This morning, Mike Lupica tweeted out the following sad news about screenwriting legend William Goldman:
The great William Goldman, my dear friend of 40 years, passed away this morning at the age of 87. All he did in the same career was write “The Princess Bride” and “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” and the screenplay for “All the President’s Men.” And that is the short list.
— Mike Lupica (@MikeLupica) November 16, 2018
William Goldman was one of the greatest screenwriters who ever lived. It wasn’t just classics like The Princess Bride, Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid, and All the President’s Men. It was also The Stepford Wives, Misery, Maverick, and loads of uncredited work as a highly paid script doctor.
But for me, Goldman will always be first and foremost the author of the insightful Hollywood book Which Lie Did I Tell? Goldman had previously published the insightful memoir Adventures in the Screen Trade, but that’s a book from a guy who is pretty much at the top of the world. Which Lie Did I Tell? comes off as more seasoned and with more humility. The stories contained about the movies he worked on are fascinating, and they eschew gossip for deeper insights about the industry as a whole (Goldman also coined the term “Nobody Knows Anything” when it comes to how Hollywood operates, a maxim that still remains true as studios chase formulas and fall flat on their faces). Goldman and Which Lie Did I Tell? were reasons I decided to go to Goldman’s alma matter, Oberlin (although it seems like neither of us had much admiration for the institution), and he’s one of the reasons I love movies so much.
Our deepest condolences go out to Mr. Goldman’s family and friends.