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Stoppard, Tom 1937-

Stoppard, Tom 1937-

PERSONAL

Original name, Thomas Straussler; born July 3, 1937, in Zlin, Czechoslovakia (now Czech Republic); immigrated to Bristol, England, 1945; naturalized citizen; son of Eugene Straussler (a physician) and Martha Stoppard; stepson of Kenneth Stoppard; married Jose Ingle, 1965 (divorced, 1972); married Miriam Moore-Robinson (a dermatologist and television personality), 1972 (divorced, 1992); children: (first marriage) Oliver, Barnaby; (second marriage) William, Edmund. Education: Attended Dolphin School, Nottinghamshire, England, and Pocklington School, Yorkshire, England. Avocational Interests: Fishing, cricket.

Addresses:

Agent—Peters, Fraser and Dunlop, Drury House, 34-43 Russell St., London WC2B 5HA United Kingdom; Creative Artists Agency, 2000 Avenue of the Stars, Los Angeles, CA 90067.

Career:

Playwright, screenwriter, director, and journalist. Western Daily Press, Bristol, England, reporter and critic, 1954-58; Evening World, Bristol, reporter and critic, 1958-60; freelance reporter, 1960-63; Scene (magazine), reviewer, 1962; Index Against Censorship (magazine), member of publishing committee.

Member:

Royal National Theatre Board, member, 1989—, Royal Society of Literature (fellow), Committee of the Free World.

Awards, Honors:

Ford Foundation grant, 1964; John Whiting Award, Arts Council, 1967; London Evening Standard Award, most promising playwright, 1968; Antoinette Perry Award, best play, and New York Drama Critics Circle Award, 1968, both for Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead; Prix Italia, 1968, for Albert's Bridge (radio play); London Evening Standard Award, 1972, for Jumpers; Antoinette Perry Award, best play, and London Evening Standard Award, 1976, both for Travesties; New York Drama Critics Circle Award, 1976; named Commander of the British Empire, 1978; London Evening Standard Award, 1978, for Night and Day; Giles Cooper Award, for The Dog It Was That Died (radio play); London Evening Standard Award, 1982, and Antoinette Perry Award, best play, 1984, both for The Real Thing; Shakespeare Prize, 1979; Emmy Award nomination (with others), 1984, for Squaring the Circle (television play); Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award (with Terry Gilliam and Charles McKeown), best screenplay, 1985, and Academy Award nomination (with Gilliam and McKeown), best original screenplay, 1986, both for Brazil; Film Award nomination, best adapted screenplay, British Academy of Film and Television Arts, 1989, for Empire of the Sun; Golden Lion Award, Venice Film Festival, 1990, and Directors Week Award, Fantasporto, 1991, both for Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (film); London Critics Circle Award, best play, 1993, Evening Standard Award, best play, Laurence Olivier Theatre Award, best play, Society of London Theatre, 1994, Antoinette Perry Award nomination, best play, 1995, and Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award, outstanding writing, 1997-98, all for Arcadia; Evening Standard Award, best play, 1997, Antoinette Perry Award nomination, 2000, and New York Drama Critics Circle Award, best play, 2000-01, all for The Invention of Love; New York Film Critics Circle Award, best screenplay, 1998, Academy Award, best writing—screenplay written directly for the screen, Golden Globe Award, best screenplay—motion picture, Film Award nomination, best screenplay—original, British Academy of Film and Television Arts, Silver Berlin Bear, outstanding single achievement, Berlin International Film Festival, Screen Award, best screenplay written directly for the screen, Writers Guild of America, Southeastern Film Critics Association Award, best original screenplay, Online Film Critics Society Award nomination, best screenplay—original, Golden Satellite Award nomination, best motion picture screenplay—original, International Press Academy, Florida Film Critics Circle Award, best screenplay, Chicago Film Critics Association Award, best screenplay, Broadcast Film Critics Association Award, best screenplay—original, 1999, and Evening Standard British Film Award, best screenplay, 2000, all (with Marc Norman) for Shakespeare in Love; Theater Hall of Fame, inductee, 2000; Antoinette Perry Award nomination, best play, New York Drama Critics Award, best play, Drama Desk Award nomination, outstanding new play, 2001, all for The Invention of Love; Laurence Olivier Theatre Award, BBC award for best play, 2003, for The Coast of Utopia; Laurence Olivier Theatre Award, best new comedy, 2006, for Heroes; Laurence Olivier Theatre Award, Antoinette Perry Award, best play, 2007, for "Voyage," Coast of Utopia; London Critics Circle Award, best new play, 2007, for Rock 'n' Roll; Sony Award, for In the Native State; Film Award, British Academy for Film and Television Arts, for Professional Foul. Named Commander of the British Empire, 1978; knighted by Queen Elizabeth II, 1997; appointed a Member of the Order of Merit, 2000; honorary degrees from University of Bristol, 1976, Brunel University, 1979, University of Leeds, 1980, University of Sussex, 1980, University of London, 1982, Kenyon College, 1984, and University of York, 1984.

