They say it comes in threes...
In the same week that millions of Marvel fans lost an icon from the childhoods (and beyond) in Stan Lee, comes news that William Goldman, author of The Princess Bride book and screenplay has died at 87.
While Goldman's The Princess Bride is probably the major work that will have fans mourning his loss, the Oscar-winning screenwriter had a pretty prolific body of acclaimed screenplay work. His list of film credits include Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (which won him the Oscar), All the President's Men, The Ghost and the Darkness, The Stepford Wives, A Bridge Too Far, Maverick (1996), The General's Daughter, Dreamcatcher and Misery - to name a few. Needless to say he was a significant talent in multiple genres of cinematic storytelling, who will be missed.
Deadline reports that Goldman's health had been failing for some time (especially over the summer), and that the writer finally succumbed last night in his Manhattan home, with family and friends in attendance.
Goldman is considered one of the masters of screenwriting - and with good reason. He began as a novelist, coming from a troubled childhood home of an alcoholic father who was a failed businessman, and a mother who was hearing impaired. He managed to get a B.A. from Oberlin College, before joining the army in the early '50s. Because of his typing prowess he was sent to work as a clerk at the Pentagon, before earning his M.A. from Columbia University in 1956. He was a moderately successful novelist into the '60s, where influences from his brother James, a playwright and screenwriter, helped William transition into screenwriting. He had a big success with the 1966 film Harper. After that he tried to go back to novels, but instead completed a project he'd been working on for nearly a decade, which became Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.
The script for Butch Cassidy earned Goldman the highest selling price for a movie script up to that point ($400K), and the film's success snagged Goldman the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay at the 1970 Academy Awards. He used the earnings and clout to pursue some of other screenplay and novel projects, but his next big breakout success was a 1973 novel titled The Princess Bride. He followed that with another successful film, All The President's Men; however, aside from one or two successful novel and/or screenplay projects, Goldman found his popularity in Hollywood slowing down as the '70s came to a close.
Goldman had a major resurgence in the mid-to-late '80s, when he did scripts for the Burt Reynolds action film Heat, and adapted his own novel into The Princess Bride movie. That film remains an enduring cult-classic to this day, and is probably the work that will Goldman the most widespread recognition of his talent. He scored another cult-hit with the adaptation of Stephen King's Misery in 1990, and transitioned during that time into working as a "script doctor" who helped punch-up other writers' screenplays. His doctoring work included many of the popular films put out by studio Castle Rock Entertainment, including A Few Good Men, Twins, Indecent Proposal, Last and Last Action Hero. He would go through the 2000s working continuing to put out memoirs, as well as continuing to adapt Stephen King works like Hearts in Atlantis, Dreamcatcher - and even the 2015 Broadway adaptation of Misery.
As stated above, few in Hollywood have done it better, for longer. R.I.P. William Goldman - August 12, 1931 - November 15, 2018. We'd like to send our condolences to Mr. Goldman's friends and family, in their time of grieving.0comments