Born in Brooklyn in 1954, Donald Margulies grew up in Trump Village, a Coney Island housing project built by Donald Trump's father. Margulies was exposed early to the theatre. His father, a wallpaper salesman, played show tunes on the family hi-fi and, despite a limited income, often took his children to Manhattan to attend Broadway plays and musicals.
Margulies studied visual arts at the Pratt Institute before transferring to State University of New York to pursue a degree in playwriting. During the early 80s, he collaborated with Joseph Papp, and his first Off-Broadway play, Found a Peanut, was produced at the Public Theatre. In 1983, he moved with his wife to New Haven, Connecticut, so that she could attend Yale Medical School.
In 1992, Margulies' career really began to take off when Sight Unseen won an Obie for Best New American Play. Some of his other plays include The Loman Family Picnic; Pitching to the Star; Zimmer; Luna Park; What's Wrong With This Picture?; The Model Apartment; Broken Sleep; July 7, 1994, and The God of Vengeance. Dinner With Friends--which tells the story of a seemingly happy couple who re-examine their own relationship when their best friends decide to divorce--won Margulies a 2000 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. He had previously been nominated for a Pulitzer for Collected Stories, a play about a Jewish writer who is betrayed by her young disciple.
Elected to the Dramatists Guild Council in 1993, Margulies has received grants from Creative Artists Public Service (CAPS), New York Foundation for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation. His plays have premiered at Manhattan Theatre Club, South Coast Repertory, The New York Shakespeare Festival and the Jewish Repertory Theatre. He lives in New Haven, Connecticut, where he teaches playwriting at the Yale School of Drama.