Kempinski, Tom

Tom Kempinski was a playwright born in 1938 in London to Jewish parents who had immigrated from Germany. Before he succeeded with his writing, Kempinski had a career in acting. He became prominent as a playwright with his play Duet for One (1980).

Duet for One tells the story of a violinist affected by multiple sclerosis. The play did very well at the West End and on Broadway and was performed in 42 countries. The play was adapted for film in 1986 and earned Julie Andrews, who played the lead role, a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress. Kempinski’s play Separation (1987) also received much critical acclaim. In his biographically influenced play When the Past is Still to Come (1992) Kempinski addressed the difficulties of coming to terms with memories of the holocaust.

Tom Kempinski died on the 2nd August, 2023 at the age of 85.


—. Separation. London: Samuel French, 1989.

—. Duet for One. London: Samuel French, 2009.