador's Theatre, both London, 2001.

Dr. Faustus, Magic Theatre, San Francisco, CA, 2004.

Additional plays and shorter dramatic pieces include Almost Done, Businessmen, Cold, Doctor, Dodge, Epilogue, Fish, The Hat, The Joke Code, L.A. Sketches, No One Will Be Immune, A Perfect Mermaid, A Scene: Australia, Steve McQueen, Sunday Afternoon, and Two Enthusiasts, all published by Dramatists Play Service; other plays include The Luftenmensch. Mamet's plays have also been widely produced in regional and repertory theatres throughout the United States and abroad.

Play Collections:

American Buffalo, Sexual Perversity in Chicago, Duck Variations: Three Plays, Eyre Methuen, 1978.

Sexual Perversity in Chicago and Duck Variations: Two Plays, Grove Press, 1978.

The Water Engine: An American Fable and Mr. Happiness: Two Plays, Grove Press, 1978.

Reunion and Dark Pony: Two Plays, Grove Press, 1979.

Short Plays and Monologues (includes All Men Are Whores: An Inquiry, The Blue Hour: City Sketches, In Old Vermont, Litko, Prairie du Chien, A Sermon, and Shoeshine), Dramatists Play Service, 1981.

Reunion, Dark Pony, and The Sanctity of Marriage: Three Plays, Samuel French, 1982.

A Collection of Dramatic Sketches and Monologues (includes Columbus Avenue, the radio play Cross Patch, The Dog, Film Crew, Five Unrelated Pieces, Food, 4 A.M., the radio play Goldberg Street, In the Mall, Maple Sugaring, Morris and Joe, The Power Outage, Steve McQueen, Two Conversations, Two Scenes, Vermont Sketches, and Yes, but So What), Samuel French, 1985.

Three Children's Plays (contains The Frog Prince, The Poet and the Rent: A Play for Kids from Seven to 8:15, and The Revenge of the Space Pandas; or, Binky Rudich and the Two–Speed Clock), Grove Press, 1986.

The Woods, Lakeboat, Edmond, Grove Press, 1987.

Five Television Plays: A Waitress in Yellowstone; Bradford; The Museum of Science and Industry Story; A Wasted Weekend; and We Will Take You There, Grove Press, 1990.

A Life with No Joy in It, and Other Plays and Pieces, Dramatists Play Service, 1994.

No One Will Be Immune and Other Plays and Pieces, Dramatists Play Service, 1994.

Plays: One (includes American Buffalo, Chronology, Duck Variations, Mr. Happiness, Sexual Perversity in Chicago, Squirrels, and The Water Engine), Methuen, 1994.

Plays: Two (includes Dark Pony, Edmond, A Life in the Theatre, Lakeboat, and Reunion), Methuen, 1996.

Plays: Three (includes Glengarry Glen Ross, Prairie du Chien, The Shawl, and Speed–the–Plow), Methuen, 1996.

The Old Neighborhood: Three Plays (contains Deeny, The Disappearance of the Jews, and Jolly), Vintage, 1998.

Contributor of plays to books, including The Ensemble Studio Theatre Marathon '84, Broadway Play, 1985.

Screenplays:

The Postman Always Rings Twice (based on the novel by James M. Cain), Paramount, 1981.

The Verdict (based on the novel by Barry Reed), Columbia, 1982.

(Uncredited) About Last Night (based on his play Sexual Perversity in Chicago), TriStar, 1986.

(And story) House of Games, Orion, 1987, published by Grove Press, 1987.

The Untouchables (based on the television series of the same name), Paramount, 1987.

(With Shel Silverstein) Things Change, Columbia, 1988, published by Grove Press, 1988.

We're No Angels (based on an earlier film of the same name), Paramount, 1989, published by Grove Press, 1990.

Homicide, Columbia, 1991, published by Grove Press, 1992.

Glengarry Glen Ross (based on his stage play), New Line Cinema, 1992.

Hoffa, Twentieth Century–Fox, 1992.

(Uncredited) Additional dialogue, Rising Sun, Twentieth Century–Fox, 1993.

Oleanna (based on his stage play), Samuel Goldwyn, 1994.

