Born Tomas Straussler in Czechoslovakia in 1937, his family moved to Singapore in 1939 to escape the Nazis. When the Japanese overran the island state during the war, Doctor Straussler sent his family to India but stayed behind himself and died in a prison camp.
Tom's mother later married a British army officer, Kenneth Stoppard. The family came to England in 1946.
Tom Stoppard left school at seventeen and began his writing career as a journalist. His first full-length play, A Walk On the Water (produced in 1968 as Enter a Free Man and described by the playwright as a composite of several plays he admired and thus not an original work.
From September 1962 until April 1963, Stoppard worked in London as a drama critic for SCENE, writing reviews and interviews both under his name and under the pseudonym William Boot. Boot is a name from an Evelyn Waugh novel named Scoop.
Through the 60s, Stoppard wrote for radio, television, and the theatre. Among these were "M" IS FOR MOON AMONG OTHER THINGS (1964), A SEPARATE PEACE (1966), and IF YOU'RE GLAD I'LL BE FRANK (1966). The twenty-nine-year-old Stoppard had a major success with the work "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead", one-act play written in 1964.
His most recent and wildly successful screenplay was the 1999 Oscar winner "Shakespeare In Love".
During the 70s Tom Stoppard found time to become engaged in the issue of human rights issues, especially in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union about which he wrote numerous newspaper articles. His political concerns were also evident in his work -- i.e. Every Good Boy Deserves a Favor (1977) a play about a political dissident confined to a Soviet mental hospital.
In addition to his original stage plays, Stoppard has written original screenplays, teleplays, and radio plays,