Legendary Screenwriter William Goldman Dead at 87

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Legendary Screenwriter William Goldman Dead at 87

Legendary screenwriter and novelist William Goldman, who penned the Academy Award-winning scripts for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and All the President’s Men, has died at age 87. Goldman also adapted his novel of the same name for the screenplay of the beloved 1987 film The Princess Bride, as well as the films Marathon Man (1976) and Magic (1978). He passed away at his Manhattan home Friday due to complications from colon cancer and pneumonia, his daughter, Jenny Goldman, told The Washington Post.

Born in Chicago, Goldman was a longtime New York resident whose career spanned over five decades, and included writing the 1982 book Adventures in the Screen Trade, in which he is credited with coining the Hollywood aphorism “Nobody knows anything.”

In the wake of his passing, this quote resurfaced from an interview with Goldman in the 2003 book Screenwriting by Declan McGrath and Felim MacDermott:

Along with his exceptional screenwriting credits, Goldman also leaves behind an impressive legacy of uncredited work as a script doctor. Most notably, he has long been rumored to have significantly rewritten Ben Affleck & Matt Damon’s breakout script for Good Will Hunting, rumors that Goldman persistently denied. He received a “thanks” in the credits of that 1997 film.

In addition to his daughter Jenny, Goldman is survived by Susan Burden, his domestic partner of 19 years, and a grandson. His other daughter, Susanna, died in 2015, and his brother, James Goldman, who wrote the Academy Award-winning script for the 1968 film The Lion in Winter, died in 1998.

You’ll find several of the many tributes that industry figures left for Goldman on Twitter below, our 2014 tribute to the writer here and Paste’s favorite quotes from the Goldman-penned Princess Bride here.