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Christopher James Hampton CBE, FRSL (born January 26, 1946) is an Academy Award-winning British playwright, screen writer and film director. He is best known for his play based on the novel Les Liaisons dangereuses and the film version Dangerous Liaisons (1988) and also more recently for writing the nominated screenplay for the film adaptation of Ian McEwan's Atonement.

Personal life

Hampton was born in Faial, Azores, to British parents Dorothy Patience (née Herrington) and Bernard Patrick Hampton, a marine telecommunications engineer for Cable & Wireless.John O'Mahony "Worlds of his own", The Guardian, 21 April 2001. Retrieved on 9 August 2008. His father's job which led the family to subsequently settle in Adenmarker and Alexandriamarker in Egyptmarker and later Hong Kongmarker and Zanzibarmarker. The Suez Crisis in 1956 necessitated that the family flee under cover of darkness, leaving their possessions behind.

After a prep school at Reigate, Hampton went to the independent boarding school Lancing College at the age of 13, where he won house colours for boxing and distinguished himself as a sergeant in the CCF. Fellow dramatist David Hare was a school contemporary.

In 1964 he went to New Collegemarker, Oxfordmarker, as Sacher Scholar, to study German and French and graduated with a starred First Class Degree in 1968.


Hampton became involved in the theatre while at Oxford University where OUDS performed his play When Did You Last See My Mother, about adolescent homosexuality, reflecting his own experiences at Lancing. Hampton sent the work to the play agent Peggy Ramsay, who interested William Gaskill in it. The play was performed at the Royal Court Theatremarker in London, and that production soon transferred to the Comedy Theatremarker, resulting in Hampton, in 1966, becoming the youngest writer to have a play performed in the West End in the modern era. From 1968-70 he worked as the Resident Dramatist at the Royal Court Theatre, and also as the company's literary manager.

Hampton won the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay in 1988 for the screen adaptation of his play Dangerous Liaisons. He was nominated again in 2007 for adapting Ian McEwan's novel Atonement.

Hampton forthcoming project is the translation into English of Michael Kunze & Sylvester Levay's Austrian musical Rebecca based on Daphne du Maurier's book which is scheduled to premiere in 2009 in Canada, and then move to Broadway in 2010.


Musicals (Book & Lyrics)






  1. Christopher Hampton Biography (1946-)
  2. Michael Coveney Hampton "A talent to adapt", The Guardian, 4 March 2006. Retrieved on 9 August 2008.


  • Massimo Verzella, “Embers di Christopher Hampton e la traduzione della malinconia”, Paragrafo, II (2006), pp. 69-82

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