CREDITS

Stage Director:

Born Yesterday, Greenwich Theatre, London, 1973.

Every Good Boy Deserves Favour, Metropolitan Opera House, Lincoln Center, New York City, 1979.

Film Director:

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, Cinecom, 1991.

Film Appearances:

"In Side Out," 1964.

Himself, The King's Head: A Maverick in London (documentary; also known as A Maverick in London: The Story of the King's Head), 2006.

Television Appearances; Movies:

Poodle Springs, HBO, 1998.

Television Appearances; Specials:

Journey into Light, 1985.

What Is Brazil?, 1985.

Shakespeare in Love and on Film, 1999.

Inside Hollywood: The Pictures, the People, the Academy Awards, ABC, 1999.

The 71st Annual Academy Awards, ABC, 1999.

Presenter, The 55th Annual Tony Awards, CBS and PBS, 2001.

Ronnie Barker: A BAFTA Tribute, BBC, 2004.

Presenter, The British Comedy Awards 2004, ITV, 2004.

The 61st Annual Tony Awards, CBS, 2007.

Television Appearances; Episodic:

"Prologue," The Newcomers, 1977.

"1911," The Newcomers, 1979.

Friday Night, Saturday Morning, 1979.

The Charlie Rose Show (also known as Charlie Rose), PBS, 1995.

Changing Stages, PBS, 2001.

The 26th Annual Kennedy Center Honors: A Celebration of the Performing Arts, CBS, 2003.

"Shakespeare in Love," Movie Connections, 2007.

WRITINGS

Plays:

The Gamblers, produced at Bristol Old Vic Theatre, Bristol, England, 1965.

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, first produced at Edinburgh Festival, Scotland, 1966, revised version produced by National Theatre Company, Old Vic Theatre, London, 1967, later Alvin Theatre, New York City, 1967, published by Grove Press, 1967.

Enter a Free Man (two-act; adaptation of Stoppard's television play A Walk on the Water), produced at St. Martin's Theatre, London, 1968, later St. Clement's Theatre, New York City, 1974, published by Grove Press, 1968.

Tango (adaptation), produced at Aldwych Theatre, London, 1968.

The Real Inspector Hound, produced at Criterion Theatre, London, 1968, published by Faber, 1968.

Albert's Bridge (adaptation of Stoppard's radio play of the same title), produced by Oxford Theatre Group, Edinburgh Festival, 1969, published by Samuel French, 1969.

After Magritte, produced at Ambiance Theatre, London, 1970, later produced with The Real Inspector Hound as a double-bill at Theatre Four, New York City, 1972, published with The Real Inspector Hound by Grove Press, 1968, published separately, Faber, 1971.

Dogg's Our Pet, produced at Ambiance Theatre, 1972.

Jumpers, produced by National Theatre Company, Old Vic Theatre, 1972, later Billy Rose Theatre, New York City, 1974, published by Grove Press, 1972, revised edition, Faber, 1986.

