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David Benioff (born David Friedman; September 25, 1970) is an American screenwriter, television producer and writer, and novelist. He is the co-creator and showrunner of the widely acclaimed award-winning HBO series Game of Thrones.

David Benioff
David Benioff by Gage Skidmore 2.jpg
Benioff in 2016
Born David Friedman
(1970-09-25) September 25, 1970 (age 47)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Alma mater Dartmouth College
The Collegiate School
Trinity College Dublin
University of California, Irvine
Occupation Screenwriter, television producer, television writer, novelist
Years active 2002–present
Spouse(s) Amanda Peet (m. 2006)
Children 3
Parent(s) Stephen Friedman

Contents

Early lifeEdit

Benioff was born David Friedman in New York City, to a Jewish family with roots in Romania, Austria, Poland and Russia.[1] He is the son of Barbara (Benioff) and Stephen Friedman, who is a former head of Goldman Sachs.[2] He is a distant cousin of Marc Benioff.[3] As an adult, he uses the last name of Benioff, his mother's maiden name, to avoid confusion with other writers named David Friedman.[4] He is the youngest of three children.[citation needed] He grew up in Manhattan, first in Peter Cooper Village, then on 86th Street where he spent most of his childhood, before eventually moving near the U.N. headquarters when he was sixteen.[5]

He is an alumnus of The Collegiate School and of Dartmouth College. While at Dartmouth he was a member of Phi Delta Alpha Fraternity and the Sphinx Senior Society. After he graduated in 1992, he worked in a number of jobs; for a time as a club bouncer in San Francisco, and he became a high school English teacher at Poly Prep in Brooklyn, New York City for two years, and served as the school's wrestling coach.[5][6] Benioff became interested in pursuing an academic career, and went to Trinity College Dublin in 1995 for a one-year program to study Irish literature, and while in Dublin he met D.B. Weiss, who would later become his collaborator.[1] He wrote a thesis on Samuel Beckett while at Trinity College, but decided against a career in academia after writing the thesis.[5] He worked as a radio DJ in Moose, Wyoming for a while.[7] He then applied to join the Creative Writing Program at the University of California Irvine after reading The Mysteries of Pittsburgh by Michael Chabon (an alumnus there),[8] and received a Master of Fine Arts degree in creative writing there in 1999.[9]

CareerEdit

Writing careerEdit

Benioff spent two years writing his first published novel The 25th Hour,[10][11] originally titled Fireman Down, and completed the book as his thesis for his master's degree at Irvine.[12][13] He was asked to adapt the book into a screenplay after Tobey Maguire read a preliminary trade copy and became interested in making a film of the book.[9] It was filmed as 25th Hour, starring Edward Norton and directed by Spike Lee.[14][13] He then wrote a collection of short stories titled When the Nines Roll Over (And Other Stories) in 2004.[15]

Benioff drafted a screenplay of the mythological epic Troy (2004) for which Warner Bros pictures paid him $2.5 million.[16] He also wrote the script for the psychological thriller Stay (2005), which was directed by Marc Forster and starred Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts. His screenplay for The Kite Runner (2007), adapted from the novel of the same name, marked his second collaboration with director Marc Forster. He was hired in 2004 to write the screenplay for the X-Men spin-off X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009), and worked on the script for three years.

In 2006, Benioff became interested in adapting the A Song of Ice and Fire novel series by George R.R. Martin and began working with D.B. Weiss on a proposed television series Game of Thrones.[17] The pilot was put into development by HBO in 2007 and the series greenlit in 2010. They act as the executive producers, showrunners and writers of the show, which began airing on HBO in 2011. Benioff and Weiss had previously worked together on a script for a horror film titled The Headmaster, but it was never made.[5]

In 2008, his second novel, City of Thieves was published. He has been hired by Universal Pictures in October 2007 to write an adapted screenplay of the Charles R. Cross biography of Kurt Cobain but the screenplay was not used.[18]

On April 10, 2014, Benioff announced he and D.B. Weiss had taken on their first feature film project to write, produce and direct Dirty White Boys, a novel by Pulitzer prize-winning author Stephen Hunter.[19][20] On July 19, 2017, Benioff announced that he and Weiss are going to begin production on another HBO series, titled Confederate, after the final season of Game of Thrones. Benioff and Weiss said, "We have discussed Confederate for years, originally as a concept for a feature film, but our experience on Thrones has convinced us that no one provides a bigger, better storytelling canvas than HBO."[21]

Directing careerEdit

Benioff and D.B. Weiss together directed two episodes of Game of Thrones, but used a coin-flip to decide who would get the credit on the show. Benioff was given the credit for episode 3 of the third season, "Walk of Punishment", while Weiss was credited with "Two Swords", the first episode of season 4.[5] Benioff and Weiss will direct the series finale of Game of Thrones.[22]

Personal lifeEdit

On September 30, 2006, Benioff married actress Amanda Peet in New York City.[23] Together they have three children: Frances "Frankie"[24] Pen Friedman,[25] born February 20, 2007;[26] Molly June Friedman,[25] born in 2010; and Henry Peet[27] Friedman,[25] born December 6, 2014.[28] The family lives in Manhattan and Beverly Hills, California.

