Peter Shaffer, award-winning British playwright, dies at 90

Mon Jun 6, 2016 1:36pm EDT
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By Piya Sinha-Roy

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The award-winning British playwright Sir Peter Shaffer, best known for penning "Amadeus" and "Equus," died Monday in County Cork, Ireland, of pneumonia and age-related issues, his long-time agent said. He was 90.

Shaffer was surrounded by friends and family at the time of his death, just a few weeks after his 90th birthday, agent Dennis Aspland told Reuters.

Born in Liverpool, and educated in London and Cambridge, Shaffer established his career with 1954's "The Salt Land," produced for BBC television, and comedies such as "The Private Ear" and "The Public Eye," both starring Dame Maggie Smith.

His drama "Equus" won numerous awards in 1975, including the Tony Award for best play, as did his drama "Amadeus" in 1981.

Shaffer was nominated for an Oscar in 1978 for his "Equus" screenplay and later won an Oscar for his screenplay adaptation of "Amadeus" in 1985.

"Equus" was revived most recently in 2007 on London's West End and New York's Broadway. "Amadeus" will be revived at London's National Theater, which Shaffer was closely involved with, this fall.

The playwright was awarded the Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 1987 and was knighted in 2001 by Queen Elizabeth II.

He is survived by his brother, Brian Shaffer.

(Editing by Bernadette Baum)

Czech film director Milos Forman (R) accompanied by actor Jeffrey Jones
(rear), dramatist Peter Shaffer (C) and producer Saul Zaentz (L) arrive
at the press conference in Prague on September 28, 2002, to present the
director's cut of Forman's famous Oscars' winning movie Amadeus which
was filmed in Prague almost 20 years ago. REUTERS/Petr Josek