Sir Tom Stoppard OM, CBE, FRSL (born Tomáš Straussler 3 July 1937) is a British playwright, knighted in 1997. He has written prolifically for TV, radio, film and stage, finding prominence with plays such as Arcadia, The Coast of Utopia, Every Good Boy Deserves Favour, Professional Foul, The Real Thing, and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. He co-wrote the screenplays for Brazil and Shakespeare in Love and has won one Academy Award and four Tony Awards. Themes of human rights, censorship and political freedom pervade his work along with exploration of linguistics and philosophy. Stoppard has been a key playwright of the National Theatre and is one of the most internationally performed dramatists of his generation.
In 1939, Stoppard left Czechoslovakia as a child refugee, fleeing imminent Nazi occupation. He settled with his family in Britain after the war, in 1946. After being educated at schools in Nottingham and Yorkshire, Stoppard became a journalist, a drama critic and then, in 1960, a playwright. He has been married twice, to Josie Ingle (1965–1972) and Miriam Stoppard (1972–1992), and has two sons from each marriage, one of whom is actor Ed Stoppard.
Stoppard was born Tomáš Straussler, in Zlín, a "Shoe Town", in the Moravia region of Czechoslovakia. He was the son of Martha Beckova and Eugen Straüssler, a doctor with the Bata shoe company. Both parents were Jewish, though neither practising. Just before the German occupation of Czechoslovakia, the town's patron, Tomáš Baťa, helped re-post his Jewish employees, mostly physicians, to various branches of his firm all over the world. On 15 March 1939, the day that the Nazis invaded Czechoslovakia, the Straussler family fled to Singapore, one of the places Bata had a company.