Vanya on 42nd Street (based on the play Uncle Vanya by Anton Chekhov), Sony Pictures Classics, 1994.

American Buffalo (based on his stage play), Samuel Goldwyn, 1996.

(As Richard Weisz) The Edge, Twentieth Century–Fox, 1997.

(With Hilary Henkin) Wag the Dog (based on the novel American Hero by Larry Beinhart), New Line Cinema, 1997.

(With others) Author of rewrite, Lolita (based on the novel by Vladimir Nabokov), Samuel Goldwyn, 1997.

The Spanish Prisoner (based on his stage play), Sony Pictures Classics, 1997, published with The Winslow Boy, Vintage Books, 1999.

(As Weisz) Ronin, Metro–Goldwyn–Mayer/United Artists, 1998.

The Winslow Boy (based on the play by Terence Rattigan), Sony Pictures Classics, 1999, published with The Spanish Prisoner, Vintage Books, 1999.

State and Main (also known as Sequences et consequences), Fine Line, 2000.

Hannibal (based on the novel by Thomas Harris), MCA/Universal, 2001.

Heist (also known as Le vol), Warner Bros., 2001.

Lakeboat (based on his stage play), Cowboy Booking International/Oregon Trail Films, 2001.

Spartan, Warner Bros., 2004.

Whistle (based on the novel by James Jones), 2005.

Teleplays; Movies:

"The Water Engine" (based on his stage play), TNT Screenworks, TNT, 1992.

Lansky, HBO, 1999.

Teleplays; Specials:

"A Life in the Theatre" (based on his stage play), Great Performances, PBS, 1979.

(Adaptor) Anton Chekhov, "Uncle Vanya," Great Performances, PBS, 1991.

A Life in the Theatre (based on his stage play), TNT, 1993.

(With others) The 74th Annual Academy Awards, ABC, 2002.

Teleplays; Episodic:

"A Wasted Weekend," Hill Street Blues, NBC, 1987.

"Texan," Directed By, Showtime, 1994.

Also wrote episodes of L.A. Law, NBC.

Radio Scripts; Specials:

Prairie du Chien, National Public Radio, 1978.

"The Water Engine: An American Fable" (two–act play), Earplay, National Public Radio, 1978.

Cross Patch, WNUR–Radio, 1985, later produced on stage, New York City, 1990, published in A Collection of Dramatic Sketches and Monologues, Samuel French, 1985.

Goldberg Street, WNUR–Radio, 1985, later produced on stage, New York City, 1990, published in A Collection of Dramatic Sketches and Monologues, Samuel French, 1985.

Dintenfass, 1989, published by Dramatists Play Service.

Novels:

The Village, Little, Brown, 1994.

The Old Religion: A Novel, Free Press, 1997.

Wilson: A Consideration of the Sources, Faber & Faber, 2000.

Essays:

Writing in Restaurants (essays, speeches, and articles), Viking, 1986.

Some Freaks, Viking, 1989.

On Directing Film, Viking Penguin, 1992.

A Whore's Profession: Notes and Essays (includes "The Cabin: Reminiscences and Diversions,""On Directing Film,""Some Freaks," and "Writing in Restaurants"), Faber & Faber, 1994.

Make–Believe Town: Essays and Remembrances, Little, Brown, 1996.

True and False: Heresy and Common Sense for the Actor, Pantheon, 1997.

Jafsie and John Henry: Essays, Free Press, 1999.

Writings for Children:

Warm and Cold, illustrated by Donald Sultan, Solo Press, 1984.

(With Lindsay Crouse) The Owl, Kipling Press, 1987.

Passover, illustrated by Michael McCurdy, St. Martin's Press, 1995.

The Duck and the Goat, illustrated by Maya Kennedy, St. Martin's Press, 1996.

Bar Mitzvah, drawings by Donald Sultan, Little, Brown, 1999.

Henrietta, illustrated by Elizabeth Dahlie, Houghton Mifflin, 1999.

Poetry:

The Hero Pony: Poems, Grove Weidenfeld, 1991.

The Chinaman: Poems, Overlook Press, 1999.

