Pinter is known for his spare writing style, a pervading sense of unnamed menace (amplified by the famous "Pinter pauses"), and his gift for revealing the universal truths and pains of domestic life and human interactions in such plays as Betrayal, Old Times, The Caretaker, No Man's Land, The Homecoming and The Birthday Party.
The writer announced earlier this year that he would retire from playwriting in order to concentrate from other forms of literature.
Playwrights only rarely win the Nobel Prize for Literature, an honor typically bestowed on novelists. The last dramatist to win was Italy's Dario Fo in 1997. Samuel Beckett won in 1969, Luigi Pirandello in 1934 and George Bernard Shaw in 1925. The only American playwright to ever claim the prize is Eugene O'Neill, who triumphed in 1936.
Born Oct. 10, 1930, in East London, he would become a playwright, director, actor, poet and political activist.
According to the Swedish Academy, the Nobel was given to Pinter, "who in his plays uncovers the precipice under everyday prattle and forces entry into oppression's closed rooms."
"Pinter did what Auden said a poet should do," wrote fellow playwright David Hare in "Harold Pinter: A Celebration." "He cleaned the gutters of the English language, so that it ever afterwards flowed more easily and more cleanly. We can also say that over his work and over his person hovers a sort of leonine, predatory spirit which is all the more powerful for being held under in a rigid discipline of form, or in a black suit...The essence of his singular appeal is that you sit down to every play he writes in certain expectation of the unexpected. In sum, this tribute from one writer to another: you never know what the hell's coming next."