William Goldman

William Goldman, Oscar-winning creator of The Princess Bride, dead at 87

Contributed by
Nov 16, 2018

William Goldman, the famed novelist and screenwriter known for such works as Marathon Man and The Princess Bride, has passed away at the age of 87, Deadline has confirmed. According to the report, his health had been declining over the summer and he died in his Manhattan home, surrounded by loved ones.

Goldman was a two-time Oscar winner for his work on Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) and All the President's Men (1976). Goldman's older brother, James, was also a script writer (for movies and plays) until his death in 1998 at the age of 71.

He was often tapped to adapt novels for the big screen, particularly his own, but that didn't stop him from trying his hand at bringing other authors to movie theaters. Goldman turned Ira Levin's The Stepford Wives and Stephen King's Misery into screenplays, which then became classic films in their own right.

Born in Chicago's Highland Park to a Jewish family, Goldman lost his father to a suicide when he was in high school. After graduating, he attended Oberlin College for undergrad and Columbia for a master's degree. While in the army, he worked as a clerk at the Pentagon, thanks to his excellent typing skills. He had trouble publishing his own works, mainly short stories, until the publication of his first novel, The Temple of Gold, in 1957. The book was written in a mere three weeks and tells a story about the friendship between two boys in Illinois.

In 1973, the author published The Princess Bride, a fantasy novel, telling the tale of an epic romance between Princess Buttercup and farmhand Westley. Goldman adapted the book for director Rob Reiner's film adaptation in 1987, which used the framing device of a grandfather (Peter Falk) reading the book to his grandson (Fred Savage) in order to tell the story.

Starring the likes of Cary Elwes, André the Giant, Robin Wright, Mandy Patinkin, Wallace Shawn, and Billy Crystal, the film has become an '80s pop culture icon, leading to many fans often quoting lines of dialogue such as "INCONCEIVABLE!", "As you wish," and "Anybody want a peanut?"

"I’m shocked and saddened by the passing of William Goldman," Chris Sarandon, who played the wicked Prince Humperdinck, told SYFY WIRE. "He was an extraordinary writer and a great man. I feel privileged to have known him and to have been a part of one of his greatest creations, The Princess Bride. R.I.P., Bill..."

Goldman's other credits include Magic (based on his own novel), Memoirs of an Invisible ManLast Action HeroHearts in Atlantis, and Dreamcatcher. The last two were his second and third times adapting books by Stephen King into screenplays.

Goldman is survived by his two daughters, Jenny and Susanna.

(Biographical information via Encyclopædia Britannica & Indie Film Hustle)


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