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Beau Willimon

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Title: Beau Willimon  
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Subject: The Ides of March (film), 84th Academy Awards, Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay, Farragut North (play), Eric Warren Singer
Collection: 1977 Births, 21St-Century American Writers, American Dramatists and Playwrights, American Expatriates in Estonia, American Expatriates in Vietnam, American Male Dramatists and Playwrights, American Male Screenwriters, American Political Consultants, American Screenwriters, American Television Producers, American Television Writers, Best Screenplay Aacta International Award Winners, Columbia University Alumni, Columbia University School of the Arts Alumni, Juilliard School Alumni, Living People, Male Television Writers, Military Brats, People from Alexandria, Virginia, People from St. Louis, Missouri, Showrunners, Writers from Missouri, Writers from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Writers from Virginia
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Beau Willimon

Beau Willimon
Willimon at the 73rd Annual Peabody Awards, May 2014
Born Pack Beauregard Willimon
(1977-10-26) October 26, 1977
Alexandria, Virginia, U.S.
Residence Brooklyn, New York
Alma mater Columbia University
Juilliard School
Occupation Playwright, screenwriter, producer

Pack Beauregard "Beau" Willimon[1] (born October 26, 1977) is an American playwright and screenwriter. He is known as the showrunner and writer of House of Cards.


  • Early life and education 1
  • Career 2
  • See also 3
  • Filmography 4
    • Film 4.1
    • Plays 4.2
    • Television series 4.3
      • Writer 4.3.1
  • References 5
  • External links 6

Early life and education

Beau Willimon was born in Alexandria, Virginia[2] to Nancy and Henry Pack Willimon.[3] His father was a captain[3] in the United States Navy and the family moved frequently.[4] Willimon lived in multiple locations, including Hawaii, San Francisco, California,[5] and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania before settling in St. Louis, Missouri[1] after Willimon's father retired to become a lawyer.[1]

Willimon attended John Burroughs School and took drama classes, where his drama teacher was Jon Hamm,[6][7] and graduated in 1995. He majored in visual arts and received a BA from Columbia University in 1999.[8] When he was an undergrad, he met Jay Carson.[8][9] Carson got a job for Willimon and he worked as a volunteer and intern in 1998 for the Senate campaign of Charles Schumer, which led to jobs with Hillary Clinton's 2000 senate race, Bill Bradley's 2000 presidential race, and Howard Dean's 2004 presidential race.[10] After graduating, he worked for the ministry of the interior for the Estonian government in Tallinn as part of a fellowship.[4] He was responsible for sorting through thousands of pages of E.U.-related documents and writing summaries of them.[1] Shortly after, he moved to Vietnam to work for a small cultural magazine.[4] While in Vietnam, he did research for his first screenplay, based on the life of Tomas Vu, a visual arts professor at Columbia who grew up in Vietnam during the war.[8]

He returned to New York to attend Columbia's School of the Arts. One of his mentors was playwright Eduardo Machado.[5][8] Willimon remarked that, "I was the worst student by far in our group. A lot of these people had known they wanted to be playwrights forever. I didn’t know a soul in the theater world, and I didn’t have the faintest idea how to truly write a play. But I quit drinking then and really committed myself to this path."[1] During graduate school, he received a visual arts scholarship, which he got from a proposal to create 40 lithographs about paranoia, and lived in South Africa for a year.[4] After receiving an MFA in Playwriting from the School of the Arts in 2003, he worked in odd jobs, including gallery and painter's assistant, set builder, finding jobs for the homeless,[9] barista, an instructor teaching SAT prep classes, and did an internship with New Dramatists.[5][8][9]

Willimon subsequently enrolled at the Juilliard School's Lila Acheson Wallace American Playwrights Program, receiving both the Lila Acheson Wallace Juilliard Playwriting Fellowship and the Lincoln Center Le Compte du Nuoy Award.[11]


At Juilliard, he wrote a play, Farragut North that was inspired by his experience as press aide for Dean's 2004 campaign for President.[8][5] In fall 2008, it premiered off Broadway at the Atlantic Theater Company in a production starring John Gallagher, Jr., Chris Noth, and Olivia Thirlby.[12] The production received a Los Angeles run the following summer, with Chris Pine in the starring role. Willimon was nominated in 2009 for the John Gassner Award by the Outer Critics Circle.[13]

Other plays include Lower Ninth, produced in 2007 by the SPF and The Flea Theater in 2008;[14] Zusammenbruch, produced in 2008 at the American Airlines Theater and directed by Thomas Kail;[15] Spirit Control, produced in 2010 by the Manhattan Theatre Club;[16] The Parisian Woman, produced in 2013 by South Coast Repertory;[17] and Breathing Time, produced in 2014 by Fault Line Theater.[18]

Willimon's work has also been developed and performed at MCC Theater, Ars Nova, HERE Arts Center, the Phoenix Theatre the Actors Theater of Chicago, Battersea Arts Centre in London, Cherry Lane Theatre, and the South Coast Repertory.[11]

A film adaption of Farragut North, retitled Grant Heslov. It starred Clooney, Ryan Gosling, Evan Rachel Wood, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Giamatti, Marisa Tomei, and Jeffrey Wright. The film was nominated in 2012 for the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay, and for four Golden Globe Awards, including Best Picture – Drama and Best Screenplay.