Songs:

Contributor to Rebecca Pidgeon albums: wrote lyrics for the songs "The Penguin,""Primitive Man,""The Raven," and "Underground"; wrote spoken verse for the song "Auld Lang Syne"; with Rebecca Pidgeon, wrote lyrics for the songs "Heart and Mind,""The Height of Land,""The New York Girls' Club,""Seven Hours," and "You Got Me"; with Shel Silverstein, wrote lyrics and music for the song "The Word around Town"; with Jonathan Katz, wrote the song "This Heart Is Closed for Alterations."

Nonfiction:

(With Donald Sultan and Ricky Jay) Donald Sultan: Playing Cards, edited by Edit deAk, Kyoto Shoin, 1989.

The Cabin: Reminiscences and Diversions, Random House, 1992.

Three Uses of the Knife: On the Nature and Purpose of Drama, Columbia University Press, 1998.

On Acting, Viking, 1999.

David Mamet in Conversation, edited by Leslie Kane, University of Michigan Press, 2001.

South of the Northeast Kingdom, National Geographic Society, 2002.

(With Lawrence Kushner) Five Cities of Refuge: Weekly Reflections on Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, Schocken, 2003.

Author of the unpublished work The Jade Mountain. Creator of "Dammit, Mamet!" (cartoon), Boston, beginning 2000. Contributor to books, including Donald Sultan: In the Still–Life Tradition, University of Washington Press, 1999. Contributor of articles, poems, and reviews to periodicals, including Friday Review, G2, Guardian, Harper's, New Yorker, Playboy, and Premiere. Contributing editor, Oui, 1975–1976.

OTHER SOURCES

Books:

Artists and Authors for Young Adults, Volumes 7–26, Gale, 1992.

Bigsby, C. W. E., David Mamet, Methuen, 1985.

Brewer, Gay, David Mamet and Film: Illusion/Disillusion in a Wounded Land, McFarland & Company, 1993.

Carroll, Dennis, David Mamet, St. Martin's Press, 1987.

Contemporary Dramatists, Sixth edition, St. James Press, 1999.

Contemporary Literary Criticism, Gale, Volume 9, 1978; Volume 15, 1980; Volume 34, 1985; Volume 46, 1988; Volume 91, 1996.

Dean, Anne, David Mamet: Language as Dramatic Action, Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1990.

Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 7: Twentieth–Century American Dramatists, Gale, 1981.

Drama Criticism, Volume 4, Gale, 1994.

Heilpern, John, How Good Is David Mamet, Anyway?: Writings on the Theater and Why It Matters, Routledge, 1999.

Kane, Leslie, David Mamet's Glengarry Glen Ross: Text and Performance, Garland Publishing, 1996.

Kane, Leslie, editor, David Mamet: A Casebook, Garland Publishing, 1991.

Kane, Leslie, Weasels and Wisemen: Education, Ethics, and Ethnicity in David Mamet, St. Martin's Press, 1999.

St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture, St. James Press, 2000.

Periodicals:

America, May 15, 1993, p. 16.

Chicago Tribune, October 11, 1987; May 4, 1988; February 19, 1989; December 10, 1989.

Economist, January 31, 1998, pp. 85–86.

Entertainment Weekly, June 5, 1998, pp. 18–19.

Harper's, May, 1978, pp. 79, 83.

Hollywood Reporter, November 11, 2000.

Interview, April, 1998, p. 66.

Los Angeles Times, November 27, 1979; June 25, 1984; July 7, 1987; October 11, 1987.

Nation, May 19, 1979, p. 581; April 14, 1981; October 10, 1981; April 28, 1984, p. 522; June 27, 1987, p. 900.

New Republic, July 12, 1982, p. 23; February 10, 1986, pp. 25, 28; April 24, 1995, p. 46.

Newsweek, February 28, 1977, p. 79; March 23, 1981; November 8, 1982; December 6, 1982; April 9, 1984, p. 109; October 19, 1987.

New York, December 20, 1982, pp. 62, 64; June 8, 1987, p. 68.

New Yorker, November 10, 1975; October 31, 1977, p. 115; January 16, 1978, October 29, 1979, p. 81; June 15, 1981, November 7, 1983, June 29, 1987, p. 70; April 10, 1995, p. 33; June 3, 1996, pp. 48, 50–56, 58–61; November 17, 1997.

