Anthony Shaffer (writer)

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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, 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, Brian. 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]


‹See Tfd›

Shaffer was married three times—to Henrietta Glaskie, Carolyn Soley, and Diane Cilento—and with Soley had two children, Claudia and Cressida. 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 before he married Cilento in 1985, and he was legally domiciled in Australia, although he maintained a flat in Chelsea for his family. This became an issue after his death, when one of his mistresses, Marie-Josette ("Jo") Capece Minutolo, made one of the claims on his estate in the British High Court (the other by Diane Cilento), arguing that 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 and his estate were not legally domiciled in the United Kingdom at the time of his death, Minutolo and Cilento had no claims on his estate nor on his beneficiaries and dependents. Litigation against Claudia, whom he named his next of kin, by the administrators of his estate continues, and in September 2014 another 5-day trial was listed for hearing in October 2015. Shaffer's last will and testament under which Claudia was named his literary executor has yet to be disclosed.[citation needed]




  • 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 with Carolyn Shaffer (2001 - 2006)




External links[edit]