Alan Bennett

Playwright, Screenwriter, Actor
Extremely shy and private writer-actor Alan Bennett lost his anonymity early when the success of the "Beyond the Fringe" revue (both in London and New York) thrust him into the limelight in the early 1960s. The least ... Read more »
Born: 05/09/1934 in Leeds, England, GB

Filmography

Actor (17)

Changing Stages 2000 - 2001 (TV Show)

Actor

The Wind in the Willows 1996 - 1997 (TV Show)

Voice

Westminster Abbey 1996 - 1997 (TV Show)

Actor

In Love and War 1996 (Movie)

Porter (Actor)

The Madness of King George 1994 (Movie)

2nd MP (Actor)

Ashenden 1991 - 1992 (TV Show)

Actor

Fortunes of War 1987 - 1988 (TV Show)

Actor

Little Dorrit 1988 (Movie)

Bishop (Actor)

Dreamchild 1985 (Movie)

of Mock Turtle (Voice)

Return of the Jedi 1983 (Movie)

Ewok (Actor)

The Secret Policeman's Other Ball 1980 (Movie)

(Actor)

Long Shot 1977 (Movie)

Neville's Doctor (Actor)

Pleasure at Her Majesty's 1975 (Movie)

(Actor)

Telling Tales (TV Show)

Actor

The Young Visiters (TV Show)

Narrator
Writer (14)

The Lady in the Van 2015 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

The Lady in the Van 2015 (Movie)

(from play: "The Lady in the Van") (Source Material)

The History Boys 2006 (Movie)

(adaptation) (Screenplay)

The History Boys 2006 (Movie)

(from play: "The History Boys") (Source Material)

Talking Heads 2: Miss Fozzard Finds Her Feet 2000 - 2001 (TV Show)

Writer

The Madness of King George 1994 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

The Madness of King George 1994 (Movie)

("The Madness of George III") (Play as Source Material)

Prick Up Your Ears 1987 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

The Insurance Man 1984 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

A Private Function 1983 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

A Private Function 1983 (Movie)

(From Story)

An Englishman Abroad 1982 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

102 Boulevard Haussmann (TV Show)

Screenplay

A Question of Attribution (TV Show)

Writer
Director (1)

Talking Heads: Bed Among the Lentils 1988 - 1989 (TV Show)

Director

Biography

Extremely shy and private writer-actor Alan Bennett lost his anonymity early when the success of the "Beyond the Fringe" revue (both in London and New York) thrust him into the limelight in the early 1960s. The least spectacular of the madcap ensemble, which also included fellow Oxford grads Jonathan Miller, Peter Cook and Dudley Moore, this sandy-haired son of a Yorkshire butcher was a deft character player who never seemed to risk the others' flights of improvisation. Never stumbling, never soaring, the cautiously letter-perfect Bennett was, even then, more the writer than performer. Yet, of that talented quartet, Bennett has shown the most staying power, becoming arguably Britain's most endearing man of letters. In his writings for the stage, film, TV and literary weeklies, one can hear the voice of the last country parson.

Relationships

Walter Bennett

Father
played double bass in a jazz band and brewed herb beer at home, succeeding at neither

Lilian Bennett

Mother
made a religion of getting along, eventually retreating into what Bennett calls "her flat, unmemoried days"

Gordon Bennett

Brother
older born c. 1931

Anne Davies

Companion
Bennett detailed their relationship in an interview with The New Yorker in 1993

EDUCATION

University of Oxford

Oxford , England 1962

Exeter College, Oxford University

1957
attended on scholarship; met Jonathan Miller, Peter Cook and Dudley Moore(Honors)

Milestones

2006

Penned the film adaptation of his award-winning play, "The History Boys"

2004

Wrote the critically-acclaimed play, "The History Boys" which premiered at the National Theatre; opened on Broadway in 2006

1999

Returned to playwrighting with "The Lady in the Van", starring Maggie Smith; based on true life incident recounted in Bennett's memoirs

1997

Acted in miniseries adaptation of Anthony Powell's novel "A Dance to the Music of Time"; telecast aired on Channel 4 in Great Britain

1996

Voiced the mole in the animated feature adaptation of "The Wind in the Willows"; released theatrically in the UK; aired on the Family Channnel in the USA

1996

Wrote and appeared in the BBC's "Westminster Documentary", which aired on PBS

1995

Received Oscar nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay, "The Madness of King George" (from his 1991 play); also appeared in cameo near its end as a member of Parliament

1992

Second collaboration with director Schlesinger, "A Question of Attribution"; shown as part of "Masterpiece Theatre"

1992

Writer and actor in "A Chip in the Sugar", which appeared on "Masterpice Theatre" as part of "2 Monologus: In My Defense-A Chip in the Sugar"; one of the original six monologues of the BBC's "Talking Heads" series

1991

Scripted BBC movie "102 Boulevard Haussmann", about French novelist Marcel Proust; aired in USA on Arts & Entertainment Network (A&E)

1991

Had stage hit with "The Madness of George III", starring Nigel Hawthorne

1991

Authored play "The Wind in the Willows", adapted from Kenneth Grahame's children's book, and "The Lady in the Van", his memoir of a deranged woman who parked her car in his garden and stayed there for 15 years until her death in 1989 ("One seldom was able

1989

Directed "Bed Among the Lentils" episode of BBC's "Talking Heads" series, starring Maggie Smith as the alcoholic wife of a trendy vicar; shown in the USA on PBS' "Masterpiece Theatre"

1987

Wrote screenplay for "Prick Up Your Ears", adapting John Lahr's biography of playwright Joe Orton; directed by Frears

1987

Played the Bishop in feature adaptation of Charles Dickens' "Little Dorrit"

1984

First produced screenplay, "A Private Function"

1983

John Schlesinger directed Bennett's "An Englishman Abroad" (BBC), a 65-minute script recreating a true meeting between the actress Coral Browne and exiled British traitor Guy Burgess in dreary 1950s Moscow

1978

Feature acting debut, "Long Shot"

1976

First film appearance in the performance documentary "Pleasure at Her Majesty's"

1975

"Habeas Corpus" appeared on Broadway two years after its Oxford, England debut

1970

Authored another two-act, "Getting On"

1968

Wrote and acted in two-act play "Forty Years On"

1966

Scripted and acted in the award-winning BBC series "On the Margin"

1964

British TV acting debut in special farewell performance of "Beyond the Fringe" by the original cast

1962

Broadway debut with "Beyond the Fringe"

1959

Stage debut in the ensemble of the revue "Better Late"

1952

Served in the British Army, Intelligence Corps

Performed in "Beyond the Fringe" in Scotland and London with Jonathan Miller, Peter Cook and Dudley Moore

Specially written for TV, "By Alan Bennett--Six Plays" appeared in installments on London Weekend Television (LWT); four of the plays directed by Stephen Frears, who had acted with Bennett in "Long Shot"

Bonus Trivia

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Bennett refused an honorary degree from Oxford in 1999 in protest over the university's acceptance of a donation from Rupert Murdoch.

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