Peter Shaffer, a leading British playwright whose Tony-winning dramas “Equus” and “Amadeus” explored the male psyche through the entwined anguish of dual protagonists, died on Monday in County Cork, Ireland. He was 90.
His agent, Rupert Lord, confirmed the death. “Sir Peter had traveled to Ireland to celebrate his 90th birthday with close friends and relations,” Mr. Lord said in an email. Mr. Shaffer turned 90 on May 15. Mr. Shaffer, who lived in Manhattan for more than 40 years, died in a hospice in Curraheen, a district outside Cork City.
Valued by critics and audiences on both sides of the Atlantic, Mr. Shaffer (pronounced SHAFF-er) saw his reputation amplified by well-received movie renderings of his plays. He won an Academy Award for his film adaptation of “Amadeus,” about the rivalry between Antonio Salieri, the court composer for the Holy Roman Emperor Joseph II, and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, the precocious composer whose magnificent gifts thrill the older man and fill him with malicious jealousy as he realizes his own consignment to mediocrity.
I'm a huge fan of the movie Amadeus - Shaffer co-wrote the screenplay based on his play. I saw the play too - an ex-boyfriend who always went top drawer in everything took me to see it, and we were in the front row and Mozart's sweat flew all over us.
But more than that, I think the structure and emphases of the movie - the original movie not the director's cut - is just better than the play.
One of the great scenes from the movie.