New York Times, July 5, 1976; March 18, 1979; April 26, 1979; May 26, 1979; June 3, 1979; October 19, 1979; March 20, 1981; May 29, 1981; June 5, 1981; February 17, 1982; May 17, 1982; June 17, 1982; October 24, 1982; October 28, 1982, p. C20; December 8, 1982; May 13, 1983; October 9, 1983, pp. 6, 19; November 6, 1983; March 26, 1984, p. C17; March 28, 1984; April 1, 1984; April 18, 1984; April 24, 1984; September 30, 1984; April 21, 1985; February 9, 1986; April 23, 1986; January 1, 1987; March 15, 1987; June 3, 1987; October 11, 1987; May 4, 1988; December 4, 1989.

People Weekly, November 12, 1979; December 20, 1982; May 4, 1987.

Playboy, April, 1995, pp. 51–60, 148–50.

Saturday Review, April 2, 1977, p. 37.

Telegraph Magazine, June 18, 1994, pp. 16–18, 20, 22.

Tikkun, November/December, 1997, p. 10; March/April, 1999, p. 32.

Time, July 12, 1976; April 9, 1984, p. 105.

Times Magazine (Great Britain), January 24, 1998, pp. 14–21, 23.

T2, April 13, 2004, pp. 14–15.

Us, January 10, 1978.

Village Voice, July, 1976, pp. 101, 103.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Mamet, David 1947–." Contemporary Theatre, Film and Television. . Encyclopedia.com. 16 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Mamet, David 1947–." Contemporary Theatre, Film and Television. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 16, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/mamet-david-1947

"Mamet, David 1947–." Contemporary Theatre, Film and Television. . Retrieved August 16, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/mamet-david-1947

Mamet, David

MAMET, David



Writer and director and actor. Nationality: American. Born: Chicago, Illinois, 30 November 1947. Education: Studied acting at the Neighborhood Playhouse, 1968–69; Goddard College, B.A. (English), 1969. Family: Married 1) Lindsay Crouse (an actress), 21 December 1977 (divorced); children: Willa, Zosia; 2) married Rebecca Pidgeon (an actress, singer, and songwriter), 22 September 1991; children: Clara. Career: Worked as a busboy, Second City Theatre, Chicago, a stagehand, Hull House Theatre, Chicago, and as factory worker, real estate agent, window washer, office cleaner, taxi driver, truck driver, short order cook, and salesperson; actor in New England summer theatre productions, 1969; special lecturer in drama, Marlboro College, Marlboro, Vermont, 1970; artist-in-residence and instructor in drama, Goddard College, Plainfield, Vermont, 1971–73; founding member and artistic director, St. Nicholas Company, Plainfield, Vermont, 1972; founder (with others), 1973, artistic director, 1973–76, member of the board of directors, beginning in 1973, St. Nicholas Theatre Company, Chicago; faculty member, Illinois Arts Council, Chicago, 1974; contributing editor, Oui, 1975–76; visiting lecturer, University of Chicago, Chicago, 1975–76 and 1979; teaching fellow at the School of Drama, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, 1976–77; associate artistic director, 1978–79, playwright-in-residence, 1978–84, Goodman Theatre, Chicago; visiting lecturer at the Tisch School of the Arts, 1981, founder of the Atlantic Theatre Company, 1988, and chair of the Atlantic Theatre Company board of directors, New York University, New York City; associate director, New Theatre Company, Chicago, beginning in 1985; associate professor of film, Columbia University, New York City, 1988; Dinglefest Theatre, Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas, founder (with others). Awards: Golden Osella, Venice Film Festival, best original screenplay, and Pasinetti Award, Venice Film Festival, best film, for House of Games, 1987; also winner of numerous theatre and literary awards. Agent: Howard Rosenstone, Rosenstone/Wender, 3 East 48th Street, New York, NY 10017, U.S.A.


