Harold Pinter

On this date in 1930, playwright Harold Pinter was born in East London to a Jewish family. He briefly studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts and acted under the name “David Baron.” The playwright, director, actor, poet and political activist wrote 29 plays and 21 screenplays and directed 27 theater productions. His plays include “The Birthday Party,” “The Caretaker,” “The Homecoming” and “The Betrayal.” Screenplays include “The Servant,” The Go-Between,” “The French Lieutenant’s Woman” and “The Handmaid’s Tale.”

Pinter’s many awards include the Wilfred Owen Prize for Poetry (opposing the Iraq war), the Shakespeare Prize (Hamburg), the European Prize for Literature (Vienna) and the Laurence Olivier Award. He was married to Lady Antonia Fraser. Pinter continued to dabble in acting, including portraying Sir Thomas Bertrand in the film “Mansfield Park.” His fight against cancer, he said, had fortified his commitment to political activism. That activism included signing a letter to the BBC asking that its daily “Thought for the Day” should also include those with secular views. D. 2008.

PHOTO: Pinter in the Netherlands in 1962; Dutch National Archives.

Freedom From Religion Foundation