George Tabori

George Tabori (24 May 1914 – 23 July 2007) was a Hungarian writer and theater director.

George Tabori
George Tabori, Berlin 2003, photo by Oliver Mark
György Tábori

(1914-05-24)24 May 1914
Died23 July 2007(2007-07-23) (aged 93)
Years active1950–2007
Hannah Freund
(m. 1942; div. 1954)

Viveca Lindfors
(m. 1954; div. 1972)

Ursula Grützmacher-Tabori
(m. 1976; div. 1984)

Ursula Höpfner
(m. 1986; his death 2007)

Life and career

Tabori was born in Budapest as György Tábori, a son of Kornél and Elsa Tábori. His father Cornelius died in Auschwitz in 1944, but his mother and his brother Paul Tabori (writer and psychical researcher), managed to escape the Nazis.[1] As a young man, Tabori went to Berlin but was forced to leave Nazi Germany in 1935 due to his Jewish background. He first went to London, where he worked for the BBC and received British citizenship. In 1947 he immigrated to the United States, where he became a translator (mainly of works by Bertolt Brecht and Max Frisch) and a screenwriter[2] including Alfred Hitchcock's movie I Confess (1953).

His first novel, Beneath The Stone, was published in America in 1945. In the late 1960s, Tabori brought his own and the work of Brecht to many colleges and universities. At the University of Pennsylvania he taught classes in dramatic writing which resulted in Werner Liepolt's The Young Master Dante and Ron Cowen's Summertree. Two of Tabori's plays in English -- The Cannibals and Pinkville—were produced by Wynn Handman at the American Place Theatre in New York City from 1968 through 1970. In 1970 his play The Prince was filmed by John Boorman as Leo the Last with Marcello Mastroianni and Billie Whitelaw; the film won the Director's Prize at the Cannes Film Festival in that year.

During his time in America, Tabori married Viveca Lindfors. In addition to his own child with Lindfors, Lena, Tabori adopted Lindfors' two sons, John and Kristoffer. Kristoffer later became an actor and Lena a publisher.

In 1971, Tabori moved to Germany, where his new emphasis was theater work, and mainly worked in Berlin, Munich, and Vienna. His 1991 Goldberg Variations is a satirical farce based on Biblical stories which end in disaster.[3]

He died in Berlin, aged 93.[2]

Awards and honors


  • Hannah Freund (1942–1954; divorced)
  • Viveca Lindfors (1954–1972; divorced)
  • Ursula Grützmacher-Tabori (1976–1984; divorced)
  • Ursula Höpfner (1985–2007; his death)


  1. Feinberg, Anat (1999). Embodied Memory: The Theatre of George Tabori. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press. p. 4. ISBN 9780877456865.
  2. Reuters via ABC News Australia, "Playwright George Tabori dies" 25 July 2007
  3. "George Tabori: Die Goldberg-Variationen" (in German). Kiepenheuer Bühnenvertrieb. 22 June 1991. Retrieved 18 November 2018.

Further reading

  • Embodied memory : the theatre of George Tabori, 1999, ISBN 0-87745-686-0
  • DramaContemporary : Germany : plays by Botho Strauss, George Tabori, Georg Seidel, Klaus Pohl, Tankred Dorst, Elfriede Jelinek, Heiner Müller, 1996, ISBN 0-8018-5280-3
  • Martin Kagel, "Ritual Remembrance: George Tabori's The Cannibals in Transnational Perspective," in Martinson, Steven D. / Schulz, Renate A. (eds./Hrsg.), Transcultural German Studies / Deutsch als Fremdsprache: Building Bridges / Brücken bauen (Bern etc., Peter Lang, 2008) (Jahrbuch für Internationale Germanistik, Reihe A: Kongressberichte, 94).
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