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William Goldman

William Goldman

BIOGRAPHY Page 2

Screenwriter, Writer, Playwright
Goldman's first big comeback movie occurred in 1987 with the screen adaptation of one of his own novels Heat. It was also in 1987 that the film version of The Princess Bride finally became a reality.
After writing the screenplay to Mr. Horn in 1979, William Goldman virtually disappeared from the movie industry for a period of close to 10 years. In the eight years prior to 1979, Goldman had released seven movies into theaters. In the eight years following he released zero. It's not that Goldman wasn't writing material; he had actually signed a 3-picture deal with producer Joseph E. Levine. He was to write three original screenplays on any topic of his choosing which he did. The problem was that Levine was well into his 70's at this point and was his own financier. Movies were much more expensive to make than in previous years, and the price of hiring actors was beginning to skyrocket. Consequently, none of these films were ever made. 

Goldman also dabbled with other studios and producers, but continually came upon dead ends. During this time of hiatus from the movie industry, Goldman took the opportunity to write several books, among which was Adventures in the Screen Trade (1983). This book revealed many secrets of the screen trade and became a must-read for any moviephile.

In 1986 Goldman received a phone call from Michael Ovitz, co-creator of CAA (Creative Artists Agency). He told Goldman that he knew his career was in the dumps and offered him a position within their company, which Goldman accepted. Within a month of working at the agency, Goldman was offered the rights to adapt Memoirs of An Invisible Man, a comedy-thriller novel by H.F. Saint. After numerous rewrites and hassles, the movie fell into other hands, but William Goldman was back on the scene.

Goldman's first big comeback movie occurred in 1987 with the screen adaptation of one of his own novels Heat. It was also in 1987 that the film version of The Princess Pride finally became a reality. Initially, many years before, a head executive at Fox liked the novel and bought the rights from Goldman. He had Goldman write the screenplay, but before the deal was set the executive was fired. When the new executive began to work, all previous projects were buried, including The Princess Bride. Worried because the rights to the book were no longer in his hands, Goldman bought the rights back from the studio. Close to 15 years after the original novel was released, the movie was completed and released into theaters.

The first draft was completed in November of 1988. After making numerous revisions (21 revisions in a period of 18 months)

Misery (1990) was adapted from a novel written by Stephen King. Goldman was contacted by director/producer Rob Reiner to write the screenplay. At first he wasn't sure it was a project he wanted to undertake, but after reading the hobbling scene he was sold. The first draft was completed in November of 1988. After making numerous revisions (21 revisions in a period of 18 months), the final draft was complete in April of 1990. The part of Annie was written specifically for Kathy Bates, which she accepted (and received an academy award for the part the following year). 

Throughout the 90's, Goldman has continued to write novels, including two books that compile both his screenplays and essays explaining how they came about. He has also continued the streak of writing popular screenplay adaptations, including Maverick (1994), The Chamber (1996), The Ghost and the Darkness (1996), and Absolute Power (1997). Most recently William Goldman co-wrote the screenplay for The General's Daughter (1999) with Chris Bertiloni.

In the year 2000, William Goldman released another of his well-known novels about the movie industry titled Which Lie Did I Tell? Not only does it once again take an in-depth look at Hollywood moviemaking, but also he discloses everything a writer should need to know on how to survive with and in the business. Always completely open and honest, Goldman continues to surprise and entertain in his latest writing venture. At the end of the book, Goldman brings together some of today's top writers to analyze, criticize and interject their opinions of a screenplay he has created specifically for this book.

Over his 45+year career as a professional writer, William Goldman has won three Lifetime achievement awards for screenwriting, two screenwriter of the year awards, two academy awards (one for Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid and one for All The Presidents Men), and an English Academy Award. He has written well over 20 novels and over 20 major motion picture screenplays. Goldman has also used various pseudonyms throughout his career including S. Morgenstern and Harry Longbaugh, the later of which was the real name of the Sundance Kid.

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