The film world lost one of its very best screenwriters today. William Goldman, the screenwriter for “All the President’s Men,” “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” and “The Princess Bride,” passed away at the age of 87. The legendary screenwriter passed in his home late last night, informing Deadline of his passing this morning. His work “Adventures in the Screen Trade” remains a definitive exploration of the industry and becoming a journalist who covers entertainment. It will remain one of his many masterpieces.
Goldman began his career as a writer by writing novels. This gave him the ability to understand what was fluff and what the true story can be for any picture. His filmography remains one of the most impressive by a screenwriter in history. He won his first Oscar for “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” in 1970. He missed that ceremony because he was busy on the East Coast attending a Knicks game. However, he would return to the Oscars with “All the Presidents Men” in 1977, winning his second prize. In subsequent years, he wrote the novel and screenplay for “The Princess Bride,” which released in 1987. His other credits include “Papillion,” “Misery,” “The Stepford Wives,” “Marathon Man,” “Chaplin” and more.
He famously told Jonathan Demme to cut a fifteen-minute block out of “Silence of the Lambs,” helping to streamline the picture. Similar stories swirl around “Good Will Hunting,” and Goldman. Supposedly, he convinced the studio that Ben Affleck and Matt Damon had the entire story in the first act of the film (in an early draft, Will goes on to become a CIA Wargames specialist). Goldman’s influence on screenwriters and storytellers cannot be measured because he often did not take credit. That tells you everything about William Goldman.