Michael Frayn

Playwright, Novelist, Screenwriter
Acclaimed playwright and novelist Michael Frayn initially rose to prominence in his British homeland writing satirical columns, first for Manchester Guardian and later for The Observer. His early books were compilations ... Read more »
Born: 09/08/1933 in London, England, GB

Filmography

Writer (6)

Remember Me? 1999 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

First and Last 1993 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

The Secret Policeman's Third Ball 1987 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Clockwise 1986 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Copenhagen (TV Show)

Screenplay

Copenhagen (TV Show)

Play as Source Material

Biography

Acclaimed playwright and novelist Michael Frayn initially rose to prominence in his British homeland writing satirical columns, first for Manchester Guardian and later for The Observer. His early books were compilations of his columns, but he soon graduated to autobiographical novels like "The Russian Interpreter" (1966) and "Toward the End of the Morning" (1967), the latter chronicling his days as a Fleet Street journalist. Though he had co-scripted "Zounds!" for the Cambridge University Footlights while a student, it had failed to move to the West End as expected, so his first professional production was "The Two of Us" (1970), four playlets performed by Richard Briers and Lynn Redgrave. Trained by the British Army to speak Russian, he has used his expertise most frequently to translate Chekhov's plays, beginning with the National Theatre's "The Cherry Orchard" (1977), followed by "Wild Honey" (1984), "The Three Sisters" (1985), "The Seagull" (1986) and "Uncle Vanya" (1987).

Relationships

Daughter
born c. 1964 mother, Gillian Palmer

Thomas Frayn

Father
worked for an asbestos company gave children asbestos samples to play with despite being deaf, wrote comic sketches to perform at Christmas

Violet Frayn

Mother
died of a heart attack at age 45 in 1945

Rebecca Frayn

Daughter
born c, 1962 eldest of his three daughters mother, Gillian Palmer married Andy Harries, the head of comedy at Granada TV, who hoped to bring a televised version of Frayn's novel "Towards the End of Morning" (1967) to the screen eldest of his three

Gillian Palmer

Wife
married on February 18, 1960 separated c. 1980 divorced in 1990

Claire Tomalin

Wife
began living together in 1981 married c. 1993 former editor of the London Sunday Times

EDUCATION

Emmanuel College, University of Cambridge

1954 - 1957
edited a literary magazine; originally enrolled as a French and Russian major before switching to philosophy

Dothboys Hall

Sutton High School for Boys

Sutton

Kingston Grammar School

transferred there after mother's death when father could no longer afford both a housekeeper and the fees for Dothboys Hall; wrote poetry, ran class magazine and first became a Communist

Milestones

2004

Reteamed with Blakemore for "Democracy"; received a Tony nomination for Best Play

1998

Reteamed with Blakemore for "Copenhagen", his first original (not a translation) play at London's National Theater; moved to Broadway in 2000 and earned Tony Award for Best Play; 16th original work for the stage and the sixth directed by Blakemore, who al

1997

Scripted Nick Hurran's feature "Remember Me?"

1990

Had a spectacular failure with "Look, Look", which closed after just 27 London performances

1989

Wrote screenplay for "First and Last"

1986

First screenplay credit, "Clockwise"

1986

Received second Tony nomination for "Benefactors" (originally produced in London in 1984); also directed by Blakemore

1984

Translated Chekhov's first play, "Wild Honey", which enjoyed productions in London and in NYC (1986), starring Ian McKellan

1982

Reteamed with Blakemore for the extremely successful "Noises Off", which moved to Broadway and earned a 1984 Tony nomination for Best Play

1980

First association with director Michael Blakemore, "Make and Break"

1977

First performance of a play translated by him from Russian, "The Cherry Orchard" at the National Theatre

1976

Wrote "Clouds", a play about Cuba that starred Tom Courtenay and Felicity Kendal

1975

After London performances, "Alphabetical Order" produced at New Haven's Long Wharf Theatre

1969

First play professionally produced, "The Two of Us"; commissioned by Alexander H Cohen to write a two-character sketch, expanded idea into four playlets starring Richard Briers and Lynn Redgrave

1966

Published first novel, "The Tin Men"

1957

Co-wrote (with John Edwards) "Zounds!" for the Cambridge University Footlights; suffered the rare indignity of the production's failing to transfer to London's West End

1952

Served in the Artillery and Intelligence Corps of the British Army; sent to Cambridge where he learned (along with Alan Bennett) to speak Russian from Dame Elizabeth Hill

His play "Now You Know" toured the United Kingdom but failed to make it to the West End

Raised in the London suburb of Ewell

Promoted to columnist at the <i>Manchester Guardian</i>

Became columnist for <i>The Observer</i>, London, England

Worked as a reporter for <i>Manchester Guardian</i>, Manchester, England

Wrote six-part BBC comedy "Making Faces" starring Eleanor Bron

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