Anthony Shaffer (writer)

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Anthony Shaffer
BornAnthony Joshua Shaffer
15 May 1926
Liverpool, Lancashire, UK
Died6 November 2001(2001-11-06) (aged 75)
Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, London, UK
Resting place Highgate Cemetery, London
OccupationPlaywright, screenwriter, novelist, barrister, advertising executive
SpouseHenrietta J. Glaskie (1954–195?)
Carolyn Soley ()
Diane Cilento (1985–his death)

Anthony Joshua Shaffer (15 May 1926 6 November 2001) was an English playwright, screenwriter, novelist, barrister and advertising executive.


Early life

Shaffer was born to a Jewish family in Liverpool, the son of Reka (née Fredman) and Jack Shaffer. [1] [2] He was the identical twin brother of writer and dramatist Peter Shaffer, and they had another brother, Brian. [3]

Liverpool City and Metropolitan borough in England

Liverpool is a city in North West England, with an estimated population of 491,500 in 2017. Its metropolitan area is the fifth-largest in the UK, with a population of 2.24 million in 2011. The local authority is Liverpool City Council, the most populous local government district in the metropolitan county of Merseyside and the largest in the Liverpool City Region.

Peter Shaffer English playwright and screenwriter

Sir Peter Levin Shaffer, CBE, was an English playwright and screenwriter. He wrote numerous award-winning plays, of which several were adapted into films.

Shaffer was educated at The Hall School, Hampstead, a boys' prep school and St. Paul's School, London. He graduated with a degree in Law from Trinity College, Cambridge.

The Hall School, Hampstead

The Hall School is an independent boys' preparatory school in Belsize Park, Hampstead, London, currently teaching boys from age 4 to age 13.

Preparatory school (United Kingdom) in the UK, school preparing children for secondary level

A preparatory school in the United Kingdom is a fee-charging independent primary school that caters primarily for children up to approximately the age of 11, the first year of secondary school. The term "preparatory school" is used as it prepares the children for the Common Entrance Examination to secure a place at a private independent secondary school, including the English public schools. They are also now used by parents in the hope of getting their child into a state selective grammar school. Most prep schools are inspected by the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI), which is overseen by Ofsted on behalf of the Department for Education.

St Pauls School, London boys independent school in Richmond upon Thames, England

St Paul's School is a selective independent school for boys aged 13–18, founded in 1509 by John Colet and located on a 43-acre (180,000m2) site by the River Thames, in Barnes, London.


Shaffer worked as a barrister and advertising copywriter before becoming a full-time writer. [4]

Shaffer's most notable work was the play Sleuth (1970), which he adapted for the film version which starred Laurence Olivier and Michael Caine, and was Oscar nominated. He received Edgar Awards from the Mystery Writers of America for both versions: for Best Play in 1971, and Best Screenplay in 1973.

<i>Sleuth</i> (play) play written by Anthony Shaffer

Sleuth is a 1970 play written by Anthony Shaffer. The Broadway production received the Tony Award for Best Play, and Anthony Quayle and Keith Baxter received the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Performance. The play was adapted for feature films in 1972, 2007 and 2014.

<i>Sleuth</i> (1972 film) 1972 film by Joseph L. Mankiewicz

Sleuth is a 1972 British-American mystery thriller film directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz and starring Laurence Olivier and Michael Caine. The screenplay by playwright Anthony Shaffer was based on his 1970 Tony Award-winning play. Both Olivier and Caine were nominated for Academy Awards for their performances. This was Mankiewicz's final film. Critics gave the film overwhelmingly positive reviews, and would later note similarities between it and Caine's 1982 film Deathtrap.

Laurence Olivier British actor, director and producer

Laurence Kerr Olivier, Baron Olivier, was an English actor and director who, along with his contemporaries Ralph Richardson, Peggy Ashcroft and John Gielgud, dominated the British stage of the mid-20th century. He also worked in films throughout his career, playing more than fifty cinema roles. Late in his career, he had considerable success in television roles.

