William Goldman

Biografie şi Bibliografie

William Goldman (born August 12, 1931) is an American novelist, playwright, and screenwriter.

Early life and education

Goldman grew up in a Jewish family in the Chicago suburb of Highland Park, Illinois. He obtained a BA degree at Oberlin College in 1952 and a MA degree at Columbia University in 1956. Goldman lives in New York City. His brother, James Goldman, who died in 1998, was a playwright and screenwriter.


Novelist, playwright and screenwriter

According to his memoir, Adventures in the Screen Trade (1983), Goldman began writing when he took a creative-writing course in college. He did not originally intend to become a screenwriter. His main interests were poetry, short stories, and novels. Goldman published five novels and had three plays produced on Broadway before he began to write screenplays. He wrote mostly serious literary works until the death of his first agent,[when?] when he started writing thrillers, the first of which was Marathon Man.

Goldman researched Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid for eight years and used Harry Longbaugh (a variant spelling of the Sundance Kid's real name) as his pseudonym for No Way to Treat a Lady. After deciding he did not want to write a cowboy novel, he turned the story into his first original screenplay and sold it for a record $400,000. He went on to use several of his novels as the foundation for his screenplays, such as The Princess Bride.

Among the other scripts Goldman has written are The Stepford Wives (1975), Marathon Man (based on his novel) (1976), A Bridge Too Far (1977), Misery (1990), Chaplin (1992), Maverick (1994) and Absolute Power (1997). Goldman wrote the famous line "Follow the money" for the screenplay of All the President's Men; while the line is often attributed to Deep Throat, it is not found in Bob Woodward’s notes nor in Woodward and Carl Bernstein's book or articles. However, the book does have the far less quotable line from Woodward to Senator Sam Ervin, who was about to begin his own investigation: "The key was the secret campaign cash, and it should all be traced..."

One of Goldman's best-known unproduced scripts is a pirate adventure, The Sea Kings. It reportedly was to star Sean Connery and Roger Moore as pirates Blackbeard and Bonnet, but the budget was too high and the project was scrapped.


In the 1980s Goldman wrote a series of memoirs looking at his professional life on Broadway and in Hollywood. In the first of these, Adventures in the Screen Trade, he famously summed up the entertainment industry by concluding: "Nobody knows anything."

Autobiographical fiction

Simon Morgenstern is both a pseudonym and a narrative device invented by Goldman to add another layer to his novel The Princess Bride. He presents his novel as being an abridged version of a work by the fictional Morgenstern, an author from the equally fictional country of Florin. The name may be a reference to Johann Carl Simon Morgenstern who coined the term Bildungsroman describing the genre of story.

The details of Goldman's life given in the introduction and commentary for The Princess Bride are also largely fictional. For instance, he claims his wife is a psychiatrist and that he was inspired to abridge Morgenstern's The Princess Bride for his only child, a son. (The Princess Bride actually originated as a bedtime story for Goldman's two daughters.) He not only treats Morgenstern and the countries of Florin and Guilder as real, but even claims that his own father was Florinese and had immigrated to America. At one point in The Princess Bride, Goldman's commentary indicates that he had wanted to add a passage elaborating a scene skipped over by Morgenstern. He explains that his editors would not allow him to take such liberties with the "original" text, and encourages readers to write to his publisher to request a copy of this scene. Both the original publisher and its successor have responded to such requests with letters describing their supposed legal problems with the Morgenstern estate.

In the 15th and 25th Anniversary Edition of The Princess Bride, Goldman claimed that he wanted to adapt the sequel written by Morgenstern, Buttercup's Baby, but he was unable to do so because Morgenstern's estate wanted Stephen King to do the abridgment instead. He also continued the fictional details of his own life, claiming that his psychiatrist wife had divorced him, and his son had grown to have a son of his own.

Goldman also wrote The Silent Gondoliers under the Morgenstern pseudonym.


He has won two Academy Awards: an Award for Best Original Screenplay for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and an Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for All the President's Men. He has also won two Edgar Awards, from the Mystery Writers of America, for Best Motion Picture Screenplay: for Harper in 1967, and for Magic (adapted from his 1976 novel) in 1979.

Personal life

He was married to Ilene Jones from 1961 until their divorce in 1991; the couple have two daughters.

In an interview with CNN Goldman has said that his favorite writers are Miguel de Cervantes, Ingmar Bergman, Anton Chekhov, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ross Macdonald, Somerset Maugham, Irwin Shaw and Leo Tolstoy.



    Blood, Sweat, and Stanley Poole (with James Goldman)
    A Family Affair (1962; lyrics; book was by James Goldman, music by John Kander)

Screenplays (produced)

    Masquerade (with Michael Relph) (1965)
    Harper (1966; Edgar Award)
    Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969; Academy Award)
    The Hot Rock (1972)
    The Stepford Wives (1975)
    The Great Waldo Pepper (1975)
    Marathon Man (1976)
    All the President's Men (1976; Academy Award)
    A Bridge Too Far (1977)
    Magic (1978; Edgar Award)
    Heat (1987)
    The Princess Bride (1987)
    Twins (1988; uncredited)
    Misery (1990)
    A Few Good Men (1992; consultant)
    Memoirs of an Invisible Man (1992)
    Year of the Comet (1992)
    Chaplin (1992)
    Last Action Hero (1993; uncredited)
    Malice (1993; consultant)
    Maverick (1994)
    Dolores Claiborne (1995; consultant)
    The Chamber (1996)
    Extreme Measures (1996; consultant)
    The Ghost and the Darkness (1996)
    Fierce Creatures (1997; uncredited)
    Good Will Hunting (1997; consultant)
    Absolute Power (1997)
    The General's Daughter (1999)
    Hearts in Atlantis (2001)
    Dreamcatcher (2003)
    Zombieland (2009; uncredited)

Screenplays (unproduced)

    Low Fives
    The Sea Kings
    The Thing Of It Is


    Mr. Horn (1979)


    The Temple of Gold (1957)
    Your Turn to Curtsy, My Turn to Bow (1958)
    Soldier in the Rain (1960)
    Boys and Girls Together (1964)
    No Way to Treat a Lady (1964)
    The Thing of It Is... (1967)
    Father's Day (1971; sequel to The Thing of It Is)
    The Princess Bride (1973)
    Marathon Man (1974)
    Magic (1976)
    Tinsel (1979)
    Control (1982)
    The Silent Gondoliers (1983)
    The Color of Light (1984)
    Heat (published in the United Kingdom as Edged Weapons) (1985)
    Brothers (1986)

Non-fiction and memoirs

    The Season: A Candid Look at Broadway (1969)
    The Story of 'A Bridge Too Far' (1977)
    Adventures in the Screen Trade: A Personal View of Hollywood and Screenwriting (1983)
    Wait Till Next Year (with Mike Lupica) (1988)
    Hype and Glory (1990)
    Four Screenplays (1995) (Marathon Man, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Princess Bride, and Misery, with an essay on each)
    Five Screenplays (1997) (All the President's Men, Magic, Harper, Maverick, and The Great Waldo Pepper, with an essay on each)
    Which Lie Did I Tell? (More Adventures in the Screen Trade) (2000)
    The Big Picture: Who Killed Hollywood? and Other Essays (2001)

Children's books

    Wigger (1974)

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