Playwright William Hanley dies at 80

Wrote landmark telepic 'Something About Amelia'

William Hanley, a Broadway playwright and award-winning screenwriter who scripted a pioneering TV film that dealt with incest, died May 25 in Ridgefield, Conn. He was 80.

Hanley’s works include “Slow Dance on the Killing Ground” and “Mrs. Dally Has a Lover” and the teleplays “The Long Way Home” and “The Kennedys of Massachusetts.”

He won Emmys for the TV movies “The Attic: The Hiding of Anne Frank” and “Something About Amelia.”

“Amelia,” which first aired in 1984 on ABC, explored the largely taboo topic of parental sexual abuse. Ted Danson, then the star of hit sitcom “Cheers,” portrayed a doting, well-to-do father exposed as having had sexual relations with his teenage daughter. Glenn Close played the mother in the critically acclaimed, top-rated program, which also won Emmys for outstanding drama special and for young Roxanne Zal, who played the abused daughter.

In addition, Hanley wrote the screenplay for 1969 film “The Gypsy Moths,” as well as several novels.

Hanley is survived by two daughters, a sister and three granddaughters.

More TV

  • Harry Kane of England celebrates scoring

    World Cup Live-Stream: How to Watch England vs. Panama

    William Hanley, a Broadway playwright and award-winning screenwriter who scripted a pioneering TV film that dealt with incest, died May 25 in Ridgefield, Conn. He was 80. Hanley’s works include “Slow Dance on the Killing Ground” and “Mrs. Dally Has a Lover” and the teleplays “The Long Way Home” and “The Kennedys of Massachusetts.” He […]

  • No Merchandising. Editorial Use Only. No

    'Portlandia': Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein Pick Their Proudest Musical Moments

    William Hanley, a Broadway playwright and award-winning screenwriter who scripted a pioneering TV film that dealt with incest, died May 25 in Ridgefield, Conn. He was 80. Hanley’s works include “Slow Dance on the Killing Ground” and “Mrs. Dally Has a Lover” and the teleplays “The Long Way Home” and “The Kennedys of Massachusetts.” He […]

  • NANTUCKET, MA - JUNE 23: (L-R)

    How Long Will TV and Film's Boom Market for Female Stories Last?

    William Hanley, a Broadway playwright and award-winning screenwriter who scripted a pioneering TV film that dealt with incest, died May 25 in Ridgefield, Conn. He was 80. Hanley’s works include “Slow Dance on the Killing Ground” and “Mrs. Dally Has a Lover” and the teleplays “The Long Way Home” and “The Kennedys of Massachusetts.” He […]

  • Actors Kit Harington and Rose Leslie

    'Game of Thrones' Stars Rose Leslie and Kit Harington Married in Scotland

    William Hanley, a Broadway playwright and award-winning screenwriter who scripted a pioneering TV film that dealt with incest, died May 25 in Ridgefield, Conn. He was 80. Hanley’s works include “Slow Dance on the Killing Ground” and “Mrs. Dally Has a Lover” and the teleplays “The Long Way Home” and “The Kennedys of Massachusetts.” He […]

  • Seth Rogen Says He Rejected Paul

    Seth Rogen Says He Rejected Paul Ryan's Request for a Photo

    William Hanley, a Broadway playwright and award-winning screenwriter who scripted a pioneering TV film that dealt with incest, died May 25 in Ridgefield, Conn. He was 80. Hanley’s works include “Slow Dance on the Killing Ground” and “Mrs. Dally Has a Lover” and the teleplays “The Long Way Home” and “The Kennedys of Massachusetts.” He […]

  • ROSEANNE - "Netflix & Pill" -

    'Roseanne': What's Next for ABC's Spinoff

    William Hanley, a Broadway playwright and award-winning screenwriter who scripted a pioneering TV film that dealt with incest, died May 25 in Ridgefield, Conn. He was 80. Hanley’s works include “Slow Dance on the Killing Ground” and “Mrs. Dally Has a Lover” and the teleplays “The Long Way Home” and “The Kennedys of Massachusetts.” He […]

  • D'Arcy Carden The Good Place

    Emmys: Will Critical Darlings Like 'The Good Place' and 'Killing Eve' Find a Foothold?

    William Hanley, a Broadway playwright and award-winning screenwriter who scripted a pioneering TV film that dealt with incest, died May 25 in Ridgefield, Conn. He was 80. Hanley’s works include “Slow Dance on the Killing Ground” and “Mrs. Dally Has a Lover” and the teleplays “The Long Way Home” and “The Kennedys of Massachusetts.” He […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content