Acclaimed British playwright Shelagh Delaney has died at the age of 71 from cancer in Suffolk, England, her agent said on Monday.
Raised in a poor home in Salford, Delaney was just 19 years old when she penned her most famous work ‘A Taste of Honey,’ the controversial story of a working class girl who gets pregnant during a fling with a black sailor before finding comfort with a gay art student.
In 1961, Delaney and the director Tony Richardson teamed up to turn the groundbreaking play into a film. For their work, the two were awarded a BAFTA (Britain’s equivalent of an Oscar) for Best British Screenplay in 1961 and Writers’ Guild of Great Britain Award in 1962.
In addition to A Taste of Honey, Delany also wrote the screenplays The White Bus and Charlie Bubbles, as well as several radio plays including Tell Me a Film in 2003 and Country Life in 2004.
Delaney, who died on Sunday evening at her daughter Charlotte’s home in Eastern England, was an influence on both the Beatles and Morrissey, who put her face on a the cover of The Smiths’ 1987 compliation album Louder Than Bombs.
“I’ve never made any secret of the fact that at least 50 per cent of my reason for writing can be blamed on Shelagh Delaney,” Morrissey once said of the famous playwright.
Delaney is survived by her daughter Charlotte, and three grandchildren.