‘Butch Cassidy’ and ‘Princess Bride’ Writer William Goldman Has Passed Away
Hollywood's most influential and successful scribe leaves a body of work unlikely to be matched
Novelist and screenwriter William Goldman (pictured above right) has passed away at the age of 87.
Goldman is responsible for the screenplays of such classic films as “The Princess Bride,” “All the President’s Men,” and “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.”
His most recent writing work included the screenplay for the 2015 Jason Statham film “Wild Card,” based on his own novel titled “Heat,” and the 2015 Broadway adaptation of Stephen King’s “Misery,” starring Bruce Willis.
Goldman’s daughter, Jenny, confirmed his death to The Washington Post on Friday morning.
She cited complications from colon cancer and pneumonia as the causes of death.
Goldman, an Army veteran, is arguably the most famous and influential screenwriter to ever come out of Hollywood. One of his most notable quotes about the business is still widely used to this day: “Nobody knows anything.”
The quote is from Goldman’s book “Adventures in the Screen Trade,” one of a handful of nonfiction books he authored about his career.
Goldman was a prolific and humble storyteller. Though he wrote classic films that to this day continue to influence people, he often said he thought very little of his own words.
“I [don’t] like my writing. I wrote a movie called ‘Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,’ and I wrote a novel called ‘The Princess Bride,’ and those are the only two things I’ve ever written, not that I’m proud of, but that I can look at without humiliation,” he said once, according to the book “William Goldman: The Reluctant Storyteller.”
Goldman won two Academy Awards during his career, one for Best Adapted Screenplay for “All the President’s Men” and one for Best Original Screenplay for “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.”
Other movies credited to Goldman include “Marathon Man,” “Dreamcatcher,” “Magic,” “The General’s Daughter,” and Clint Eastwood’s “Absolute Power.”
While his screenwriting work was often praised, his novels were gems that were not discussed or praised nearly enough.
Anyone looking for a close examination of the immense talent of Goldman and his unmatched sense of character and struggle should dive into books like “Heat,” “Magic” or “The Princess Bride” (the latter would become the hit movie directed by Rob Reiner).
A documentary about Goldman’s life and work was partially funded through Kickstarter in 2016.
The film features interviews with Goldman’s colleagues, as well as interviews with Goldman himself. The documentary is titled “Nobody Knows Anything: Except William Goldman” and should be released in the near future.
For more on the extraordinary career and talents of William Goldman, check out the video below: