David Mamet biography

David Mamet

Playwright, Film writer

1947 –


Who is David Mamet?

David Alan Mamet is an American playwright, essayist, screenwriter, and film director.

As a playwright, Mamet has won a Pulitzer Prize and received Tony nominations for Glengarry Glen Ross and Speed-the-Plow. As a screenwriter, he has received Oscar nominations for The Verdict and Wag the Dog. Mamet's books include: The Old Religion, a novel about the lynching of Leo Frank; Five Cities of Refuge: Weekly Reflections on Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy, a Torah commentary with Rabbi Lawrence Kushner; The Wicked Son, a study of Jewish self-hatred and antisemitism; Bambi vs. Godzilla, a commentary on the movie business; The Secret Knowledge: On the Dismantling of American Culture, a commentary on cultural and political issues; and Three War Stories, a trio of novellas about the physical and psychological effects of war.

Feature films which Mamet both wrote and directed include Redbelt, The Spanish Prisoner, House of Games, Spartan, Heist, State and Main, The Winslow Boy, Oleanna, Homicide, Things Change, and most recently the 2013 HBO film Phil Spector, starring Al Pacino as Spector with Helen Mirren and Jeffrey Tambor.

Famous Quotes:

  • The proclamation and repetition of first principles is a constant feature of life in our democracy. Active adherence to these principles, however, has always been considered un-American. We recipients of the boon of liberty have always been ready, when faced with discomfort, to discard any and all first principles of liberty, and, further, to indict those who do not freely join with us in happily arrogating those principles.
  • Always tell the truth -- it's the easiest thing to remember.
  • In a world we find terrifying, we ratify that which doesn't threaten us.
  • A dramatic experience concerned with the mundane may inform but it cannot release; and one concerned essentially with the aesthetic politics of its creators may divert or anger, but it cannot enlighten.
  • The pursuit of Fashion is the attempt of the middle class to co-opt tragedy. In adopting the clothing, speech, and personal habits of those in straitened, dangerous, or pitiful circumstances, the middle class seeks to have what it feels to be the exigent and nonequivocal experiences had by those it emulates.
  • We respond to a drama to that extent to which it corresponds to our dream life.
  • The popularity of disaster movies expresses a collective perception of a world threatened by irresistible and unforeseen forces which nevertheless are thwarted at the last moment. Their thinly veiled symbolic meaning might be translated thus: We are innocent of wrongdoing. We are attacked by unforeseeable forces come to harm us. We are, thus, innocent even of negligence. Though those forces are insuperable, chance will come to our aid and we shall emerge victorious.
  • The Oscars demonstrate the will of the people to control and judge those they have elected to stand above them (much, perhaps, as in bygone days, an election celebrated the same).
  • People may or may not say what they mean... but they always say something designed to get what they want.
  • We live in oppressive times. We have, as a nation, become our own thought police; but instead of calling the process by which we limit our expression of dissent and wonder censorship, we call it concern for commercial viability.

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Nov 30, 1947
Also known as
  • David Alan Mamet
  • Richard Weisz
  • Judaism
  • Jewish people
  • United States of America
  • Goddard College
  • Francis W. Parker School
Lived in
  • Vermont

on July 23, 2013


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"David Mamet." Biographies.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 28 Jul 2021. <https://www.biographies.net/people/en/david_mamet>.

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