Anthony Shaffer (writer)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
For the U.S. intelligence officer, see Anthony Shaffer (intelligence officer).
Anthony Shaffer
Born Anthony Joshua Shaffer
15 May 1926
Liverpool, Lancashire, England, UK
Died 6 November 2001(2001-11-06) (aged 75)
Chelsea and Westminister Hospital, London, England, UK
Resting place Highgate Cemetery, London
Occupation Playwright, screenwriter, novelist, barrister, advertising executive
Spouse Carolyn Soley (divorced; 2 children)
Diane Cilento (1985-2001; his death)

Anthony Joshua Shaffer (15 May 1926 – 6 November 2001) was an English playwright, screenwriter, novelist, barrister and advertising executive.

Early life[edit]

Shaffer was born to a Jewish family in Liverpool, Lancashire, the son of Reka (née Fredman) and Jack Shaffer, who was an estate agent with his wife's family.[1][2] He was the identical twin brother of writer and dramatist Peter Shaffer, and they had another brother. He graduated with a law degree from Trinity College, Cambridge.


Shaffer's most notable work was the play Sleuth (1970), which he adapted for the film version which starred Laurence Olivier and Michael Caine, and was Oscar nominated. He received Edgar Awards from the Mystery Writers of America for both versions: for Best Play in 1971, and Best Screenplay in 1973.

His other major screenplays include the Hitchcock thriller Frenzy (1972) and the British cult thriller The Wicker Man (1973) with whose director, Robin Hardy, Shaffer had previously set up a television production company Hardy, Shaffer & Associates.[citation needed]


Shaffer was married three times and had two children. His third wife was the Australian actress Diane Cilento, whom he met in 1973 when she appeared in The Wicker Man. He moved to Queensland when he married Cilento, and became legally domiciled in Australia although he maintained a flat in Chelsea and spent most of his time there. This became an issue after his death, when his mistress Marie-Josette ("Jo") Capece Minutolo made a claim on his estate in the British High Court, arguing he had intended to divorce Cilento and marry her, and that he had given her an engagement ring. The British judge found that as Shaffer was not legally domiciled in the United Kingdom at the time of his death, Minutolo had no claim on his estate.[citation needed]



  • The Woman in the Wardrobe: a lighthearted detective story (1951)[citation needed]
  • How Doth the Little Crocodile? (1952) – co-written with Peter Shaffer, published under the pseudonym "Peter Anthony"
  • Withered Murder (1955) – co-written with Peter Shaffer, published under the pseudonym "Peter Anthony"
  • Absolution (1979) – based on Shaffer's screenplay for the 1978 film
  • The Wicker Man (1979) – co-written with Robin Hardy, based on Shaffer's screenplay


  • The Savage Parade (1963; later revised as This Savage Parade, 1987)
  • Sleuth (1970)
  • Murderer (1975)
  • Whodunnit (1977; originally called The Case of the Oily Levantine)
  • Widow's Weeds (1986; originally called For Years I Couldn't Wear My Black; 1977 world premiere in Brisbane, Queensland, by the Queensland Theatre Company)
  • The Thing in the Wheelchair (2001)


  • So What Did You Expect? (2001)
  • Lock the Door and Tell Nobody (2001)




External links[edit]