Films as Writer:

1979

A Life in the Theater (Browning, Gutierrez—for TV)

1981

The Postman Always Rings Twice (Rafelson)

1982

The Verdict (1982)

1986

About Last Night. . . (Zwick) (from his play Sexual Perversity in Chicago)

1987

The Untouchables (De Palma); House of Games (+ d)

1988

Things Change (+ d)

1989

We're No Angels (Jordan)

1991

Uncle Vanya (Mosher—for TV) (translation); Homicide (+ d)

1992

Glengarry Glen Ross (Foley); Hoffa (DeVito) (+ assoc pr); The Water Engine (Schachter—for TV) (+ ro)

1993

Rising Sun (Kaufman) (uncredited); A Life in the Theater (Mosher—for TV) (+ exec pr)

1994

Texan (Williams—for TV); Oleanna (+ d); Vanya on 42nd Street (Malle)

1996

American Buffalo (Corrente)

1997

The Spanish Prisoner (+ d); Wag the Dog (Levinson); The Edge (Tamahori)

1998

Ronin (Frankenheimer) (as Richard Weisz)

1999

Lansky (McNaughton) (for TV) (+ exec pr); The Winslow Boy (+ d)

2000

Lakeboat (Mantegna); Whistle (Lumet); State and Main (+ d)



Films as Actor:

1984

Sanford Meisner: The American Theatre's Best Kept Secret (Doob) (as Himself)

1986

Black Widow (Rafelson) (as Herb)

Publications


By MAMET: books (nonfiction)—

On Directing Film, New York, 1991.

Cabin: Reminiscence and Diversions, New York, 1992.

A Whore's Profession: Notes and Essays, London and Boston, 1994.

Jafsie and John Henry: Essays, New York, 1999.

On Acting, New York, 1999.


By MAMET: articles—

"I Lost It at the Movies," interview with P. Biskind, in American Film (Farmingdale, New York), vol. 12, no. 8, June 1987.

Interview in Time Out (London), 12 August 1998.

Interview in Sight and Sound (London), vol. 8, no. 10, October 1998.

Interview in Interview (New York), April 1998.

"The Spanish Prisoner" and "Writing and Directing The Spanish Prisoner," in Scenario (Rockville, Maryland), vol. 4, no. 1, 1998.


On MAMET: books—

Bigsby, C. W. E., David Mamet, London, 1985.

Carroll, Dennis, David Mamet, New York, 1987.

Dean, Anne, David Mamet: Language as Dramatic Action, Rutherford, New Jersey, and London, 1990.

Trussler, Simon, Malcolm Page, and Steven Dykes, File on Mamet, New York, 1991.

Brewer, Gay, David Mamet and Film: Illusion/Disillusion in a Wounded Land, Jefferson, North Carolina, 1993.

McDonough, Carla J., Staging Masculinity: Male Identity in Contemporary American Drama, Jefferson, North Carolina, 1997.

Kane, Leslie, Weasels and Wisemen: Ethics and Ethnicity in the Work of David Mamet, New York, 1999.


On MAMET: articles—

"David Mamet," in Film Dope (Nottingham), no. 38, December 1987.

Weinberger, M., and others, "Engrenages," in Cinéma 87/88 (Paris), no. 427, 3 February 1988.

Hoberman, J., "Identity Parade," in Sight and Sound (London), vol. 1, no. 7, November 1991.

Brewer, G., "Studied Simplicity," in Literature/Film Quarterly (Salisbury, Maryland), vol. 20, no. 2, April 1992.

Fisher, Bob, "Minting a Screen Version of American Buffalo," in American Cinematographer (Hollywood), vol. 77, no. 2, February 1996.

Hudgins, Christopher, "Lolita 1995: The Four Filmscripts," in Literature/Film Quarterly (Salisbury, Maryland), vol. 25, no. 1, January 1997.

Rosenbaum, J., "Mamet and Hitchcock: The Men Who Knew Too Much," in Scenario (Rockville, Maryland), vol. 4, no. 1, 1998.


* * *

From stage playwright to screenwriter is a common enough jump, but relatively few playwrights have gone on to become directors. And none, with the exception of Marcel Pagnol, has done so as successfully as David Mamet. Like Pagnol, Mamet has been able to use his theatrical prestige to resist crass commercial pressures. His films as writer-director are unmistakably personal, made without interference or compromise. The same hasn't always been true of his scripts for other directors, as he readily acknowledges in On Directing Films: "Working as a screenwriter-for-hire, one is in the employ not of the eventual consumers (the audience, whose interests the honest writer must have at heart), but of speculators, whose ambition . . . is not to please the eventual consumer, but to extort from him as much money as possible."

