Anthony Shaffer

Anthony Shaffer.

If Diane Cilento had nine lives, her third husband Anthony Shaffer could match her.

Tony was born in Liverpool in 1926, an identical twin to Peter who also became a playwright best known for Equus and Amadeus.

Following his studies in Cambridge and work as a barrister, he worked in advertising for many years, but eventually found making ads unfulfilling. So he chucked it in to write a play.


That play, Sleuth, a genuine thriller, opened in 1970. It ran for more than eight years in London and four on Broadway where it won two Tony Award including Best Play. There have been two movie versions in 1972 and 2007.

Tony went on to write screenplays for Alfred Hitchcock's Frenzy and film adaptations of Agatha Christie novels featuring Peter Ustinov as Hercule Poirot.

In 1973 he wrote the screenplay for The Wicker Man starring Edward Woodward which was to become a cult classic. When casting The Wicker Man, Tony met Diane Cilento who became his third wife. Together they moved to Karnak in Far North Queensland in 1975. He died in 2001.

Included within the material gifted to QUT by the Cilento family were original scripts written by Shaffer. These scripts have been digitised for the benefit of students and researchers and many are available to view online as part of the collection.