As well as his famous plays, Beckett also wrote novels, including Malloy (1951), Malone Dies (1951), The Unnamable (1953), and Mercier et Camier (written 1946, published 1974).
He was born on Good Friday.
Although his mother tongue was English, all of Beckett's major works were first written in French.
Between 1923 and 1927, Beckett studied French, Italian, and English at Trinity College, Dublin, where one of his tutors was the professor of philosophy A. A. Luce.
As a young man, Beckett was a first class cricketer. He was a left-handed opening batsman and also a medium-pace bowler.
In 1938, Beckett was stabbed in the chest by a Paris pimp called Prudent and was nearly killed. However, at Prudent's committal hearing Beckett took a liking to him and decided to drop all charges.
After the German occupation of France in 1940, Beckett became a courier for the French Resistance. In 1942, he was betrayed and fled on foot to the Cote d'Azur, where he continued his Resistance work.
In 1984, Beckett was elected Saoi (an Irish word meaning "wise one") of Aosdána, an association of creative artists which is based in Dublin.
In 1999, in a British Royal National Theatre poll of eight hundred playwrights, actors, directors and journalists, Beckett's Waiting for Godot was voted "the most significant English language play of the 20th century".
He is buried in the Cimetière du Montparnasse in Paris, where his grave-stone of granite complies with his instruction that it should be "any colour, so long as it's grey."
He went to Portora Royal School, Enniskillen, which was also the old school of Oscar Wilde.
Beckett received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1969.
Samuel Beckett: Words are all we have.
Samuel Beckett: What do I know of man's destiny? I could tell you more about radishes.
Samuel Beckett: They give birth astride of a grave, the light gleams an instant, then it's night once more.
Samuel Beckett: The tears of the world are a constant quality. For each one who begins to weep, somewhere else another stops. The same is true of the laugh.
Samuel Beckett: Nothing matters but the writing. There has been nothing else worthwhile.
Samuel Beckett: No, I regret nothing, all I regret is having been born, dying is such a long tiresome business I always found.
Samuel Beckett: Let me go to hell, that's all I ask, and go on cursing them there, and them look down and hear me, that might take some of the shine off their bliss.
Samuel Beckett: Just under the surface I shall be, all together at first, then separate and drift, through all the earth and perhaps in the end through a cliff into the sea, something of me. A ton of worms in an acre, that is a wonderful thought, a ton of worms, I believe it.
Samuel Beckett: James Joyce was a synthesizer, trying to bring in as much as he could. I am an analyzer, trying to leave out as much as I can.
Samuel Beckett: I shall state silences more competently than ever a better man spangled the butterflies of vertigo.
Samuel Beckett: I write about myself with the same pencil and in the same exercise book as about him. It is no longer I, but another whose life is just beginning.
Samuel Beckett: Every word is like an unnecessary stain on silence and nothingness.
Samuel Beckett: Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.
Samuel Beckett: Do we mean love, when we say love?
Samuel Beckett: I cannot explain my plays. Each must find out for himself what is meant.