William Goldman (1931-2018)

Novelist, playwright, and screenwriter William Goldman, 87, died November 16, 2018 of colon cancer in Manhattan. Goldman is best known in SF circles for his novel The Princess Bride (1973), and for writing the script for the classic 1979 film adaptation. Other novels of genre interest include Control (1982) and The Silent Gondoliers (1983). He is widely famous for his Academy Award-winning screenplays like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) and All the President’s Men (1976), but also wrote films of SF interest including The Stepford Wives (1975, based on the Ira Levin novel) and Stephen King adaptations Misery (1990), Hearts in Atlantis (2001), and Dreamcatcher (2003); he was reportedly a script doctor for King adaptation Dolores Claiborne (1995) as well. He wrote an unproduced adaptation of “Flowers for Algernon” by Daniel Keyes in 1964, and a short-lived Broadway adaptation of Misery that opened in 2015.

Goldman was born August 12, 1931 in Highland Park IL and attended Oberlin College before getting his master’s degree at Columbia in 1956. Debut novel The Temple of Gold appeared in 1957, and after publishing a few novels, he was approached by actor Cliff Robertson about writing an adaptation of “Flowers for Algernon”. Though the script was rejected, it gave Goldman an opportunity to learn the form, and he sold his first original screenplay, for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, for a then-record $400,000 in the late ’60s. He wrote the script while teaching creative writing at Princeton. Despite his Hollywood success, Goldman considered himself a novelist first, and wrote more than 20 books, as well as memoirs, notably Adventures in the Screen Trade: A Personal View of Hollywood and Screenwriting (1983).

Goldman was married to Ilene Jones for 30 years; they divorced in 1991. He is survived by daughter Jenny Goldman and a grandson, and was predeceased by daughter Susanna in 2015.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *