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Tom Stoppard was born in Zlin, Czechoslovakia and as a child moved to England, via Singapore and India, with his family. He began his working life in 1954 as a junior reporter on The Western Daily Press in Bristol.
In 1967, his first full-length play, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, was staged by the National Theatre. This play was followed by other award-winning works, including Jumpers, Every Good Boy Deserves Favour (with Andre Previn), Travesties, Night and Day, The Real Thing, Hapgood, Arcadia, Indian Ink, The Invention of Love, The Coast of Utopia (a trilogy), and Rock ‘n’ Roll. His many stage adaptations and translations include Undiscovered Country (from Schnitzler); On the Razzle (Nestroy); Rough Crossing (Molnar); Henry IV (Pirandello); Heroes (Sibleyras); and The Seagull, Ivanov, and The Cherry Orchard (Chekhov). He has won four Tony Awards and two Olivier Awards.
Mr. Stoppard has also written for radio, television and film. His screen credits include Brazil (directed by Terry Gilliam), bringing him an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay; Empire of the Sun (directed by Steven Spielberg), bringing him a BAFTA Award nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay; Enigma (directed by Michael Apted); and Shakespeare in Love (directed by John Madden), bringing him a BAFTA Award nomination and an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. He directed the movie version of his own screenplay of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, which won the top prize, the Golden Lion Award, at the 1990 Venice International Film Festival.
He received a knighthood in 1997, and in 2000 was awarded the Order of Merit by Her Majesty the Queen.