Nonetheless, clear thematic preoccupations run through all his film work, whether as writer or as director. The characters that fascinate him are those on the precarious margins of society: conmen, salesmen and hucksters, cops and petty criminals. He is concerned with the codes these fringe people live by, and those they break. Matters of trust and betrayal, illusion and deception, confidence bestowed and confidence betrayed, loom large in his work. Along with these codes goes the jargon: in his films as in his plays, Mamet is famous for the speed and ferocity of his dialogue, the obsessive, almost ritualistic repetitions of words and phrases. Underlying all this is a despairing sense of the corruption of the American Dream, the busted illusion of the pursuit of happiness that haunts a sour, wounded society. In his own typically eloquent words, "My characters are trapped in the destructive folds of the public myths on my country." His first script was for Bob Rafelson's version of James M. Cain's classic pulp The Postman Always Rings Twice—the definitive portrait of the footloose American go-getter as bum, sexual opportunist, conspirator and killer.

According to Mamet's own account, he "saw the craft of directing as the joyful extension of screenwriting." But he also followed a well-established tradition of eminent writer-directors (Billy Wilder, Preston Sturges, Joseph Mankiewicz, et al), in taking up direction partly in order to protect his own writing. His directorial debut, House of Games, followed closely on the travesty of his play Sexual Perversity in Chicago being filmed (not to his script) as About Last Night (1986). In that same writer-director tradition, Mamet tends to be matter-of-fact to the point of dismissiveness about his own cinematic technique, disclaiming any pretensions to being an auteur. The director's job, he maintains, "is the work of constructing the shot list from the screenplay. The work on the set is nothing. All you have to do on the set is stay awake, follow your plans, help the actors be simple, and keep your sense of humour. The film is directed in the making of the shot list. . . . It is the plan that makes the movie."

"The plan" in more senses than one. In Mamet's films—many of those he has directed, and several that he has written—the action is often set up to deceive the audience, a visual sleight of hand paralleling the scam that's being worked on the characters. In House of Games and The Spanish Prisoner (itself named after a classic con routine), the rug is repeatedly pulled out from under us; just as we think we know what is going on, Mamet reveals a further layer of deception. In Homicide we are led to believe that Joe Mantegna's cop is uncovering a vast anti-Semitic conspiracy, until a supposed Nazi slogan proves to be a brand of pigeon-feed and the whole miasma of suspicion dissolves into nothingness. (Or maybe not, since the film leaves it possible that this revelation is itself just another trick.) Sometimes Mamet enjoys letting us in on the act, as in Things Change, or in his tour de force political satire Wag the Dog where—as if in ironic homage to Baudrillard—a whole war is faked up to hoax the public. Though even here, when we have watched the entire scam being devised, the denouement reveals other dimensions that we were not aware of. Referring to The Spanish Prisoner Mamet oberved: "I don't feel like I created this script—I feel like I've solved it. It's like a magic trick. You have to give people information, but in such a way that they don't realise it is information."

Adapting his own stage work for the screen (as in Oleanna, which he directed, or American Buffalo and Glengarry Glen Ross, which he didn't), Mamet simplifies it without losing its pungent flavour, cutting down on the repetitions and truculent non-sequiturs of the original. "You're basically trying to make up pictures and you only resort to dialogue when you can't make up the perfect picture. . . . The main message is being carried to the audience not by what people say or by how they say it, but by what the camera is doing." Not that the camera, in his view, should do very much: he believes in "let[ting] the cut tell the story," and adds that "fantastic cinematography has been the death of American film." He may well have been thinking of The Untouchables, where Brian De Palma's showy direction jarred with Mamet's taut dialogue. Despite his own outspoken distaste for Hollywood ("Hell with valet parking") and the movie industry, Mamet seems increasingly at ease with filmmaking. In recent years he has shown himself ever more inclined to direct his own scripts—and to adapt and direct the work of other playwrights he admires, such as Terence Rattigan and Samuel Beckett. In the register of Mamet's career his status as screenwriter and director may never rival his towering acclaim as a playwright, but it looks set to run it a very respectable second.

