He won the Drama Desk Vernon Rice Award twice for his plays, Mrs. Dally Has A Lover and Whisper Into My Good Ear, both of which were turned into television movies. He was best known for his 1964 Broadway play Slow Dance on the Killing Ground, which starred George Rose, Carolan Daniels, and Clarence Williams III.
Hanley wrote over 30 movies, miniseries, and teleplays during his career, earning Emmy Awards for Something About Amelia and The Attic: The Hiding of Anne Frank. His many other works included Scarlett, Who'll Save Our Children?, The Long Way Home, Little Gloria…Happy At Last and The Kennedys of Massachusetts.
Hanley is survived by his two daughters, Katherine and Nell, and a sister, Patricia.