David Benioff (born David Friedman; September 25, 1970) is an American screenwriter, television producer and writer, and novelist. He is the co-creator and showrunner of the widely acclaimed award-winning HBO series Game of Thrones.
Benioff was born David Friedman in New York City, to a Jewish family with roots in Romania, Austria, Poland and Russia. He grew up in Manhattan. He is an alumnus of The Collegiate School and of Dartmouth College. After he graduated in 1992, he worked in a number of jobs; for a time as a club bouncer in San Francisco, and he became a high school English teacher at Poly Prep in Brooklyn, New York City for two years, and served as the school's wrestling coach. Benioff became interested in pursuing an academic career, and went to Trinity College Dublin in 1995 for a one-year program to study Irish literature, and while in Dublin he met D.B. Weiss, who would later become his collaborator. He wrote a thesis on Samuel Beckett while at Trinity College, but decided against a career in academia after writing the thesis. He worked as a radio DJ in Moose, Wyoming for a year - mostly as a side job, which he mainly accepted to take a year in the countryside as a writer's retreat. He then applied to join the Creative Writing Program at the University of California Irvine after reading The Mysteries of Pittsburgh by Michael Chabon (an alumnus there), and received a Master of Fine Arts degree in creative writing there in 1999.