The House of Bernarda Alba (adaptation of the play by Frederico Garcia Lorca), produced at Greenwich Theatre, London, 1973.

Travesties, produced at Aldwych Theatre, 1974, then Ethel Barrymore Theatre, New York City, 1974, published by Grove Press, 1975.

Dirty Linen; New-found-land (double-bill), produced at Ambiance Theatre, 1976, then John Golden Theatre, New York City, 1977, published by Grove, 1976.

The Fifteen-Minute Hamlet, Samuel French, 1976.

(With music by Andre Previn) Every Good Boy Deserves Favour, produced in London, 1977, then Metropolitan Opera House, Lincoln Center, 1979, published with Professional Foul by Faber, 1978.

Night and Day, produced at Phoenix Theatre, London, 1978, then John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Washington, DC, later American National Theatre and Academy Theatre, New York City, 1979, published by Faber, 1978, revised edition, Samuel French, c. 1980.

Dogg's Hamlet; Cahoot's Macbeth (double-bill), produced at Collegiate Theatre, London, 1979, then Twenty-Two Steps Theatre, New York City, 1979, published by Faber, 1980.

Undiscovered Country (adaptation of Das weite land by Arthur Schnitzler), produced by National Theatre Company, 1979, published by Faber, 1980.

The Real Thing, produced at Strand Theatre, London, 1982, then Plymouth Theatre, New York City, 1984, published by Faber, 1982, revised edition, 1983.

On the Razzle (adaptation of Einen Jux will er sic machen by Johann Nestroy), produced by National Theatre Company, 1982, then Arena Stage, Washington, DC, 1982, published by Faber, 1981.

Rough Crossing (adaptation of Play at the Castle by Ferenc Molnar), produced by National Theatre Company, 1984, published by Faber, 1985.

Dalliance (adaptation of the play Liebelei by Schnitzler), produced by National Theatre Company, 1986, published with Undiscovered Country, Faber, 1986.

Hapgood, produced at Aldwych Theatre, 1988, published by Faber, 1988.

Artist Descending a Staircase (adaptation of Stoppard's radio play of the same title), produced at Helen Hayes Theatre, New York City, 1989.

Arcadia, London production, 1993, then Vivian Beaumont Theatre, New York City, 1995, published by Faber, c. 1993.

India Ink, 1995, published by Faber and Faber, 1995.

The Invention of Love, London production, 1997, then Lyceum Theatre, New York City, 2001, published by Grove Press, 1998.

The Coast of Utopia (a trilogy containing Voyage, Shipwreck, and Salvage), 2002, then Vivian Beaumont Theatre, 2006-2007.

Rock 'n' Roll, Royal Court Theatre, then Duke of York's Theatre, London, 2006, then Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre, New York City, 2007-2008.

Stage Plays (as Translator):

Vaclav Havel, Largo Desolato, produced by Yale Repertory Theatre, New Haven, CT, 1990, published by Faber, 1985.

Anton Chekhov, The Seagull, Shakespeare in the Park, 2001.

Gerald Sibleyras, Heroes, London production, 2006, then Geffen Playhouse, London, 2006.

Screenplays:

(With Thomas Wiseman) The Romantic Englishwoman (also known as Une anglaise romantique), New World, 1975.

(With Wiseman) Despair (also known as Despair ine reise ins licht, based on the work by Vladimir Nabokov), New Line, 1978.

The Human Factor, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/United Artists, 1979.

(With Terry Gilliam and Charles McKeown) Brazil, Universal, 1985.

Empire of the Sun, Warner Bros., 1987.

The Russia House (adaptation of the novel by John le Carre), Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/United Artists, 1990.

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (adaptation of Stoppard's stage play of the same title), Cinecom, 1991, screenplay published by Faber, 1991.

Billy Bathgate (adaptation of novel by E. L. Doctorow), Buena Vista, 1991.

The Fifteen Minute Hamlet, 1995.

Shakespeare in Love, Universal, 1998.

(English adaptation) Vatel, Miramax, 2000.

