Readers and filmmakers alike have reason to mourn today. The great William Goldman, who won two Oscars in the course of his career passed away last night at the age of 87.
Goldman was already an established novelist when he decided to try his hand at screenwriting. In less than 6 years, he won his first Oscar for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Seven years later, he would win his second for All the President’s Men having also adapted The Stepford Wives between the two.
All the while, Goldman continued to write his novels, some of which he would go on to adapt for the big screen.
Take for instance, 1975’s dark psychological thriller Magic starring Anthony Hopkins as Corky, a ventriloquist at the mercy of his own malevolent dummy. The film was directed by Richard Attenborough and remains to this day one of the best of its kind.
Then there was The Princess Bride, the offbeat fairy tale starring Cary Elwes and Robin Wright, for which Goldman also wrote the novel and screenplay.
In a career that spanned more than 5 decades, William Goldman became a household name for his ability to create and adapt characters that seemed to leap right off the screen.
He was the one, after all who adapted Stephen King’s Misery as well as Dreamcatcher and Hearts in Atlantis.
“As a writer, I believe that all the basic human truths are known,” the author wrote in his memoir, Adventures in the Screen Trade. “And what we try to do as best we can is come at those truths from our own unique angle, to re-illuminate those truths in a hopefully different way.”
If this is true, then Goldman’s work was a fierce light, and though he has shuffled off his mortal coil, much like the stars we see in the sky, that light will continue to burn for years to come.