William Goldman, writer of the cult classic film The Princess Bride, has died in his Manhattan home. His death comes as a result of complications from colon cancer and pneumonia, TMZ reported today.
The 87-year old Oscar winning screenwriter, who penned iconic hits such as Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and All the President’s Men, started his career as a novelist.
Born in the Chicago suburb of Oak Park, Illinois, Goldman received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Oberlin college in 1952. It was during his time at Oberlin that the screenwriter took his first creative writing course.
“After that I took a creative-writing course, where I got horrible grades. Do you know what it’s like to want to be a writer and get the worst grades in the class? It’s terrible,” he told the Guardian in a 2009 interview.
“I was so programmed to fail. I had shown no signs of talent as a young man. I was an editor at the school literary magazine at Oberlin College, and I would anonymously submit my short stories. When the other editors — two brilliant girls — would read them, they would say, ‘We can’t possibly publish this sh**.’ And I would agree,” he further told the Guardian.
Despite feeling collegiate setbacks, Goldman would go on to get his masters degree from Columbia, as the New York Times reported, and he would pen five novels before trying his hand at screenwriting. Of these novels, The Princess Bride, published in 1973, would become his beloved work.
In 1987, the film — directed by Rob Reiner and starring Mandy Patinkin, Cary Elwes, and Robin Wright — would become an instant classic, enjoyed by fans around the world to this day. Of landing the role as director of the oft-quoted film, Reiner said that he was thrilled that the 15-year back-and-forth of getting the film to screen was finally over.
“I was walking on air. William Goldman said it was O.K. for me to do this,” Reiner recalled to the New York Times.
During a special anniversary feature celebrating 25 years of the film’s continued success, Goldman was asked if he ever thought about writing a sequel.
“I’m desperate to make it and write it and I don’t know how,” he said. “I would love to make it more than anything else I’ve not written,” the New York Times reported in his November 16 obituary.
Adding to the list of theatrical triumphs which Goldman celebrated are Misery— starring Kathy Bates and James Caan — Chaplin, and The Chamber, according to Variety.
Per the New York Times, Goldman leaves behind his partner, Susan Burden, his daughter, Jenny Goldman, and a grandson.