Guitar An American Life (Paperback)
|Author: Tim Brookes|
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David Mamet was born on the south side of Chicago in 1947, the son of a labor lawyer and a teacher. He and his younger sister, Lynn, grew up there under the linguistically punctilious eye of their father until David was almost 11, when his parents got a divorce. Lynn and David moved in with their mother and her new husband, who quickly started abusing his new stepchildren. The abuse upset David so much that he moved out of the house and took up with his father again. Living with him, Mamet began to develop an interest in theater, encouraged by an internship at a local community playhouse. In the late 1960s, Mamet went east to college at Goddard College in Vermont, where he devotedly studied theater and where he wrote his first play, "Camel." He was impressive enough as an undergraduate to land successive teaching jobs at Marlboro College and then at Goddard, where he developed a reputation as an incredibly demanding and rewarding teacher. When the teaching work ended, Mamet moved back to Chicago, where he founded the St. Nicholas Theatre Company and started staging his plays regularly, including THE DUCK VARIATIONS in 1972 and, in 1974, SEXUAL PERVERSITY IN CHICAGO, for which he won the important Joseph Jefferson Award for Best New Play. With that award under his belt, Mamet found more and more success, breaking box-office records at the Goodman Theater when his AMERICAN BUFFALO played there in 1975, winning an Obie for SEXUAL PERVERSITY, and winning both an Obie and a New York Drama Critics Circle Award for AMERICAN BUFFALO in 1976. In 1978, with his new wife Lindsay Crouse, Mamet moved to New York City, where his reputation as a playwright with a special gift for dialogue generated work writing screenplays. His first, the 1981 screenplay for THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE, met with mixed reviews, but his 1983 screenplay for THE VERDICT was nominated for an Academy Award. Over the next decade, Mamet won a Pulitzer Prize (for GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS in 1984), directed his first movie (HOUSE OF GAMES, in 1988), picked up another Academy Award Nomination (for THE UNTOUCHABLES in 1988), divorced Lindsay Crouse, married Rebecca Pidgeon, and wrote a seemingly endless number of plays, screenplays, essays, and children's books. By 1997, when his screenplay for WAG THE DOG both received an Academy Award nomination and seemed eerily to forecast a string of scandal-tainted events in the Clinton administration, Mamet was considered one of America's premiere dramatists. But the brighter his star shone in public, the more Mamet seemed to retreat from the glare of the entertainment industry, moving with Pidgeon and their daughter Clara into a 19th century farmhouse in Vermont, where he cultivated his image as a curmudgeon, a Luddite, and a cigar-smoking, straight-talking, hardworking community man.