David Mamet Biography

David Mamet, the celebrated playwright, screenwriter, author, and film director, is renowned for his unique style of clipped dialogues, famously known as ‘Mamet Speak’. With his distinctive writing style, filled with witty, clever, and edgy dialogues, Mamet has left a lasting impression on audiences worldwide. His plays, such as ‘Sexual Perversity in Chicago’, ‘The Duck Variations’, and ‘American Buffalo’, captivated audiences with their dark dramas and thrilling sense of tension. Exploring the lives of people and their con games, Mamet’s plays showcased his exceptional storytelling abilities. Additionally, Mamet’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play ‘Glengarry Glen Ross’ and ‘Boston Marriage’ further solidified his success. Not only a playwright, but Mamet is also an accomplished director, with films like ‘Homicide’, ‘Spartan’, and ‘The Winslow Boy’ under his belt. Furthermore, he has authored ‘The Wicked Son: Anti-Semitism’, a notable study of Jewish self-hatred.

Quick Facts

  • Also Known As: David Alan Mamet
  • Age: 76 Years, 76 Year Old Males
  • Family:
    • Spouse/Ex-: Rebecca Pidgeon (m. 1991), Lindsay Crouse (m. 1977–1990)
    • Father: Bernard Morris Mamet
    • Mother: Lenore June (née Silver)
    • Children: Clara Mamet, Noah Mamet, Willa Mamet, Zosia Mamet
  • Born Country: United States
  • Quotes By David Mamet
  • Screenwriters
  • Height: 5’6″ (168 cm), 5’6″ Males
  • Ancestry: Polish American
  • City: Chicago, Illinois
  • Grouping of People: Jewish Writer
  • U.S. State: Illinois
  • More Facts
  • Education: Goddard College

Childhood & Early Life

David Mamet was born in Chicago into a Jewish family, to Bernard Morris Mamet, an attorney, and Lenore June, a teacher. He attended the Francis W. Parker School, an independent school in Lincoln Park, Chicago. Later in 1964, he went to Goddard College in Plainfield, Vermont.


In 1970, Mamet wrote the play titled “Lakeboat,” which was a semi-autobiographical play. A revised version of the play was produced on stage almost a decade later. He came out with the play titled “The Duck Variations” in 1972, which is the story of two elderly men involved in discussions in a park, where they watch ducks.

In 1974, his play “Sexual Perversity in Chicago” was first premiered at the Organic Theatre Company in Chicago. The following year, it was made into an off-Broadway play and showcased at St. Clements Theatre in New York. Mamet directed his one-act play “Squirrels” in 1974, and it was staged at St. Nicholas Theater Company in Chicago, Illinois. The play was a comedy.

His play “American Buffalo” premiered at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago in 1975. In 1977, the play opened on Broadway and received immense positive reviews. Mamet’s play about the suppression of alternative energy technologies, titled “The Water Engine,” was staged for the first time in 1976 at The Public Theater.

In 1981, Mamet wrote the screenplay for the film “The Postman Always Rings Twice,” which was directed by Bob Rafelson. In 1982, he wrote the screenplay for the Academy Award-nominated film “The Verdict” and earned an Academy Award nomination in the “Best Screenplay” category.

On September 21, 1983, his play “Glengarry Glen Ross” premiered at London’s Royal National Theatre. The play also opened on Broadway the following year. In 1985, his four-act play “The Shawl” premiered in Chicago. Mamet made his directorial debut in 1987 with the film “House of Games,” for which he also wrote the screenplay. The film received good reviews and was praised by film critics.

In 1991, he wrote and directed the crime-drama film “Homicide,” which was showcased at the Cannes Film Festival. In 1997, he co-wrote the screenplay for the Academy Award-nominated film “Wag the Dog.” Mamet wrote the screenplay for the 1998 crime thriller film “Ronin,” which was well appreciated by critics. In 1999, his play “Boston Marriage” premiered at the American Repertory Theater, and he also directed the period drama film “The Winslow Boy.”

In 2004, he wrote and directed the political thriller film “Spartan,” which received mixed reviews. In 2006, he published the book “The Wicked Son: Anti-Semitism, Jewish self-hatred, and the Jews,” a collection of essays on the topic of Jewish identity.

In December 2009, his play “Race” premiered on Broadway. In 2012, his play “The Anarchist” made its debut on Broadway.

Major Works

Mamet’s debut directorial film, “House of Games,” received immense positive reviews and won the Best Film and Best Screenplay awards at the Venice Film Festival in 1987. His play “Glengarry Glen Ross” won the Pulitzer Prize in 1984 and received a Tony Award nomination. It was also made into a film of the same name.

Awards & Achievements

In 2010, Mamet was awarded the PEN/Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater Award for the category of Grand Master of American Theater.

Personal Life & Legacy

In 1977, Mamet married Lindsay Crouse, an American actress, with whom he had two children. The couple divorced in 1990. In 1991, he married Rebecca Pidgeon, a British actress and songwriter, and they have two children together.


This Pulitzer Prize-winning screenplay writer initially wanted to be an actor but turned to writing scripts and screenplays after failing to succeed as an actor.

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