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Bio

Peter Shaffer

Peter Shaffer

Peter Shaffer wrote two of the finest plays of the late twentieth century, Equus and Amadeus, both of which earned him Tony Awards. He and his twin brother Anthony, who would also become a playwright (Sleuth), were born in Liverpool in 1926. His first play, The Salt Land, about the establishment of the state of Israel, was produced for the BBC in 1954. Four years later, Sir John Gielgud directed Shaffer’s first West End success, Five Finger Exercise, which was also a hit on Broadway in 1959. Other plays include two one-act comedies, The Private Ear and The Public Eye, a double bill that premiered in London and was subsequently staged on Broadway; The Royal Hunt of the Sun, another hit on two continents; Black Comedy/White Lies; and Lettice and Lovage, with Tony Award-winning performances by Maggie Smith and Margaret Tyzack. Shaffer was the recipient of an Academy Award for his screenplay of Amadeus. He was knighted in 2001, inducted into the American Theatre Hall of Fame in 2007, and died in Ireland, where he had gone to celebrate his 90th birthday, in 2016.