'Princess Bride' writer William Goldman dies, aged 87

Sam Ashurst
Contributor

Oscar-winning screenwriter and best-selling author William Goldman, known for The Princess Bride, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and All The President’s Men, amongst many other cinematic classics, has died aged 87.

Goldman’s daughter confirmed his death was the result of colon cancer and pneumonia. He died in his Manhattan home, surrounded by family and friends.

William Goldman was an iconic member of the ‘70s generation of filmmakers who tore up the rulebook to tell stories in their own way.

But the writer first found fame in the late ‘60s, with his screenplay for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969), which starred Paul Newman and Robert Redford. It was Goldman’s first original film script, and it won him his first Best Original Screenplay Oscar.

The Princess Bride actor Cary Elwes

In 1973, in his capacity as an author, Goldman published The Princess Bride, a parody of fairy tale tropes, which he adapted for the screen in 1987. The resulting film, directed by Rob Reiner, continues to delight audiences.

But it was All The Presidents’ Men that won Goldman his second Oscar, for best adapted screenplay. The 1977 film, about the investigation into the Watergate cover-up, remains a major reference point in political reporting.

Goldman continued to write books during his career as a screenwriter, with the most famous being his hugely successful Adventures in the Screen Trade, published in 1983, which was one of the earliest insider accounts of ‘70s Hollywood. Gossipy in tone, and very funny, Adventures in the the Screen Trade is still in print.

He wrote two more memoirs, Hype and Glory in 1990, and Which Lie Did I Tell? in 2000.

Kathy Bates in “Misery.” (Everett Collection)

More screenplay success came in the form of Misery in 1990, again directed by Rob Reiner, an adaptation of the Stephen King novel about an obsessive fan torturing her idol, which is still considered one of the greatest horror films ever made. Kathy Bates won a Best Actress Oscar for her performance in the film.

William Goldman also wrote Chaplin (1992), for which Robert Downey Jr was Oscar-nominated for his title performance.

Goldman’s final produced feature screenplay was another Stephen King adaptation, 2003’s Dreamcatcher, directed by Lawrence Kasdan.

Goldman was married to Ilene Jones between 1961 and 1991, and had two children.

Our thoughts are with his family.


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