William Goldman, the screenwriter best known for his Oscar-winning scripts for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) and Al the President's Men (1976), has died, Deadline reports.
He was 87.
Goldman's health had been in decline "for some time," and took a turn for the worse this summer.
Mike Fleming Jr., who filed the initial report for Deadline, summed Goldman up succinctly as "one of the greats, a true legend."
Goldman was born on August 12, 1931, in Chicago, graduating from Oberlin in 1952 and serving in the army. He earned a Master's from Columbia while writing short stories, none well-received by his classmates, and moved to NYC to live with his brother, James Goldman (1927-1998) and their friend John Kander (b. 1927), all of whom would go on to win Oscars.
Goldman published his first, unremarkable novel, The Temple of Gold, in 1957. It nonetheless sold well, leading him to what would become a highly successful career as a novelist, one that inicludes Boys and Girls Together (1964), No Way to Treat a Lady (1964), The Princess Bride (1973), Marathon Man (1974) and Magic (1976).
In the meantime, Goldman had begun writing for the movies, working on Masquerade in 1965 with a co-writer, and experiencing a career-launching hit with 1966's Harper.
He followed up Harper with the instant classic Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, for which he was paid a record-breaking $400,000, and for which he won his first Academy Award.
Among his other film hits: The Stepford Wives (1975), The Great Waldo Pepper (1975), Marathan Man (1976), All the President's Men (1976; second Oscar), The Princess Bride (1987), Misery (1990), Chaplin (1992) and a number of hits on which he was a consultant or provided uncredited work, such as Twins (1988) and A Few Good Men (1992).
Goldman's continued screenwriting into the 2000s with less success. His final writing credit was on the short 5 Minutes in 2018.
Along with his many other accomplishments, Goldman wrote non-fiction, including his iconic Adventures in the Screen Trade: A Personal View of Hollywood and Screenwriting (1983), often cited as one of the best books on Hollywood ever published.
From the book, his most famous quote:
Nobody knows anything.
Goldman was divorced from his wife of 30 years, Ilene Jones, in 1991. He is survived by two daughters.
Goldman has been eulogized rapturously on social media by his peers:
RIP #WilliamGoldman. One of the greatest most successful screenwriters ever. I was lucky as hell to count Bill as a mentor and a friend. Check his credits & see a William Goldman movie or read a Goldman book over the holiday & give thanks that we had his voice in our world. https://t.co/RWRdCoO1Cm
— Ron Howard (@RealRonHoward) November 16, 2018
Legendary William Goldman, has died. He gave us ‘The Princess Bride’, ( book even better than the film) ‘Butch Cassidy-’ screenplay of "All the President's Men’ and best book on show biz, ‘Adventures in the Screen Trade’. He was also a true friend. Thank you dear Bill pic.twitter.com/dcwfYPd3ue
— Mia Farrow (@MiaFarrow) November 16, 2018
William Goldman was huge part Of creating some of the seminal movies of the 70’s and beyond. His book on screenwriting was a touchstone for me and I always felt star struck and intimidated seeing him at Knicks games. #RESPECT https://t.co/ED9HUJc50R
— Ben Stiller (@RedHourBen) November 16, 2018
William Goldman wrote brilliant novels, screenplays and razor-sharp takes on filmmaking. He was also a very nice man. RIP.
— Michael McKean (@MJMcKean) November 16, 2018
I wouldn't/couldn't have become a writer if not for William Goldman. Stole my style from him utterly.
All The President's Men. Princess Bride. Butch & Sundance. And his seminal book, Adventures in the Screen Trade.
A writer's writer. A legend. RIP, Sir.@Karaszewski @johnaugust pic.twitter.com/Z64l8vxG3N
— Billy Ray (@BillyRay5229) November 16, 2018
“Nobody knows anything” is a liberating concept. It means don’t take no for an answer, be bold, try something new. Yes, the fall will probably kill ya... but listen to your inner voice. R.I.P. the great screenwriter William Goldman. pic.twitter.com/MmLLmsxQtt
— Larry Karaszewski (@Karaszewski) November 16, 2018
William Goldman's All the President's Men is one of the best screenplays ever--a miracle of thoughtful adaptation. His most famous aphorism about Hollywood was "Nobody knows anything." I don't think he believed it for a minute. RIP.
— Mark Harris (@MarkHarrisNYC) November 16, 2018
That resume. My God. RIP William Goldman https://t.co/ZmAN7sCRpS
— Josh Gad (@joshgad) November 16, 2018
A monumental talent who defined late 20th c screenwriting. Read ADVENTURES IN THE SCREEN TRADE. “Nobody knows anything.”William Goldman, Screenwriting Star and Hollywood Skeptic, Dies. https://t.co/NoyVOmcqjR
— Dana Delany (@DanaDelany) November 16, 2018
Spare a moment in your day for William Goldman, best known as the author/screenwriter of The Princess Bride, and whose writing style had a huge influence on my own, who has passed away. One of the greats. https://t.co/SFo1gHkAJh
— John Scalzi (@scalzi) November 16, 2018