Legendary Screenwriter William Goldman Dies At 87

Willliam Goldman

William Goldman - the legendary novelist, essayist and screenwriter - has passed away at the age of 87 as reported by Deadline. Goldman reportedly died in his Manhattan home, surrounded by his family and friends. No specific cause of death has been reported, but Goldman had apparently been suffering from failing health for some time and saw a rapid decline during the past summer.

Born in the Chicago suburb of Highland Park in 1931, Goldman knew from the start that he wanted to be a writer. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Oberlin College in 1952 before enlisting in the Army and going on to earn his Masters of Arts degree from Columbia University in 1956. He then spent the better part of a decade struggling to sell his short stories and novels, while working on musicals with his brother, James Goldman, and their roommate John Kander, who went on to compose the music for Cabaret and Chicago.

Goldman first broke into screenwriting in 1965 after actor Cliff Robertson (who had read an early draft of one of Goldman's original novels) hired him to adapt the short story Flowers For Algernon into a screenplay and recommended him for a job rewriting the script for Masquerade - a spy-spoof Robertson was set to star in. Though Goldman's script for Flowers For Algernon was ultimately rejected, it still led to him being offered other work as a script-doctor and screenplay writer. This ultimately led to Goldman writing his first original screenplay, Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid, for which he won the Oscar for Best Screenplay in 1969.

William Goldman The Princess Bride All The President's Men Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid Covers

Goldman would go on to win the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay in 1976 for his work on All The President's Men. He would not win any more Oscars over the next four decades, but he would work - as a screenwriter or as a consultant - on over 40 different films. Perhaps the most popular of these was The Princess Bride, which Goldman adapted for the screen from his own original novel. Goldman famously bought the film rights back from the studio to which he'd originally sold them with his own money, holding onto them for over a decade before he found a director (Rob Reiner) who he felt could do the story justice. The film version of The Princess Bride became a cult classic and the original novel has not gone out of print since its initial release in 1973.

While best known for his work as a screenwriter, Goldman is also acclaimed as a non-fiction author and essayist. His autobiographical works Adventures In The Screen Trade and Which Lie Did I Tell? are widely considered to be two of the best books ever written on how Hollywood operates behind the scenes as well as fantastic beginners' guides for aspiring screenplay writers. Both books are frequently used as textbooks for acting and screenwriting classes.

Goldman is survived by two daughters from his marriage to model Ilene Jones, Jenny Rebecca and Susanna.


Source: Deadline

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