—Philip Kemp

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Mamet, David." International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers. . Encyclopedia.com. 16 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Mamet, David." International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 16, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/movies/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/mamet-david

"Mamet, David." International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers. . Retrieved August 16, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/movies/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/mamet-david

Mamet, David

David Mamet

Born: November 30, 1947
Chicago, Illinois

American writer, playwright/dramatist, screenwriter, and director/producer

Playwright, screenwriter (a person who writes scripts for movies), and director David Mamet is known for his accurate use of American vernacular (the normal spoken form of a language), through which he explores the relationship between language and behavior.

Taught to love words

David Alan Mamet was born in Chicago, Illinois, on November 30, 1947, the only son of Bernard and Leonore Mamet (they also had a younger daughter). His father was a labor lawyer who loved to argue and taught his children how to listen, question things, and express themselves as precisely as possible. Mamet spent many afternoons in his father's office, making phone calls and typing letters on the typewriter. Mamet's parents' high standards and their divorce when he was eleven made his childhood an unhappy one. He was very close to his sister, however. At fifteen he started working at the Hull House Theatre and discovered his life's direction. He went on to study literature and theater at Goddard College in Vermont (receiving a bachelor's degree in 1969) and acting at the Neighborhood Playhouse School of Theater in New York.

Successful plays

In 1971 Mamet began teaching drama at Goddard and wrote several plays. His first play to receive attention, The Duck Variations (1972), displays features found in much of his work: a fixed setting, few characters, a simple plot, and dialogue that captures the rhythms of everyday speech. Sexual Perversity in Chicago (1974) (later adapted for film as About Last Night. ) examines relationships between men and women. American Buffalo (1975), for which Mamet received the New York Drama Critics Circle Award, is set in a junk shop and deals with the efforts of three men trying to steal a valuable coin. The main character of The Water Engine: An American Fable (1977) creates a new engine but is murdered when he refuses to sell his invention for profit. Other plays from this period include A Life in the Theatre, The Woods, Reunion, and Dark Pony (all 1977), as well as The Sanctity of Marriage (1979).

Glengarry Glen Ross (1982), Mamet's most praised work, is the story of four Florida real estate agents competing to become their company's top salesperson by trying to cheat unsuspecting customers. The play was awarded both the New York Drama Critics Circle Award and the Pulitzer Prize in drama. Edmond (1982) involves a businessman who leaves his wife and wanders into a run-down area of New York City. After being beaten and robbed, he turns to violence and is imprisoned for murdering a waitress. Prairie du chien (1985) and The Shawl (1985) are companion pieces. The first play centers on an unusual murder, while the second concerns a psychic's efforts to obtain a client's inheritance. Speed-the-Plow (1988), in which pop singer Madonna (1958) made her first performance on Broadway, is the story of a close male friendship that is threatened by the arrival of a strange woman.

Screenplays and other works

Mamet has also written several screenplays (scripts for movies). The first, The Postman Always Rings Twice (1981), is generally considered his least successful effort. In The Verdict (1982), based on Barry Reed's novel Verdict (1980), an alcoholic lawyer battles injustice to win a lawsuit for a woman who suffered brain damage during childbirth. Reviewers praised Mamet's dialogue, and the screenplay was nominated (put forward for consideration) for an Academy Award. He also made his first effort at directing with the 1987 film House of Games (for which he also wrote the screenplay), about a doctor's involvement with a con man.

In the latter half of the 1980s Mamet published two collections of essays, Writing in Restaurants and Some Freaks. Both books are packed with Mamet's opinions on a variety of topics such as friendship, religion, politics, morals, society, and of course, the American theater. Mamet has also taught at The Yale Drama School and New York University. He often lectures to classes at the Atlantic Theater Company, and he was one of the company's founding members.

