Tom Stoppard

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Zlín, Czechoslovakia
Birth Sign
Zlín, Czechoslovakia

Tom Stoppard is a British dramatist and screenwriter of Czech descent. This prominent Jewish author had to flee Nazi forces assaulting his hometown and then Japanese forces seizing Singapore. The play ‘Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead’ was his biggest hit. He went on to write many more plays and translate works by Mrozek, Nestroy, Schnitzler, and Havel. His works show the influence of Polish and Czech absurdists. He is also an accomplished scriptwriter. He co-wrote the screenplays for several award-winning films, including “Brazil” and “Shakespeare in Love.” His work coined the word ‘Stoppardian,’ which refers to works that use wit and comedy to approach philosophical themes. His early works, however, were condemned for lacking social commitment and content, which he did not deny because he did not want any of them to be useful. Following his tour to the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, he became more active in human rights problems. He has been active with ‘Amnesty International,’ and has spoken out against censorship and state repression. He has received numerous honors and prizes for his contributions to literature and society.

Childhood and Adolescence

Tom Stoppard was born on July 3, 1937, as Tomá Straussler to Martha Bekova and Eugen Straussler in Zlin, Czechoslovakia’s Moravia region. He was born into a Jewish family.

His family escaped to Singapore when the Nazis occupied Czechoslovakia in 1939. Martha and her two sons eventually escaped to Australia to avoid the Japanese. Eugen remained in captivity in Singapore and died there.

In 1941, the boys and their mother moved to Darjeeling, India, where they attended the Mount Hermon School. Martha later married Kenneth Stoppard, a British army soldier who gave the boys his surname.

His stepfather’s pride in being British had a big influence on him. He began his studies at Dolphin School in Nottinghamshire and finished at Pocklington School in East Riding, Yorkshire.

Tom Stoppard’s Career

Stoppard dropped out of school in 1954, opting not to pursue a university education—a decision he later regretted—and went to work as a journalist for the ‘Western Daily Press in Bristol.

In 1958, he was hired as a feature writer, columnist, and secondary drama reviewer by the ‘Bristol Evening World.’ Early in their careers, he became acquainted with director John Boorman and actor Peter O’Toole.
Until his debut stage play, ‘A Walk on the Water,’ was presented in Hamburg, he concentrated on short radio dramas. In 1963, it was carried on British Independent Television.

‘Lord Malmquist and Mr. Moon,’ published in 1966, is a funny tale about Moon, a foolish historian who accepts temporary employment as Lord Malquist’s Boswell, a penniless aristocrat.
His 1974 drama ‘Travesties’ is a remembrance of Henry Carr’s days in Zurich during World War I, where he interacted with James Joyce, Vladimir Lenin, and Tristan Tzara.

‘Night and Day,’ a satire on the British news media, was written in 1978 and highlights the conflict of ideas between what is mentioned in reports and what the reporter is actually thinking.

‘The Real Thing,’ his play, was originally staged in 1982. It explores the concept of honesty, compares semblance with reality, and encourages viewers to consider a play within a play.
‘The Dog It Was That Died,’ written for BBC Radio in 1982, is about a spy’s quandary regarding who he actually works for and has also been adapted for television.

He co-wrote the dark comedic fantasy picture ‘Brazil,’ set in a dystopian world of whimsical machines and centered on a guy trying to find a woman who appears in his dreams.

He co-wrote the 1998 British romantic comedy film ‘Shakespeare in Love with Marc Norman, which recounts writer William Shakespeare’s love affair when he was composing the play ‘Romeo and Juliet.’
‘Parade’s End,’ a five-part HBO miniseries that debuted in 2013, is his adaptation of Ford Madox Ford’s tetralogy of books of the same name.

Tom’s Major Projects

Stoppard’s absurdist, existentialist tragicomedy “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead,” based on the enlarged escapades of the two courtiers from Shakespeare’s “Hamlet,” premiered at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 1966 and is is received acclaim.

Stoppard’s play ‘Arcadia,’ written in 1993, is set in two 180-year periods. Many reviewers consider it to be the best play by one of the English language’s most important playwrights.

Tom Stoppard’s Awards

In 1968, Stoppard’s play ‘Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead’ received the Tony Award for Best Play and the New York Drama Critics Circle Best Play of the Year.

‘Travesties,’ his play, earned the Evening Standard Award for Best Comedy of the Year and the Tony Award for Best Play in 1974. (1976).

In 1993, ‘Arcadia’ earned the Critics’ Circle Theatre Award for Best New Play and the Evening Standard Award for Best Play of the Year, as well as the Laurence Olivier Award for ‘Best New Play.’

Many prizes were given to ‘Shakespeare in Love,’ including the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay (1998) and the Silver Bear for Outstanding Single Achievement (1999).

He has been awarded the CBE as well as the Knight Bachelor and the Order of Merit.

Personal History and Legacy

Stoppard married twice, first to a nurse named Josie Ingie and subsequently to Miriam Stern. He was also linked to Felicity Kendal, an actress. Oliver, Barnaby, Ed, and Will are his sons from each marriage.

The ‘Tom Stoppard Prize,’ established in Stockholm in 1983, is given annually to authors of Czech descent and contains a 30,000 Czech crown prize as well as a symbolic marble foundation cube sculpted by Peter Tuscany.

Estimated Net worth

Tom is one of the wealthiest playwrights and one of the most popular. Tom Stoppard’s net worth is estimated to be $3 million, according to Wikipedia, Forbes, and Business Insider.


‘If you carry your childhood with you, you never grow older,’ said this Czech-born British playwright.
The famed writer rewrote blockbusters including ‘Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade,’ ‘Sleepy Hollow,’ and ‘K-19: The Widowmaker as an uncredited script doctor.