Tom Stoppard

portrait of Tom Stoppard
At Russian reception for The Coast of Utopia, 4 October 2007

Born: 3 July 1937, Zlín, Czechoslovakia

Born Tomáš Straussler in the Moravian town that was headquarters of Bata Shoes, where his father worked as a doctor. Immediately before the Nazi forces occupied the area, the company dispatched all of its Jewish employees to foreign operations. The Strausslers were sent to Singapore, immediately before the Japanese invaded. The father volunteered to stay with the British troops, sending the rest of the family to Australia. In 1941 the family moved to Darjeeling, India, and the father died in a Japanese POW camp. In 1945 Tom's mother married a British Army major, Kenneth Stoppard, and the next year the family moved to England. Tom was educated at Nottinghamshire and East Riding, Yorkshire before dropping out at seventeen to work as a journalist for the Western Daily Press of Bristol for four years, including theatre reviews. He completed his own first play in 1960 and other than some freelance reviewing for Scene magazine he devoted his time to writing from then on. A Ford Foundation grant allowed him to hole up in a Berlin mansion for five months in 1964, the result was Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Meet King Lear, which later became the hit Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. He has had a several major hits on stage and film and has collaborated on dialogue on the projects of others, including much of the dialogue for Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, as well as translating several plays by eastern-European authors. He has a healthy array of awards for his work, including an Oscar for the screenplay of Shakespeare in Love, a knighthood, and although he never went to college, honorary doctorates from Yale and Cambridge.

Biography from Wikipedia and Imagi-Nation

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