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Playwright Peter Shaffer CBE dies at the age of 90

Peter Shaffer CBE

British playwright and screenwriter Peter Shaffer has died at the age of 90, whilst on holiday in Ireland with his friends and family.

The writer was born in Liverpool on 15 May 1926 and was educated in London and Cambridge University. Over the course of his career was responsible for 18 plays, and he was awarded the CBE in 1987 and named Knight Bachelor in the 2001 New Year's Honours.

Known for his mix of philosophical dramas and satirical comedies his biggest hits were produced by the National Theatre, including The Royal Hunt of the Sun (1964) and Black Comedy (1965).

Arguably his biggest hit came in 1973 with Equus which went on to win the 1975 Tony Award for Best Play, along with the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award. The original production ran for over 1000 performances on Broadway, and was revived in London in February 2007 in a production that starred Daniel Radcliffe and Richard Griffiths and later transferred to Broadway.

This was followed by his hit play Amadeus (1979) which originated at the National Theatre, and is set to be revived in this current season. The play won the Evening Standard Drama Award and the Theatre Critics' Award the 1981 Tony Award for Best Play after transferring to Broadway.

The play was adapted into a screen version in 1984 and won eight Academy Awards including Best Picture. Shaffer received two Academy Award nominations for adapting both Equus and Amadeus for the cinema.

A statement from Shaffer's agents read: "It is with great sorrow that we must announce the death of our friend and client, Sir Peter Shaffer CBE whilst on a visit to Ireland with friends and family. He was 90. Peter was one of the true Greats of British Theatre as well as a wonderful friend, wickedly funny man and sparkling raconteur whose lifelong passion for his own art was matched by his love for music, painting and architecture."

Director of the National Theatre, Rufus Norris, said: "Peter Shaffer was one of the great writers of his generation and the National Theatre was enormously lucky to have had such a fruitful and creative relationship with him. The plays he leaves behind are an enduring legacy."

Shaffer is survived by his brother Brian along with his nephews Milo and Mark and nieces Cressida and Claudia.

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