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His parents divorced when he was eleven, and he studied Literature and Theater in college.

He wrote numerous successful plays and even a book about the Bible. He was also nominated for a Tony Award and an Oscar. Read on to learn how one man, David Mamet, managed to do all this and more.

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David Mamet

Mamet’s Early Life and Education

David Alan Mamet was born on November 30, 1947 in Chicago, Illinois. He is the only son of Bernard and Lenore Mamet, though he has a half-brother, Tony Mamet.

He also has a younger sister, Lynn Mamet. Mamet’s father was a labor lawyer, and David did office work for him, such as typing letters and making phone calls.A portion of David’s childhood was unhappy after his parents divorced. This happened when David was eleven years old.

Sometimes children of divorced parents seek a creative outlet in art or music. For David Mamet, that outlet was acting. At the age of 15, he started working at the Hull House Theatre, and things began to look up for him.Eventually, he studied acting at the Neighborhood Playhouse School of Theatre in New York in 1968. He also attended Goddard College in Vermont and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1969.

Off-Broadway Plays

In 1976, he wrote three off-Broadway (a small theatre out of the Broadway district that seats more than 100 but fewer than 500 people) plays that spread the word about his work. The plays were The Duck Variations, Sexual Perversity in Chicago, and American Buffalo.

Sexual Perversity in Chicago was adapted into a film in 1986. We know it as About Last Night.Mamet focuses on strong male characters. In his play, Glengarry Glen Ross, all of the characters are men. They brag often and use multiple curse words in every sentence. Underneath their dominant personalities, however, they are aware that they are really insecure individuals, hoping that others won’t notice their many flaws.

Various Books

In later years, Mamet began writing books. He did not limit himself to one specific topic or genre. Rather, he experimented with a variety of subjects.The Old Religion (published in 1997) is about the lynching of Leo Frank.

He was a Jewish factory supervisor who was lynched after being convicted of raping and murdering a 13-year-old girl named Mary Phagan. The trial was a controversial issue in Atlanta and other areas because it was rumored to be a setup.Five Cities of Refuge: Weekly Reflections on Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy (published in 2004) is an explanation and discussion of the events in the first five books of the Bible. Mamet co-wrote this book with Lawrence Kushner, a Reform rabbi (a Jewish scholar or teacher).

This book’s discussion comes from kavannah which is an ancient Jewish practice of meditation designed to focus a person’s heart on its spiritual goal.The book, Bambi vs. Godzilla, is Mamet’s 2008 commentary on the movie business. He answers many of the questions that movie-goers might have concerning the films that they see and what happens behind the scenes.

Mamet’s Films

Writing is a skill that can apply to so many facets of the entertainment industry.

When we think about the movies that we see on television, on the internet, or at the movie theater, we don’t always think about the fact that before the film could be produced, someone had to write the story, which later became the script for that film.Mamet has a knack for screenwriting, or writing for film and television. He showcased this talent in 1981 when he adapted the 1947 film, The Postman Always Rings Twice. In Mamet’s version, there was a heavier emphasis on the elements of sexuality and violence.In 1987, he wrote the screenplay for The Untouchables. When this movie garnered great success, he tried his hand at directing a film. His first was House of Games.

This picture tells the story of a psychologist involved in a web of deceit. The star of the film is Lindsay Crouse, who was Mamet’s wife at that time.After directing a few more films, Mamet decided to return to writing.

And the Award goes to . .


With the arrival of awards season, some people take interest in celebrity attire on the red carpet, while others take a genuine interest in the awards themselves. For many celebrities, however, it’s an honor just to be nominated. As a multiple recipient and nominee for several awards, Mamet knows this feeling very well.He received two Oscar nominations for his screenwriting on The Verdict and Wag the Dog. He also received two Tony nominations for his plays Glengarry Glen Ross and Speed-the-Plow.

Other Notable Facts about Mamet

David Mamet is not just a screenwriter.

He practices various forms of writing and has won many awards for his work in film. He writes essays and even serves as a contributing blogger for the Huffington Post and dramatist for the British Broadcasting Channel (BBC) radio.Mamet also received a Pulitzer Prize for writing and was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame. In addition, he is one of the founding members of the Atlantic Theatre Company.

Lesson Summary

David Mamet is a Chicago-born author, essayist, screenwriter, and film director who is known for using strong male characters in his work. Among his many works, two of his plays received Tony nominations, and two of his films received Oscar nominations. He also won a Pulitzer Prize and was inducted into the American Theatre Hall of Fame.

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