EQUUS, AMADEUS Playwright Peter Shaffer Dies at Age 90

Variety reports that British playwright and screenwriter Peter Shaffer, best known for such works as AMADEUS and EQUUS, has passed away at the age of 90. The news was shared by his U.K. agent Rupert Lord who reported that the writer passed away this morning in Ireland following a short illness.

Shaffer penned more than 18 plays, including "Black Comedy," "Lettice and Lovage," "The Royal Hunt of the Sun" and "Five Finger Exercise." Many of his works were later adapted for TV and film, including his first play, "The Salt Land," written in 1951 and produced for television in 1955.

One of his most successful plays, EQUUS, was first produced by London's National Theatre. It later transferred to Broadway, where it ran for over 1,200 performances, and received the Tony Award for Best Play. Sidney Lumet directed the 1977 big screen adaptation starring Richard Burton. The screenplay earned Shaffer an Academy Award nomination. In 2007, the play was revived in the West End starring Daniel Radcliffe in his first major theatrical role. The production went on to Broadway the following year.

AMADEUS first opened at the National Theatre in 1979, and premiered on Broadway in 1980, where it ran for over 1,000 performances and won the Tony Award. The production returned to London's West End the following year. The 1984 film version earned Shaffer one of its eight Academy Awards. "Amadeus" is set to be revived at the National Theatre this fall.

Shaffer was awarded a British national honor, Commander of the British Empire, in 1987, and he was knighted in 2001.

Photo by RD /Dziekan /Retna Digital

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