Broadway theater marquees will be dimmed for one minute on Thursday at 6:45 PM to honor the memory of two-time Tony Award winner Peter Shaffer. The Amadeus and Equus playwright died June 6 in County Cork, Ireland at age 90.
Equus won the 1975 Tony for Best Play. Shaffer’s screen adaptation was nominated for a Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar in 1977. Amadeus won the 1981 Tony for Best Play and Shaffer’s screenplay won the Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar as well as the Golden Globe Best Screenplay in 1984. His plays Black Comedy/White Lies, in 1967, and Lettice and Lovage, in 1990, both earned Tony best play nominations. Shaffer made his Broadway playwriting debut with Five Finger Exercise in 1959. His last Broadway production was a revival of Equus in 2008 top-billed by Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe as Alan Strang, a teenage boy who seemingly inexplicably blinds six horses, and Martin Dysart as the court-appointed psychiatrist who tries to unravel the mystery (a role originated on stage by Anthony Hopkins and played in the film by Richard Burton).
“The acclaimed British dramatist Peter Shaffer leaves behind a legacy of words through his notable body of critically and commercially successful works,” said Charlotte St. Martin, President of the trade group Broadway League. “He will be missed, and our thoughts are with his family and friends.”
Several other Shaffer plays have been adapted to film, including Five Finger Exercise (1962), The Royal Hunt of the Sun (1969) and The Public Eye (1962), from which he adapted the 1972 film Follow Me!. He is survived by his brother Brian; Peter’s twin, the playwright and screenwriter Anthony Shaffer (Sleuth), died in 2001.