Anton Pavlovich Chekhov was born in the provincial town of Taganrog, Ukraine, in 1860. In the mid-1880s, Chekhov became a physician, and shortly thereafter he began to write short stories. Chekhov started writing plays a few years later, mainly short comic sketches he called vaudvilles. The first collection of his humorous writings, Motley Stories, appeared in 1886, and his first play, Ivanov, was produced in Moscow the next year. In 1896, the Alexandrinsky Theater in St. Petersburg performed his first full- length drama, The Seagull. Some of Chekhov's most successful plays include The Cherry Orchard, Uncle Vanya, and Three Sisters. Chekhov brought believable but complex personalizations to his characters, while exploring the conflict between the landed gentry and the oppressed peasant classes. Chekhov voiced a need for serious, even revolutionary, action, and the social stresses he described prefigured the Communist Revolution in Russia by twenty years. He is considered one of Russia's greatest playwrights. Chekhov contracted tuberculosis in 1884, and was certain he would die an early death. In 1901, he married Olga Knipper, an actress who had played leading roles in several of his plays. Chekhov died in 1904, spending his final years in Yalta.
David Mamet, November 30, 1947 - David Mamet was born on November 30, 1947 in Flossmoor, Illinois. He attended Goddard College in Vermont and the Neighborhood Playhouse School of Theater in New York. He began his career as an actor and a director, but soon turned to playwriting. He won acclaim in 1976 with three Off-Broadway plays, "The Duck Variations," "Sexual Perversity in Chicago" and "American Buffalo." His work became known for it's strong male characters and the description of the decline of morality in the world. In 1984, Mamet received the Pulitzer Prize in Literature for his play, "Glengarry Glen Ross." In 1981, before he received the Pulitzer, Mamet tried his hand at screenwriting. he started by adapting "The Postman Always Rings Twice," and then adapting his own "Glengarry Glen Ross" as well as writing "The Untouchables" and Wag the Dog." He also taught at Goddard College, Yale Drama School and New York University. Mamet won the Jefferson Award in 1974, the Obie Award in 1976 and 1983, the New York Drama Critics Circle Award in 1977 and 1984, the Outer Circle Award in 1978, the Society of West End Theater Award in 1983, The Pulitzer Prize in 1984, The Dramatists Guild Hall-Warriner Award in 1984, and American Academy Award in 1986 and a Tony Award in 1987. He is considered to be one of the greatest artists in his field.