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Harold Pinter, English dramatist, was born in 1930, in Hackney in London's East End. He is the son of an English tailor of Eastern European Jewish ancestry, and studied at London's Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and Central School of Speech and Drama. One of the most important English playwrights of the last half of the 20th century and the most influential of his generation, Pinter writes what have been called "comedies of menace." Using apparently commonplace characters and settings, he invests his plays with an atmosphere of fear, horror, and mystery. The peculiar tension he creates often derives as much from the long silences between speeches as from the often curt, ambiguous, yet vividly vernacular speeches themselves. His austere language is extremely distinctive, as is the ominous unease it provokes, and he is one of the few writers to have an adjective--Pinteresque--named for him. His plays frequently concern struggles for power in which the issues are obscure and the reasons for defeat and victory undefined. He has won many prestigious honors, the crowning of which was the 2005 Nobel Prize in Literature. Pinter began his theatrical career as an actor, touring with provincial repertory companies. He has continued to act throughout his career, working on stage, in films, and on radio and television. His first produced effort as a playwright, a one-act drama entitled The Room (1957), was followed such plays as The Birthday Party (1957, film 1967), The Dumb Waiter (1957), A Slight Ache (1958), and The Dwarfs (1960). Pinter adapted several of these and later plays for film. The Caretaker (1959, film 1963) was his first great commercial and critical success and was followed by numerous plays, including The Collection (1961), The Homecoming (1964, film 1969), Landscape (1967), Old Times (1970), No Man's Land (1974), Betrayal (1978, film 1981), A Kind of Alaska (1982), One for the Road (1984), Mountain Language (1988), Moonlight (1993), Ashes to Ashes (1996), Celebration (1999), and Remembrance of Things Past (2000). By and large, Pinter's later dramas, often more overtly political than his previous works, have been greeted with less critical acclaim than his earlier plays.