His other major screenplays include the Hitchcock thriller Frenzy (1972) and the British cult thriller The Wicker Man (1973) with whose director, Robin Hardy, Shaffer had previously set up a television production company Hardy, Shaffer & Associates. [5]

Alfred Hitchcock British filmmaker

Sir Alfred Joseph Hitchcock was an English film director and producer, widely regarded as one of the most influential filmmakers in the history of cinema. Known as "the Master of Suspense", he directed over 50 feature films in a career spanning six decades, becoming as well known as any of his actors thanks to his many interviews, his cameo roles in most of his films, and his hosting and producing of the television anthology Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1955–1965).

<i>Frenzy</i> 1972 film by Alfred Hitchcock

Frenzy is a 1972 British thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock. It is the penultimate feature film of his extensive career. The screenplay by Anthony Shaffer was based on the novel Goodbye Piccadilly, Farewell Leicester Square by Arthur La Bern. The film stars Jon Finch, Alec McCowen, and Barry Foster and features Billie Whitelaw, Anna Massey, Barbara Leigh-Hunt, Bernard Cribbins and Vivien Merchant. The original music score was composed by Ron Goodwin.

Robin St. Clair Rimington Hardy was an English author and film director. His most famous directorial work is The Wicker Man, and his last project was a film adaptation of his novel Cowboys for Christ, which was retitled The Wicker Tree.


Shaffer was married three times—to Henrietta Glaskie, Carolyn Soley (with whom he had two children, Claudia and Cressida), and Australian actress Diane Cilento.

Australia Country in Oceania

Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania and numerous smaller islands. It is the largest country in Oceania and the world's sixth-largest country by total area. The neighbouring countries are Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and East Timor to the north; the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu to the north-east; and New Zealand to the south-east. The population of 25 million is highly urbanised and heavily concentrated on the eastern seaboard. Australia's capital is Canberra, and its largest city is Sydney. The country's other major metropolitan areas are Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide.

Diane Cilento Australian actress and author

Diane Cilento was an Australian actress and author. She was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in the 1963 film Tom Jones.

Shaffer met Cilento in 1973, when she appeared in The Wicker Man. He moved to Australia in 1975 and married Cilento in 1985. Together they built a house (The Castle) and a theater (The Karnak Playhouse). Shaffer was legally domiciled in Australia (where he owned land and a restaurant, paid taxes and voted in elections), although he did maintain a flat in London. [6]

In the last years of his life Shaffer had an extramarital relationship with Marie Josette "JoJo" Capece-Minutolo when in London. Cilento did not accompany Shaffer to England but remained in Australia. After Shaffer's death, Capece-Minutolo made a claim on his estate in the British High Court, arguing that Shaffer had intended to divorce Cilento and marry her and that he had given her an engagement ring. The Shaffer estate argued that Shaffer had no desire to end his marriage to Cilento. The British judge found that despite Shaffer's being in "an intimate and loving relationship" with Capece in London, Shaffer (and his estate) were not legally domiciled in the United Kingdom at the time of his death and that therefore Capece-Minutolo had no legal claims on his estate, other than any bequest in Shaffer's will (which had been changed in 1999). [7]

Peter Antony

He co-wrote three detective novels with his playwright brother Peter Shaffer under the pseudonym Peter Antony.







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  1. Film Reference bio
  3. Fountain, Nigel (2001-11-07). "Obituary: Anthony Shaffer". The Guardian. ISSN   0261-3077 . Retrieved 2018-12-07.
  4. Obituary in The Guardian , 7 november 2001
  5. Brown, Allan (2012). Inside the Wicker Man: How Not to Make a Cult Classic. New York: Birlinn. ISBN   9780857902177.
  6. "Shaffer's lover fails in battle over his estate". Article of 10 February 2004 by Sean O'Neill in The Daily Telegraph
  7. "Playwright's family fight off mistress's claim to share legacy". The Guardian . 10 February 2004. Retrieved 14 March 2017.
  8. Lewis, Paul (12 November 2001). "Anthony Shaffer, 75, Author Of Long-Running 'Sleuth,' Dies". The New York Times . Retrieved 22 June 2014.
  9. Shaw, Bruce (2013). "Jolly Good Detecting: Humor in English Crime Fiction of the Golden Age". ISBN   9781476613963.