London, December 26 (ANI): Nobel Prize-winning playwright and political activist Harold Pinter's death has devastated his friends.
Pinter's biographer Michael Billington said that he would always remember the writer "above all as a man of generosity".
"Harold was a political figure, a polemicist, and carried on fierce battles against American foreign policy and often British foreign policy," Times Online quoted him as saying.
"But in private he was the most incredibly loyal of friends and generous of human beings. He was unstinting in his loyalty to the people with whom he got on. He was a great man as well as a great playwright. Harold had been ill for a very long time, but he had a titanic will and one imagined he would go on fighting," he added.
Alan Yentob, the Creative Director of the BBC, said: "He was a unique figure in British theatre. He has dominated the theatre scene since the 1950s."
Former Cabinet minister Tony Benn appreciated Pinter's contributions as an active supporter of human rights causes across the world.
"Harold Pinter was a great playwright and a great figure on the political scene," he said.
Actor David Bradley, who has been associated with a production of Pinter's No Man's Land, hailed the late playwright for the way he wrote his plays.
"I am very honoured to have known him personally and professionally over the last ten years. People from Germany, Israel and China would come backstage saying Harold Pinter was so important to them. He wrote about oppression and people taking terrible advantage and oppressing each other on a personal level. Although he did not write the plays in an overtly political way they stood the test of time because they have universal themes. They meant so much to people in different ways," he said.
Bill Bailey, who appeared in the collection of sketchesPinter's People, told Sky News: "He ushered in a whole new era of drama. It didn't have to have a neat ending or even make sense; it conveyed an air of menace, and that inspired a new generation. As a comic, I was drawn to the brilliant way he was able to catch the idiosyncrasies of comic speech, and the ability to incorporate that into something that was drama. It was incredibly funny."
Novelist Nigel Williams, who made a film about Pinter for the BBC's Arenaseries soon after cancer was diagnosed, called him a "great post-war playwright".
"He was an incredibly generous man. I first met him after a staging of my first play, and I was in awe of him, but he sought me out to congratulate me; not many people would have done that," Williams said.
As a writer and poet, Pinter penned over 30 plays, including The Caretaker and The Birthday Party,
The east London-born playwright's style of dialogue, with its long pauses and disconnected conversation, was so distinctive that the word "Pinteresque" entered the Oxford English Dictionary.
He had been due to pick up an honorary degree earlier this month from the Central School of Speech and Drama in London, but was forced to withdraw due to illness.
In 1949, Pinter was fined by magistrates for refusing to complete his National Service.
He was such a politically conscious man that he had turned down John Major's offer of a knighthood, and slammed Tony Blair when NATO bombed Serbia. (ANI)