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English playwright and screenwriter of numerous award-winning plays, several of which have been turned into films. Jack Shaffer, an estate agent. He was the identical twin brother of fellow playwright Anthony Shaffer. He was educated at the Hall School, Hampstead, and St Paul’s School, London, and subsequently he gained a scholarship to Trinity College, Cambridge, to study history.
Shaffer was a Bevin Boy coal miner during World War II, and took a number of jobs including bookstore clerk, and assistant at the New York Public Library, before discovering his dramatic talents. Encouraged by this success, Shaffer continued to write and established his reputation as a playwright in 1958, with the production of Five Finger Exercise, which opened in London under the direction of John Gielgud and won the Evening Standard Drama Award.
When Five Finger Exercise moved to New York City in 1959, it was equally well received and landed Shaffer the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Best Foreign Play. The Public Eye, two plays each containing three characters and concerning aspects of love.