Athol Fugard

Active - 1976 - 2012  |   Born - Jun 11, 1932   |   Genres - Drama

Share on

Biography by Jason Buchanan

An actor, writer, and director whose intensely political works has sometimes overshadowed his remarkable talent for character detail, Athol Fugard has been creating compelling dramas since the late '60s. A native of Middleburg, South Africa, who was born to English and Afrikaner parents, the aspiring writer was raised in Port Elizabeth and honed his skills at the University of Cape Town. Education eventually gave way to adventure, however, and Fugard soon abandoned school to hitchhike through Africa and, eventually, sail the world as a deckhand. Experimentation with acting led to writing, and though his efforts became notably more political, Fugard never lost sight of his characters -- conflicted figures whose deep internal conflicts often find them withdrawing from society. His freshman play No Good Friday earned Fugard notable attention in Johannesburg's Rehearsal Room, and his second, Blood Knot, proved so controversial that the playwright's passport was withdrawn. A return to Port Elizabeth led to an association with The Serpent Players, and the collaboration eventually yielded Boesman and Lena (in which Fugard served as both writer and star). Since then, the talented actor and playwright's work has been performed around the globe, with Boesman and Lena being adapted to film twice (in 1974 and again in 2000 with Danny Glover and Angela Bassett). In 1992, Fugard made his directorial debut with the film version of his enduring play The Road to Mecca. Outside of appearing in many of his own works, Fugard's compelling performances in Gandhi (1982) and The Killing Fields (1984) were a highlight of the politically motivated features.

Movie Highlights

See Full Filmography