David Mamet (born November 30, 1947) is an American playwright, screenwriter, director, poet, essayist and novelist born to a Jewish family in Flossmoor, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago.
Educated at the Francis W. Parker School and at Goddard College and a founding member of the Atlantic Theater Company, Mamet first gained acclaim for a trio of off-Broadway plays in 1976, The Duck Variations, Sexual Perversity in Chicago, and American Buffalo.
He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1984 for Glengarry Glen Ross, which received its first Broadway revival in the summer of 2005. His work is characterized by playful plots overturning conventions and typically features strong male characters and their tough posturings, rhythmically profane dialogue, and charged verbal confrontations. His first screenplay was the 1981 production of The Postman Always Rings Twice based upon James M. Cain's novel. He won an Academy Award nomination for his next script, The Verdict.
In 1987 Mamet made his film directing debut with House of Games, starring his then-wife, Lindsay Crouse and a host of longtime stage associates. He remains a prolific writer and director, and has assembled an informal repertory company for his films, including William H. Macy, Joe Mantegna, Crouse, Rebecca Pidgeon (his wife since 1991), and Ricky Jay.
Like independent director John Sayles, Mamet funds his own films with the pay he gets from credited and uncredited rewrites of typically big-budget films. For instance, Mamet has done rewrites of the scripts for Hannibal and Hoffa, and turned in an early version of a script for Malcolm X that director Spike Lee rejected.
Three of Mamet's own films, House of Games, The Spanish Prisoner, and Heist have involved the world of con artists.
Mamet has published three novels, The Village in 1994, The Old Religion in 1997, and Wilson: a Consideration of the Sources in 2003. He has also written several non-fiction texts as well as a number of poems and children's stories. He was credited under the name "Richard Weisz" for Ronin.