Enigma (also known as Enigma-das geheimnis), Intermedia Films, 2001.

Television Plays:

A Walk on the Water, BBC, 1963, revised as The Preservation of George Riley, BBC, 1964.

A Separate Peace, BBC, 1966, published by Samuel French, 1977.

Teeth (also known as Thirty-Minute Theatre: "Teeth"), BBC, 1967.

Another Moon Called Earth (also known as Thirty-Minute Theatre: "Another Moon Called Earth"), BBC, 1967.

Neutral Ground, BBC, 1968.

The Engagement, NBC, 1970.

One Pair of Eyes (documentary), BBC, 1972.

(With Clive Exton) Eleventh House, BBC, 1975.

(With Exton) Boundary (also known as Eleventh Hour: Boundary), 1975, published by Samuel French, 1991.

Three Men in a Boat (adaptation), 1976.

Professional Foul (also known as BBC2 Play of the Week: "Professional Foul"), 1977, published with Every Good Boy Deserves Favour, Faber, 1978.

Squaring the Circle, BBC, 1984, published with Every Good Boy Deserves Favour and Professional Foul by Faber, 1984.

On the Razzle, PBS, 1986.

The Dog It Was That Died, 1988.

Largo Desolato (also known as Vaclav Havel's "Largo Desolato"), PBS, 1990.

Television Movies:

Ulazi slobodan covek, 1971.

Konsert for en sluten avdelning, 1984.

Poodle Springs, HBO, 1998.

Radio Plays:

The Dissolution of Dominic Boot, BBC, 1964.

M Is for Moon among Other Things, BBC, 1964.

If You're Glad, I'll Be Frank, BBC, 1965, published with Albert's Bridge, Faber, 1969, published separately, Faber, 1976, revised edition, Samuel French, 1978.

Albert's Bridge, BBC, 1967, published with If You're Glad, I'll Be Frank, Faber, 1969.

Where Are They Now?, BBC, 1970, published with Artist Descending a Staircase, Faber, 1973.

Artist Descending a Staircase, BBC, 1972, published with Where Are They Now?, Faber, 1973, published separately, Faber, 1988.

The Dog It Was That Died, BBC, 1982, published in The Dog It Was That Died and Other Plays, Faber, 1983.

In the Native State, Radio 3, 1991, published by Faber, 1991.

Omnibus Volumes:

Albert's Bridge and Other Plays (contains If You're Glad, I'll Be Frank; Artist Descending a Staircase; Where Are They Now; and A Separate Peace), Grove Press, 1977.

The Dog It Was That Died and Other Plays, Faber, 1983.

Four Plays for Radio (contains Artist Descending a Staircase; Where Are They Now?; If You're Glad, I'll Be Frank; and Albert's Bridge), Faber, 1984.

Stoppard: The Plays for Radio, 1964-1983, Faber, 1990.

Television Plays, 1965-1984, Faber, 1993.

Plays, Faber, 1996.

Plays One: The Real Inspector Hound and Other Entertainments, Faber & Faber, 1996.

Plays Two, Faber & Faber, 1996.

Novels:

Introduction Z, 1964.

Lord Malquist and Mr. Moon, Grove, 1966.

Contributor of short stories to Introduction 2, 1964.

OTHER SOURCES

Books:

Author and Artist for Young Adults, Volume 63, Thomson Gale, 2005.

Contemporary Authors, New Revision Series, Volume 39, Gale, 1992, pp. 405-13.

Contemporary Dictionary of British Literary Biography, Volume 8: Contemporary Writers, 1960-Present, Gale Research, 1992.

Contemporary Dramatists, 6th ed., St. James Press, 1999.

Encyclopedia of World Biography, Gale, 1998.

Gusow, Mel, Conversations with Stoppard, Limelight, 1995.

Nadel, Ira, Tom Stoppard: A Life, Palgrave Macmillan, 2002.

Periodicals:

New York Times, January 1, 1984; November 26, 1989.

Time, November 5, 2007, p. 69.