In 2012, Willimon developed House of Cards, the American adaption of the BBC series of the same name, for Netflix. It was produced by Media Rights Capital, David Fincher, and Kevin Spacey, and stars Spacey, Robin Wright, Kate Mara, Corey Stoll, Michael Kelly, Kristen Connolly, Constance Zimmer, and Sebastian Arcelus. It premiered on Netflix on February 1, 2013.

See also



Year Title Role Notes
2011 The Ides of March Writer, co-producer
2013 A Master Builder Executive producer


Year Title Role Notes
2008 Farragut North Writer
2008 Lower Ninth Writer
2008 Zusammenbruch Writer As part of The 24 Hour Plays Off Broadway
2010 Spirit Control Writer
2013 The Parisian Woman Writer
2014 Breathing Time Writer

Television series


Year Show Season Episode Episode number Original airdate Notes
2013 House of Cards 1 "Chapter 1" 1 February 1, 2013
"Chapter 2" 2 February 1, 2013
"Chapter 3" 3 February 1, 2013 Written by Willimon & Keith Huff
"Chapter 4" 4 February 1, 2013 Written by Willimon & Rick Cleveland
"Chapter 7" 7 February 1, 2013 Written by Willimon & Kate Barnow
"Chapter 8" 8 February 1, 2013
"Chapter 9" 9 February 1, 2013 Written by Willimon & Rick Cleveland
"Chapter 11" 11 February 1, 2013 Written by Willimon, Keith Huff, & Kate Barnow
"Chapter 12" 12 February 1, 2013 Written by Willimon & Gina Gionfriddo
"Chapter 13" 13 February 1, 2013
2014 2 "Chapter 14" 1 February 14, 2014
"Chapter 15" 2 February 14, 2014
"Chapter 22" 9 February 14, 2014
"Chapter 23" 10 February 14, 2014 Written by Willimon & Laura Eason
"Chapter 24" 11 February 14, 2014 Written by Willimon & John Mankiewicz
"Chapter 25" 12 February 14, 2014
"Chapter 26" 13 February 14, 2014


  1. ^ a b c d e Sternbergh, Adam (January 31, 2014). "The Post-Hope Politics of ‘House of Cards’". The New York Times. Retrieved October 5, 2014. 
  2. ^ Willimon, Beau (June 2, 2013). "Look kids, this is where I was born - Alexandria, VA...on the banks of the Potomac, a stone's throw from D.C.". Twitter. Retrieved October 5, 2014. 
  3. ^ a b Peterson, Deb (January 24, 2012). "Oscar nominee Beau Willimon grew up in St. Louis". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved October 5, 2014. 
  4. ^ a b c d Rothman, Lily (February 13, 2014). "House of Cards Creator Beau Willimon Talks Season 2 and His Surprising Influences". Time. Retrieved October 5, 2014. 
  5. ^ a b c d Wallenberg, Christopher (April 25, 2010). "A political drama with powerful ambitions". Retrieved October 5, 2014. 
  6. ^ Willimon, Beau (February 23, 2013). "Was just at a JBS reunion event. Yes, I went to high school with Jon Hamm. We were in "Stage Door" together.". Twitter. Retrieved October 5, 2014. 
  7. ^ "Biography - Beau Willimon". Columbia University. Retrieved February 4, 2013. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f "Beau Willimon on the Ides of March". Columbia University Entertainment. March 10, 2014. Retrieved October 5, 2014. 
  9. ^ a b c Thompson, Anne (June 27, 2013). "EMMY WATCH: Willimon Talks Fincher's 'House of Cards,' Last-Minute Corey Stoll Rewrites". Indie Wire. Retrieved October 5, 2014. 
  10. ^ Erickson, Amanda (May 1, 2009). "Beau Willimon '99 Brings Politics Alive on Stage". Columbia College Today. Retrieved February 4, 2013. 
  11. ^ a b "Biography Beau Willimon - Playwright, Lower Ninth (2007)".  
  12. ^ Dorment, Richard (December 12, 2008). "The Most Promising Young Playwright in America". Esquire. Retrieved February 4, 2013. 
  13. ^ Gans, Andrew (April 20, 2009). "Billy Elliot and Shrek Top Outer Critics Circle Awards Nominations". Playbill. Retrieved February 4, 2013. 
  14. ^ James, Caryn (March 6, 2008). "Where Men Are Stranded". The New York Times. Retrieved October 5, 2014. 
  15. ^ Vincentelli, Elisabeth (November 18, 2008). "Lights out on the 24 Hour Plays". Time Out New York. Retrieved October 5, 2014. 
  16. ^ Isherwood, Charles (October 26, 2010). "Four Seven Whiskey, We’ve Got a Problem: A Controller’s Life in a Tailspin". The New York Times. Retrieved October 5, 2014. 
  17. ^ Ng, David (January 4, 2013). "Beau Willimon's 'The Parisian Woman' to premiere in Orange County". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 5, 2014. 
  18. ^ Genzlinger, Neil (March 28, 2014). "Coping Simply With Life Until Ordinary Disappears". The New York Times. Retrieved October 5, 2014. 

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