William Goldman, the two-time Academy Award winning screenwriter who also one of the most respected writers about the inner workings of Hollywood, not to mention the author of the novel, The Princess Bride, which he later adapted into the classic 1987 film, has passed away. He was 87 years old.
Born in Chicago, Goldman graduated from Oberlin College in 1952 and, following a stint in the army, earned a Masters Degree from Columbia University in 1956. Goldman first began his career as a novelist, releasing a string of popular novels in the late 1950s and early 1960s, two of which (Soldier in the Rain and No Way to Treat a Lady) were turned into films without Goldman's involvement in the screenplay.
During the 1960s, Goldman turned to Broadway, where he wrote a play with his brother, James. The brothers also wrote a musical with John Kander. During this time, Goldman was first approached by Hollywood. While trying to get a third novel of his (Boys and Girls Together), adapted into a film, Goldman was given the chance to adapt the Ross MacDonald novel, The Moving Target. The resulting film, Harper, starring Paul Newman, was a major critical and commercial success. Goldman then wrote his first original screenplay, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. He sold the script for $400,000, the highest anyone had been paid for a screenplay at the time. The resulting film (also starring Paul Newman, along with Robert Redford) was a blockbuster and Goldman won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.
During this point, Goldman took a year off to write a book about the 1968 Broadway Theater season. This established Goldman as a respected writer about popular culture. The 1970s saw Goldman write a number of screenplays, including hits like The Stepford Wives, Marathon Man (based on his novel of the same name) and All The President's Men. The latter film, about Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein's coverage of Watergate, won Goldman his second Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay.
RELATED: Burt Reynolds Passes Away At Age 82
In 1973, Goldman wrote the novel, The Princess Bride, a clever fairy tale in which the novel was presented as though it was an abridged version of a classic novel. Goldman would later write the screenplay for the 1987 film adaptation directed by Rob Reiner. The film has become a cult classic. Reiner then enlisted Goldman into adapting Stephen King's Misery, which was a big hit and earned Kathy Bates an Academy Award for Best Actress.
During the 1980s, Goldman released a memoir of his time in Hollywood titled Adventures in the Screen Trade. In the book, he coined the classic phrase that was his summation of the entertainment industry, "Nobody knows anything." Goldman wrote a number of other non-fiction books, as well, including a book about following New York sports for a year with sportswriter Mike Lupica.
More recently, he adapted Misery for a Broadway play in 2015 and he had been trying to adapt The Princess Bride for a musical for years.