Vaclav Havel was born on October 5, 1936, he became a distinguished poet and playwright. Havel supported the Prague Spring reform movement, which was crushed by the Soviet invasion in the summer of 1968. His work was subsequently banned by the regime that replaced Dubcek's government and Havel himself served a prison term of three years (1979-1982) stemming from his work as a human rights, anti-communist activist.
Havel became president of Czechoslovakia in 1989, the first noncommunist to hold the position in over four decades.
Havel agreed to help guide the nascent democracy, but expressed his intention to return to his private life and intellectual pursuits. He remained President until 2003.