Clebrated British playwright, Peter Shaffer, died on June 6th, 2016. He was born 15th, May, 1926.
Peter Shaffer’s first play, The Salt Land (1954), was presented on the BBC, following this success he wrote Five finger Exercise in 1958. Directed by Sir John Gielgud, it won the Evening Standard Drama Award in London and the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Best Foreign Play on Broadway, after a successful run.
Peter Shaffer’s next play was a double bill that was presented at the Globe Theatre in 1962. Starring Maggie Smith and Kenneth Williams, titled The Private Ear/The Public Eye.
After the creation of the National Theatre in 1962, most of Shaffer’s subsequent plays were presented there. The Royal Hunt of the Sun (1964) outlines the tragic conquest of Peru by the Spanish, and then Black Comedy (1965) starring Maggie smith, Derek Jacobi and Albert Finney.
In 1975 Shaffer was presented the Tony Award for best play, as well as the Drama Critics’ Circle Award, for Equus. The play was a huge success and ran for over one thousand performances. The most recent revival of Equus saw Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe play the troubled stable boy, on Broadway, in 2009.
Like Equus before it, Amadeus (1979) enjoyed similar success in it’s Broadway and London productions, picking up the Evening Standard Drama Award, the Theatre Critics Award, and the Tony Award for best play in 1981.
Lettice and Lovage, written for Maggie Smith in 1986 won her the Tony Award for her leading role.
Many of Peter Shaffer’s plays have been adapted into films with great success, particularly Amadeus, winning eight Academy Awards in 1984 (including best film).
Shaffer was awarded the CBE in 1987 and named Knight Bachelor in the 2001 New Year’s Honours. In 2007 he was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame.
Rufus Norris, has said: “Peter Shaffer was one of the great writers of his generation and the National Theatre was enormously lucky to have had such a fruitful and creative relationship with him. The plays he leaves behind are an enduring legacy.”
Born in Liverpool, Shaffer was a twin to brother Anthony, also a highly successful author and playwright who was best known for the stage play and film Sleuth, who died in 2001.
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