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Stoppard, Tom

Tom Stoppard

Born: July 3, 1937
Zlin, Czechoslovakia

Czech-born English playwright

One of England's most important playwrights, Czechoslovakian-born Tom Stoppard is popular in the United States as well. His two great stage successes were Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead and The Real Thing, and he reached an even wider audienceand won an Academy Awardfor his screenplay for the 1998 film Shakespeare in Love.

Early life and career

The second son of a doctor for the Bata shoe manufacturing company, Thomas Straussler (Stoppard) was born on July 3, 1937, in Zlin, Czechoslovakia. The family fell victim to the Nazi racial laws, a wide-ranging set of laws enforced by Germany's radical Nazi Army that were aimed at severely restricting the freedoms of Jews and other minorities. Since there was "Jewish blood" in the family, his father was transferred to Singapore in 1939, taking the family with him. When the Japanese invaded that city in 1942, Thomas's mother fled with her children to India. Dr. Straussler stayed behind and was later killed.

Thomas attended an American boarding school in Darjeeling, India. In 1946 his mother married Kenneth Stoppard, a British army major, and both of her sons took his name. The Stoppards moved to Bristol, England, where Thomas's stepfather worked in the machine tool industry. Thomas continued his education at a preparatory school in Yorkshire, England.

At age seventeen Thomas felt that he had had enough schooling. He became first a reporter and then a critic for the Western Daily Press of Bristol, England, from 1954 to 1958. He left the Press and worked as a reporter for the Evening World, also in Bristol, from 1958 to 1960. Stoppard then worked as a freelance reporter from 1960 to 1963. During these years he experimented with writing short stories and short plays. In 1962 he moved to London, England, in order to be closer to the center of the publishing and theatrical worlds in the United Kingdom.

The playwright

Stoppard's first radio plays for the British Broadcasting Company (BBC), The Dissolution of Dominic Boot and M Is for Moon Among Other Things, aired in 1964. Two more, Albert's Bridge and If You're Glad I'll Be Frank, followed in 1965. His first television play, A Separate Peace, appeared the next year, as did his only novel, Lord Malquist and Mr. Moon, and the stage play that established his reputation as a playwright, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead.

The year 1968 saw another television play, Neutral Ground, and two short works for the theater, Enter a Free Man and The Real Inspector Hound. In 1970 Stoppard returned to the BBC with the two radio plays, Artist Descending a Staircase and Where Are They Now. He also authored the television plays The Engagement and Experiment in Television as well as the stage work After Magritte. It was about this time that Stoppard became acquainted with Ed Berman from New York City's Off-Off-Broadway. Berman was attempting to establish an alternative theater in London. For him Stoppard composed Dogg's Our Pet, which was produced in 1971 at the Almost Free Theater.

In 1972 Stoppard had presented Jumpers, which begins with circus acts and evolves into religious and moral philosophy (the study of knowledge). Although critics reacted warmly to the play, Jumpers did not enjoy the same praise that had greeted Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. Theater critic Stanley Kauffmann labeled it "fake, structurally and thematically," while another critic, John Simon, wrote that "there is even something arrogant about trying to convert the history of Western culture into a series of blackout sketches, which is very nearly what Jumpers is up to."

Two years later Stoppard produced his third major work, Travesties. It is based on the coincidence that Russian exile politician Vladimir Lenin (18701924), Irish novelist James Joyce (18821941), and the father of the French Dadaist movement in literature and art, Tristan Tzara (18961963), were all in Zurich, Switzerland, at times during World War I (191418; when German-led forces pushed for European domination). It is assumed that they never met in reality, but their interaction in Stoppard's play asks the question of what defines art. The author's conclusion seems to be that its sole function is to make the meaninglessness (complete emptiness) of life more bearable.

Later works

In 1977 Stoppard offered Every Good Boy Deserves Favour, a remarkable achievement performed for the first time at the Royal Festival Hall by the Royal Shakespeare Company and the one hundred-piece London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Andre Previn (1929). Brought to the United States, it was presented at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City with an eighty-one-piece orchestra.

