Tom Stoppard celebrates 75th birthday
July 3, 2012
The renowned British playwright Tom Stoppard celebrated his 75th birthday on 3 July. Born as Tomáš Straussler into a Jewish family in the Czech town of Zlín, he left for Singapore with his parents in 1939. His father, who was a doctor, died during the war, and he acquired the name Stoppard from his stepfather, with whom the family moved to the U.K.
Stoppard first worked as a critic and journalis before later writing his own theatre plays. He was also actively involved in human rights issues in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe. In 1977, he met Václav Havel in Communist Czechoslovakia, whose plays Stoppard translated into English. He supported dissidents in Czechoslovakia, organised a petition for Havel’s release, and in 1983 established a prize for Czechoslovak writers who suffered repression under the Communist regime.