BibliographyEdit

AuthorEdit

Title Year Type Note
The 25th Hour 2002 Novel Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Plume; Reissue edition (January 29, 2002)
Language: English
ISBN 0-452-28295-0
When the Nines Roll Over (and Other Stories) 2004 Novel Hardcover: 223 pages
Publisher: Viking Books (August 19, 2004)
Language: English
ISBN 0-670-03339-1
City of Thieves 2008 Novel Hardcover: 281 pages
Publisher: Viking Books (May 15, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN 0-670-01870-8

FilmographyEdit

Year Title Director Writer Producer Notes
2002 25th Hour Yes Nominated—Boston Society of Film Critics Award for Best Screenplay (2002)
2004 Troy Yes
2005 Stay Yes
2005 When the Nines Roll Over Yes Yes Yes Short film
2007 The Kite Runner Yes Christopher Award for Best Feature Film (2007)
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film (2008)
Nominated—BAFTA Award for Best Adapted Screenplay (2008)
Nominated—Satellite Award for Best Adapted Screenplay (2007)
2009 X-Men Origins: Wolverine Yes Wrote with Skip Woods
2009 Brothers Yes

TelevisionEdit

Year Title Director Writer Producer Notes
2011–present Game of Thrones Yes Yes Yes Co-creator
Executive producer
Directed and wrote episode:"Walk of Punishment"
Wrote: 45 episodes
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama Series (2015-2016)[29]
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series (2015-2016)[29]
Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form (2012)[30]
Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form (2013-2014)[31][32]
Producers Guild of America Award for Best Episodic Drama (2015)[33]
Golden Nymph Awards for Outstanding International Producer (2012)[34]
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama Series (2011-2014)[29]
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series (2011-2014)[29]
Nominated—Producers Guild of America Award for Best Episodic Drama (2011-2014, 2016)[35][36][37][38][39]
Nominated—BAFTA for Best International Programme (2013)[40]
Nominated—Writers Guild of America Award for Dramatic Series (2011-2012, 2014-2016)[41][42][43][44][45]
Nominated—Writers Guild of America Award for Episodic Drama (2015-2016)[44][45]
Nominated—Writers Guild of America Award for New Series (2011)[41]
Nominated—Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form (2015)[46]
Nominated—USC Scripter Award for Best Adapted Screenplay (2016-2017)[47][48]
Pending—Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form (2017)[49]
2013–2017 It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia Yes Wrote episode: "Flowers for Charlie"
Bored Lifeguard #1 (cameo in "The Gang Goes to a Water Park")
TBA Confederate Yes Yes Co-creator
Executive producer

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

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  2. ^ "Deaths: Benioff, Florence". The New York Times. August 28, 2000. Retrieved March 28, 2016. 
  3. ^ Bort, Julie (April 12, 2015). "How these famous Benioffs are related". Business Insider. Retrieved March 28, 2016. 
  4. ^ Alden, William (March 19, 2014). "Former Goldman Chief Walks Among Warriors and Dragons". DealBook. 
  5. ^ a b c d e "The Surprising Connection Between Game of Thrones and Monty Python". Vanity Fair. March 24, 2014. 
  6. ^ "Novelist and Hollywood Personality David Benioff: He’s a Former English Teacher". Chalkboard Champions. December 18, 2013. 
  7. ^ Ellis, James (October 27, 2009). "David Benioff". Metro. 
  8. ^ Gottlieb, Jeff (September 2, 2002). "Program Gives Writers a Professional Polish". The Los Angeles Times. 
  9. ^ a b Katie Kilkenny (May 12, 2011). "Benioff ’92 embraces storytelling in ‘surreal’ career". The Dartmouth. 
  10. ^ Jalon, Allan M. (May 13, 2001). "How to Write a Powerful First Novel in a Bland Age". Los Angeles Times. 
  11. ^ Gottlieb, Jeff (December 2, 2002). "His Finest Hour". Los Angeles Times. 
  12. ^ "Crowning achievement". UCI News. August 12, 2014. 
  13. ^ a b Benioff, David (May 3, 2003). "One more hour". The Guardian. 
  14. ^ "Q: What do Brad Pitt, Spike Lee and the Iliad have in common? A: David Benioff, Hollywood's latest wonder kid". Herald Scotland. March 29, 2003. 
  15. ^ Stephenson, Anne (August 30, 2004). "Screenwriter's short stories shine". USA TODAY. 
  16. ^ "Novelist and Hollywood Personality David Benioff: He's a Former English Teacher". Chalkboard Champions. December 18, 2013. Retrieved March 28, 2016. 
  17. ^ Mitchell, Elvis (May 8, 2013). UpClose: Game of Thrones with David Benioff and D.B. Weiss (FULL LENGTH). KCRW. Retrieved May 15, 2013. 
  18. ^ Rosenberg, Adam (April 5, 2010). "Kurt Cobain Biopic 'In The Works,' 16 Years After His Death". MTV News. Retrieved March 28, 2016. 
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  24. ^ http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20363398,00.html
  25. ^ a b c http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/gossip/la-et-mg-amanda-peet-baby-boy-henry-david-benioff-20141208-story.html
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  27. ^ http://www.celebritybabyscoop.com/2014/12/08/amanda-benioff-welcome
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  33. ^ "'Big Short' takes home top prize at Producers Guild of America awards". Fox News. January 24, 2016. Archived from the original on April 6, 2016. Retrieved April 12, 2017. 
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  38. ^ "'American Sniper,' 'Birdman' & 'Boyhood' Among PGA Awards Nominees". Deadline.com. January 5, 2015. Archived from the original on January 25, 2015. Retrieved April 12, 2017. 
  39. ^ DeSantis, Rachel (January 5, 2017). "People v. O.J., Stranger Things score Producers Guild Award nominations". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on January 6, 2017. Retrieved April 12, 2017. 
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  44. ^ a b McNary, Dave (February 13, 2016). "WGA Honors 'Big Short,' ‘Spotlight,' ‘Mad Men' at 68th Awards". Variety. Archived from the original on May 3, 2016. Retrieved April 12, 2017. 
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External linksEdit