Seidler was born in London, where he spent his early childhood. He grew up in an upper-middle class Jewish family. His father Bernard was a fur broker who bought bales of pelts on commission. He had an office in New York City. When the Seidler family's apartment in London was bombed during the Blitz in World War II, they relocated to Lingfield in Surrey. Later in the war, the family resettled in America. The ship they sailed on was a member of a convoy of three ships; on the way one of these, carrying Italian prisoners-of-war from North Africa, was sunk by German U-boats. It was on the voyage to the US that Seidler developed a stammer, before he celebrated his third birthday.
Seidler subsequently grew up in Long Island, New York. Seidler believes that his stutter might have been a response to the emotional trauma of the war. By the time he was a teenager he was well aware that his stammering made others uncomfortable, so he often chose to keep quiet.
Numerous forms of speech therapy failed him, until, at 16, he had a breakthrough. "I resolved that if I was going to stutter for the rest of my life, people were going to be stuck listening to me. I had been depressed, but now I was angry – I decided I deserved to be heard." That is when, in rage he spoke the 'F' word, or "naughty word" as he recalled decades later. Two weeks later he auditioned for his school play, Shaw's Androcles and the Lion and even got a small role, of a Christian eaten by a lion. In 2005, he used it in a scene in his stage play about George VI. Seidler later attended Cornell University, where he graduated with a A.B. in English[not in citation given] in 1959.
As he grew older he decided to write and his first work was The Adventures of a Penny about a penny's travel from hand to hand. In an interview Seidler recalled George VI as a childhood hero, who gave him hope as he listened to his wartime speeches as a child, encouraged by his parents, "David, he was a much worse stutterer than you, and listen to him now. He's not perfect. But he can give these magnificent, stirring addresses that rallied the free world." they would say.
Seidler arrived in Hollywood at the age of 40, and his first job there was writing Tucker: The Man and His Dream for Francis Ford Coppola. For some years he was a member of the Feather & Seidler writing team with Jacqueline Feather.
Always wanting to write about George VI, Seidler started researching in the 1970s. After finding the surviving son of Lionel Logue, Dr. Valentine Logue, now a retired brain surgeon, he wrote him in 1981. In turn, Logue was keen to talk with Seidler and even share the notebooks his father kept while treating the King, but on the condition that he received "written permission from the Queen Mother" first. Upon writing to her, Seidler received a reply from her private secretary, asking him not to pursue the project during her lifetime. Consequently, Seidler abandoned the project in 1982.
The Queen Mother died in 2002, but Seidler didn't start the work until 2005, when he suffered from throat cancer, and returned to the story during a bout of creative work it inspired. Eventually he wrote the first draft of his screenplay, and his then-wife and writing partner suggested that he rewrite it as a stage play, as an exercise. She felt that the "physical confines of the stage would force him to focus on the key relationships in the story, without the distractions imposed by concern for cinematic technique." In 2011 Seidler won a BAFTA award for Best Original Screenplay, and later an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for the film The King's Speech.
In late 2005 Seidler was diagnosed with bladder cancer, but he is currently (2011) in remission.
|Adventures of the Seaspray||
|Malice in Wonderland||
|Onassis: The Richest Man in the World||
|My Father, My Son||
|Tucker: The Man and His Dream||
|Whose Child Is This? The War for Baby Jessica||
|Dancing in the Dark||
|Lies He Told||
|Time to Say Goodbye?||
|Goldrush: A Real Life Alaskan Adventure||
||Walt Disney Television|
|Quest for Camelot||
|The King and I||
|Come On, Get Happy: The Partridge Family Story||
|By Dawn's Early Light||
|Son of the Dragon||
||Hallmark Movie Channel|
|Kung Fu Killer||
|The King's Speech||
|Queen of Spades||
|1989||Writers Guild of America Award||My Father, My Son||Original Long Form (with Jacqueline Feather)||Nominated|
|Onassis: The Richest Man in the World||Adapted Long Form (with Jacqueline Feather; tied with Susan Cooper for the Hallmark Hall of Fame episode "Foxfire".)||Won|
|2002||By Dawn's Early Light||Children's Script (with Jacqueline Feather)||Nominated|
|2010||Alliance of Women Film Journalists Award||The King's Speech||Best Writing, Original Screenplay||Nominated|
|Awards Circuit Community Awards||Best Original Screenplay (2nd place)||Won|
|Davis Award for Best Original Screenplay||Nominated|
|British Independent Film Awards||Best Screenplay||Won|
|Chicago Film Critics Association Awards||Best Screenplay, Original||Nominated|
|Denver Film Critics Society||Best Writing, Original Screenplay||Nominated|
|Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards||Best Screenplay (2nd place)||Won|
|San Diego Film Critics Society Awards||Best Screenplay, Original||Nominated|
|San Francisco Film Critics Circle||Best Original Screenplay||Won|
|Satellite Awards||Best Screenplay, Original||Won|
|Southeastern Film Critics Association Awards||Best Screenplay, Original||Won|
|St. Louis Gateway Film Critics Association||Best Original Screenplay||Won|
|Village Voice Film Poll||Best Screenplay||Nominated|
|Washington DC Area Film Critics Association Awards||Best Original Screenplay||Nominated|
|2011||Academy Award||Best Writing, Original Screenplay||Won|
|Golden Globe Award||Best Screenplay – Motion Picture||Nominated|
|British Academy Film Awards||Best Screenplay (Original)||Won|
|Alexander Korda Award for Best British Film (with Emile Sherman, Gareth Unwin, Iain Canning and Tom Hooper)||Won|
|Central Ohio Film Critics Association Awards||Best Screenplay, Original||Nominated|
|Chlotrudis Awards||Best Original Screenplay||Nominated|
|Critics' Choice Movie Award||Best Screenplay, Original||Won|
|European Film Awards||Best Film (with Emile Sherman, Gareth Unwin, Iain Canning and Tom Hooper)||Nominated|
|Humanitas Prize||Feature Film Category||Won|
|Italian Online Movie Awards||Best Original Screenplay||Nominated|
|London Critics Circle Film Awards||Screenwriter of the Year||Nominated|
|National Society of Film Critics Awards||Best Screenplay (2nd place)||Won|
|Online Film & Television Association Awards||Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen||Nominated|
|Online Film Critics Society Awards||Best Screenplay, Original||Nominated|
|Toronto Film Critics Association Awards||Best Screenplay||Nominated|
|2012||International Online Film Critics' Poll||Best Original Screenplay||Nominated|