Stoppard summed up his life's work as an attempt to "make serious points by flinging a custard pie around the stage for a couple of hours." Some of his serious points must have been heard in 1999, when he shared the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay with Marc Norman for their work on the movie Shakespeare in Love. The movie also won the award for Best Picture of the year.

For More Information

Cahn, Victor L. Beyond Absurdity: The Plays of Tom Stoppard. Rutherford, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1979.

Dean, Joan Fitzpatrick. Tom Stoppard: Comedy as a Moral Matrix. Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1981.

Gussow, Mel, ed. Conversations with Stoppard. New York: Limelight Editions, 1995.

Londre, Felicia Hardison. Tom Stoppard. New York: F. Ungar Publishing Company, 1981.

Nadel, Ira Bruce. Tom Stoppard: A Life. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2002.

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Stoppard, Tom

Tom Stoppard, 1937–, English playwright, b. Zlín, Czechoslovakia (now in the Czech Republic), as Tomas Straussler. During his childhood he and his family moved to Singapore, later (1946) settling in Bristol, England, where he became a journalist. In 1960 he moved to London, where he became a theater critic and wrote radio plays. He first gained prominence with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (1967), a witty drama about peripheral characters in Shakespeare's Hamlet. Stoppard is noted for his idiosyncratic style, artful and complex construction, deft parody, profound intellectuality, wide-ranging knowledge, and ability to find significance in wordplay and bizarre juxtapositions of language and character. In Travesties (1974), for example, James Joyce, Lenin, and Tristan Tzara collaborate on a production of Oscar Wilde's play The Importance of Being Earnest.

Many critics consider his Jumpers (1973), a play that includes gymnastics, murder, song, dance, and ethical discussion, and Arcadia (1993), a drama that takes place in both 1809 and the early 1990s and is centered on a 19th-century mathematical prodigy and a 20th-century literary scholar, his finest works. Stoppard's other plays include The Real Inspector Hound (1968); Dirty Linen (1976); The Real Thing (1982); Hapgood (1988); Indian Ink (1995); The Invention of Love (1997); and Rock 'n' Roll (2006). One of his most complex and acclaimed later works, the trilogy The Coast of Utopia (2002), explores the roots of the Russian Revolution via six late 19th-century intellectuals and their associates and spans 35 years.

Stoppard is also a skilled screenwriter; he was a main scriptwriter for Brazil (1985) and Empire of the Sun (1987), won particular acclaim for his Shakespeare in Love (1998, with Marc Norman), and wrote the script for Anna Karenina (2012). He also has written for television, and is the author of a novel, Lord Malaquist and Mr. Moon (1966), and short stories.

See P. Delaney, ed., Tom Stoppard in Conversation (1994) and M. Gussow, Conversations with Stoppard (1995, rev. ed. 2003); biography by I. Nadel (2001); studies by R. Hayman (1977), V. L. Cahn (1979), J. Hunter (1982); T. R. Whitaker (1983), M. Page (1986), S. Rusinko (1986), M. Billington (1987), J. Harty, ed. (1988), A. Jenkins (1987, 1990), K. E. Kelly (1991), R. A. Andretta (1992), T. Hodgson (2001); J. Fleming (2001), J. Hunter (1982, 2005), and H. Bloom, ed. (rev. ed. 2003); K. E. Kelly, ed., Cambridge Companion to Tom Stoppard (2001).

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Stoppard, Tom

Stoppard, Tom (1937– ) English dramatist, b. Thomas Straussler. His reputation was established with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead (1966). Plays such as The Real Inspector Hound (1968) and Jumpers (1972) confirmed his ability to combine philosophical speculation with humour. Stoppard wrote plays for radio (Artist Descending a Staircase, 1973) and television (Professional Foul, 1977). Other plays include Arcadia (1993) and The Invention of Love (1997). Stoppard won an Academy Award for best screenplay for Shakespeare in Love (1998).

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