William Goldman

  • Birth Place: Highland Park, Illinois, United States
  • Died: November 16, 2018
  • Profession: Screenwriter, Novelist
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Fast Facts

  • Published his first novel, the coming-of-age story Temple of Gold, in 1957.
  • Before trying his hand at writing screenplays, he wrote five novels and three Broadway plays.
  • Spent eight years working on his debut screenplay, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969). After most of the major studios passed on it, the script eventually sold for a record $400,000 and the film became one of the highest-grossing westerns of all time.
  • Published a nonfiction book called The Season: A Candid Look at Broadway in 1969.
  • Although he claimed the 1972 novel The Princess Bride is an abridgment of an earlier book by S. Morgenstern, it is entirely original and S. Morgenstern was actually Goldman's pseudonym.
  • His nonfiction book about Hollywood, Adventures in the Screen Trade (1984), introduced a popular quote often used in reference to the movie business: "Nobody knows anything."
  • Won the Writers Guild's Laurel Award in 1985.


  • 1977, Golden Globe — Best Screenplay - Motion Picture: Nominee
  • 1970, Golden Globe — Best Screenplay - Motion Picture: Nominee
  • 1969, Oscar — Best Writing (Story and Screenplay--based on material not previously published or produced): Winner
  • 1977, BAFTA Film Awards — Best Screenplay: Nominee
  • 1976, Oscar — Best Writing (Screenplay--based on material from another medium): Winner
  • 1977, Writers Guild Awards — Adapted Drama: Nominee
  • 1970, Writers Guild Awards — Original Drama: Winner
  • 1977, Writers Guild Awards — Adapted Drama: Winner
  • 1967, Writers Guild Awards — Drama: Nominee
  • 1985, Writers Guild Awards — The Laurel Award for Screenwriting Achievement: Winner
  • 1988, Writers Guild Awards — Adapted Screenplay: Nominee
  • 1971, BAFTA Film Awards — Best Screenplay: Winner


  • James Goldman — Brother
  • Marion Goldman — Mother
  • Jenny — Daughter
  • Ilene Jones — Ex-wife
  • Susanna — Daughter
  • Maurice Goldman — Father


  • Oberlin College, Oberlin, Ohio, United States (1952); Columbia University, New York, New York, United States (BA in English, 1956)
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