The great Amadeus and Equus playwright Peter Shaffer died June 6th in County
Cork, Ireland at age 90.
loved New York City, came here in 1950 and worked as a clerk at the Doubleday
bookstore at Grand Central Station, and then behind the lending counter at the
New York Public Library.
wrote more than 18 plays, including Amadeus, Equus, Black Comedy/White Lies,
Lettice and Lovage, The Royal Hunt of the Sun and Five Finger Exercise.
His first show on Broadway, Five Finger Exercise opened in 1959.
Amadeus won five Tony Awards in 1981, including Best Play. The movie, which Shaffer
wrote, won eight Oscars, including Best Picture, in 1984.
last Broadway production was a 2008 revival of Equus, which won a Tony when it opened
in 1975 . Shaffer was amused at the contrast between London and New York
audiences to his “psychological thriller”. “In those days, you couldn’t find
four people in London who were in psychoanalysis… In New York, it would be
surprising to find four people who weren’t. So London was fixated on the horses.
New York was fixated on the psychiatrist.”
spoken, Shaffer, who known for his constant re-writes, confided “Being a playwright
is one of the hardest things I think a writer or an artist can be. It’s an
endlessly demanding faith; one is never satisfied with anything — ever.”
needn’t have worried.