Later efforts

Mamet continues to direct films and write plays, essays, and screenplays. His recent film works include the 1994 film version of his play Oleanna (which was first produced on stage in 1992), The Winslow Boy (1999), State and Main (2000), and Heist (2001). In 1999 he wrote a book of essays, Jafsie and John Henry. Wilson: A Consideration of the Sources, a novel, was released in 2001. Mamet married actress Rebecca Pidgeon in 1991. They have two children. He also has two children from his first marriage to actress Lindsay Crouse.

For More Information

Bigsby, C. W. E. David Mamet. London: Methuen, 1985.

Carroll, Dennis. David Mamet. New York: St. Martin's, 1987.

Heilpern, John. How Good Is David Mamet, Anyway? New York: Routledge, 2000.

King, Kimball. Ten Modern American Playwrights. New York: Garland, 1982.

Mamet, David. On Directing Film. New York: Viking, 1991.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Mamet, David." UXL Encyclopedia of World Biography. . Encyclopedia.com. 16 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Mamet, David." UXL Encyclopedia of World Biography. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 16, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/mamet-david

"Mamet, David." UXL Encyclopedia of World Biography. . Retrieved August 16, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/mamet-david

Mamet, David

David Mamet (mămĕt´), 1947–, American playwright and film director, b. Chicago. He taught drama (and produced some of his early plays) at Goddard College. His work, often dealing with the success and failure of the American dream, is noted for its sharp, spare, compressed, often profane, and insightful dialogue. He came to public attention with such plays as Sexual Perversity in Chicago (1974) and American Buffalo (1975), later achieving widespread success with the corrosively brilliant Glengarry Glen Ross (1983; Pulitzer Prize) and Oleanna (1992), a scathing look at sexual politics. He also has written screenplays for The Postman Always Rings Twice (1981), Hoffa (1992), the film version of Glengarry (1992), and many other films. In 1987, Mamet made his debut as a film director with House of Games, a complex story about deception and gullibility; he has since written and directed several films, including The Spanish Prisoner (1997), Heist (2001), and Spartan (2004). Mamet has also written, directed, or produced several television films. His first television series, The Unit, a network military drama, aired from 2006 to 2009.

By the beginning of the 21st cent. Mamet was widely regarded as one of the finest American writers for stage and screen. Some of his later plays, such as The Cryptogram (1995) and The Old Neighborhood (1997), have explored difficult semiautobiographical material. Mamet also ventured into satire with November, a play about contemporary presidential politics that was produced on Broadway in 2008, and he explored the nature of guilt and shame as they relate to racial, sexual, and legal issues in Race, which debuted on Broadway the following year. Throughout his career, Mamet has treated the themes of belonging, the vagaries of authority, the pivotal role played by loyalty, and the importance of speaking the truth. In addition to more than 20 plays and some two dozen screenplays, he has also written novels, e.g., The Village (1994), several collections of essays (including the autobiographical Jafsie and John Henry, 1999, and Bambi vs. Godzilla, 2007, on the film industry), a book on acting (1997), The Wicked Son: Anti-Semitism, Self-Hatred, and the Jews (2006), and The Secret Knowledge (2011), an explanation of his conversion to conservative politics.

See biography by I. Nadel (2008); L. Kane, ed., David Mamet in Conversation (2001); studies by D. Carroll (1987), A. Dean (1990), N. Jones and S. Dykes (1991), L. Kane, ed. (1992) and as author (1999, 2004), G. Brewer (1993), C. C. Hudgins and L. Kane, ed. (2001), D. K. and J. A. Sauer (2003), H. Bloom, ed. (2004), and B. Barton (2005): C. Bigsby, ed., The Cambridge Companion to David Mamet (2004).

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Mamet, David." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 16 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Mamet, David." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 16, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/mamet-david

"Mamet, David." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved August 16, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/mamet-david

Mamet, David

Mamet, David (1947– ) US playwright and film director. Mamet is noted for his sharp, perceptive dialogue. His play Glengarry Glen Ross (1983) won a Pulitzer Prize. Screenplays include The Postman Always Rings Twice (1981). His directorial debut was House of Games (1987). Other plays include Oleanna (1992), a controversial play about sexual harassment.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Mamet, David." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. 16 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Mamet, David." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 16, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/mamet-david

"Mamet, David." World Encyclopedia. . Retrieved August 16, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/mamet-david