Shaffer, Anthony

Shaffer is a playwright, screen writer and novelist. He was born in 1926 in Liverpool to a Jewish family, his father was an estate agent. He graduated from Trinity College, Cambridge, where he studied law and co-authored detective stories with his twin brother and well-known playwright, Peter Shaffer. After university Anthony Shaffer first practised as a barrister and after deciding that the money was inadequate, he decided to move on to work at an advertising company. Five years later he set up his own firm, Hardy Shaffer Associates.

At the end of the 1960s, Shaffer quit advertising to fulfill his passion for writing. His play Sleuth secured him with a firm place in theatre and film history. The satirical thriller was performed over 2,350 times on the West End, followed by more than 2,000 performances on Broadway, and was awarded Tony for Best Play in 1970. Two years later it was made into a film which recieved an Academy Award nomination.

Shaffer continued to make waves in the theatre and film industry throughout his life. His favourite script was reportedly The Wicker Man, one of Shaffer’s most classical scripts which was also very popular with audiences.  He continued to write a number of successful plays and films of the thriller and detective genre, and wrote two Agatha Christie screen adaptations. Anthony Shaffer died on 6th November 2001.


—. Murderer: A Play in Two Acts. London: Marion Boyars, 1979.

—. Sleuth. London: Marion Boyars, 1981.

—. Whodunnit: A Comedy Thriller. London: Samuel French, 1983.

—. This Savage Parade. Oxford: Amber Lane Press, 1988.

—. Widow’s Weeds, or, For Years I Couldn’t Wear My Black: A Play in Three Acts. London: Samuel French, 1989.