Born in London, Shane Briant is the son of Australian actor Elizabeth Nolan. His father was an Irish guardsman and a writer. Briant studied Law at Trinity College Dublin, topping the school. Briant has achieved considerable success as an actor - he won the London Theatre Critics Best Newcomer Award in 1971 - and has written novels and screenplays largely in the thriller genre.
Briant took up residence in Australia in the early 1980s following a promotional tour to Australia for the film Lady Chatterley's Lover.