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Peter Shaffer

  • Birthplace: Liverpool, England
  • Birthday: May 15
Date of passing: 
June 06, 2016

Obituary

Obituary: 

Peter Shaffer was an English playwright best known for his Tony Award-winning work on the productions Equus, about a troubled stable boy, and Amadeus, about the rivalry between Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and the lesser-known composer Antonio Salieri.

Shaffer was successful both critically and commercially, and had his first hit in 1964, with the play The Royal Hunt of the Sun, about the Spanish conquest of Peru. Many of his plays moved to Broadway, and some were turned into feature films, such as the 1984 movie version of Amadeus, which won eight Academy Awards, and 1969’s Hunt of the Sun, starring Robert Shaw and Christopher Plummer.

He also wrote the screenplays for the films The Public Eye, starring Mia Farrow; Equus, starring Richard Burton; and Five Finger Exercise, with Rosalind Russell and Jack Hawkins.

Additionally, a television production of Amadeus was released in 1984, and in 1958, Shaffer’s Balance of Terror appeared on an installment of Studio One in Hollywood. In 1998, extracts from Amadeus were also featured in an episode of the British series Midsomer Murders, which played in the U.S.

Shaffer's twin brother, Anthony Shaffer, was a writer as well. His best known works include the play Sleuth (which was made into a film in 1972) and his screenplays for the films Frenzy and The Wicker Man. In the 1950s, the brothers co-wrote two mystery novels, which they published under the pseudonym Peter Anthony. 

Peter Shaffer was an English playwright best known for his Tony Award-winning work on the productions Equus, about a troubled stable boy, and Amadeus, about the rivalry between Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and the lesser-known composer Antonio Salieri.

Shaffer was successful both critically and commercially, and had his first hit in 1964, with the play The Royal Hunt of the Sun, about the Spanish conquest of Peru. Many of his plays moved to Broadway, and some were turned into feature films, such as the 1984 movie version of Amadeus, which won eight Academy Awards, and 1969’s Hunt of the Sun, starring Robert Shaw and Christopher Plummer.

He also wrote the screenplays for the films The Public Eye, starring Mia Farrow; Equus, starring Richard Burton; and Five Finger Exercise, with Rosalind Russell and Jack Hawkins.

Additionally, a television production of Amadeus was released in 1984, and in 1958, Shaffer’s Balance of Terror appeared on an installment of Studio One in Hollywood. In 1998, extracts from Amadeus were also featured in an episode of the British series Midsomer Murders, which played in the U.S.

Shaffer's twin brother, Anthony Shaffer, was a writer as well. His best known works include the play Sleuth (which was made into a film in 1972) and his screenplays for the films Frenzy and The Wicker Man. In the 1950s, the brothers co-wrote two mystery novels, which they published under the pseudonym Peter Anthony. 

Shaffer was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2001 and inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame in 2007.

He died June 6, 2016, in County Cork, Ireland. He was 90.

 

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