Emigrated to Singapore with his family in 1939 to avoid the Nazis, and in 1941 had to flee again to India to escape the Japanese invasion of Singapore.
Left school at the age of 17 to begin his career as a journalist and drama critic for the Western Daily Press in Bristol, England.
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, first staged at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 1966, thrust him into the international theatre spotlight after debuting on Broadway in October of 1967.
Made his directorial debut, and won the Golden Lion Award at the 47th International Venice Film Festival (in 1990), for Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead, the feature-film adaptation of his award-winning play.
Was knighted by Queen Elizabeth in 1997 and admitted to the Order of Merit in 2000.
Was the 2013 recipient of the Pen Pinter Prize, which was established in 2009 in honor of the late Nobel Prize-winning English playwright Harold Pinter.
2013, Emmy — Outstanding Writing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Dramatic Special: Nominee
1985, Oscar — Best Writing (Original Screenplay): Nominee
1999, Critics' Choice Awards — Best Original Screenplay: Winner
1995, Tony — Play: Nominee
2007, Tony — Play: Winner
2001, Tony — Play: Nominee
1990, Venice Film Festival — Best Film: Winner
1968, Tony — Play: Winner
1976, Tony — Play: Winner
2013, Writers Guild Awards — The Laurel Award for Screenwriting Achievement: Winner
2013, European Film Awards — European Screenwriter: Nominee
1984, Tony — Play: Winner
1989, BAFTA Film Awards — Best Adapted Screenplay: Nominee
1999, Berlin Film Festival — Silver Bear for Outstanding Individual Performance: Winner
1999, Golden Globe — Best Screenplay - Motion Picture: Winner
1999, BAFTA Film Awards — Best Original Screenplay: Nominee
1998, Oscar — Best Writing (Original Screenplay): Winner
2008, Tony — Play: Nominee
1999, Writers Guild Awards — Original Screenplay: Winner
2013, BAFTA Film Awards — Outstanding British Film: Nominee