Alan Bennett, 1934–, British playwright and actor, b. Leeds, England, grad. Exeter College, Oxford (1957). Bennett became a fixture of the British cultural scene as part of the satirical revue Beyond the Fringe (1960), and since then has continued to act and write prolifically for the stage, television, film, and radio, portraying his usually quintessentially English characters with a unique blend of gentle compassion and ironic wit. His more than a dozen stage plays began with Forty Years On (1968). Bennett is also well known for his many teleplays, among them the celebrated monologue series Talking Heads (1987, 1998), which—poignant, revealing, and often very funny—profile ordinary English lives as performed by superb British actors. Among his stage plays, the most celebrated are The Madness of George III (1991; screenplay, The Madness of King George, 1994) and The History Boys (2004; screenplay, 2006). He has also written essays, diaries, novels, and novellas, e.g., The Uncommon Reader (2007) and Smut (2011).
See his autobiographical Writing Home (1994), Untold Stories (2005), and A Life like Other People's (2009); biography by A. Games (2001); studies by P. Wolfe (1999) and J. H. O'Mealy (2001).