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William Goldman Biography

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William Goldman (born August 12, 1931) is an American novelist, playwright and two-time Academy Award-winning screenwriter.

Goldman grew up in a Jewish family in Highland Park, Illinois, a Chicago suburb, and obtained a BA degree at Oberlin College in 1952 and an MA degree at Columbia University in 1956. William Goldman had been estranged for many years from his brother, playwright James Goldman, before James's death in 1998.

William Goldman had published five novels and had three plays produced on Broadway before he began to write screenplays. Several of his novels he later used as the foundation for his screenplays. In the 1980s he wrote a series of memoirs looking at his professional life on Broadway and in Hollywood (in one of these he remarked that in Hollywood "Nobody knows anything"). He then returned to writing novels. He then adapted his novel The Princess Bride to the screen, which marked his re-entry into screenwriting. He is often called in as an uncredited script doctor on troubled projects.

Simon Morgenstern is both a pseudonym and a narrative device invented by him to add another layer to The Princess Bride. Goldman claims S. Morgenstern is the original Florinese author of The Princess Bride and credits himself merely as an abridger who is bringing the classic to an American audience. Goldman also wrote The Silent Gondoliers under Morgenstern's name.

Goldman has won two Academy Awards: an Academy Award for Writing Original Screenplay for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and an Academy Award for Writing Adapted Screenplay for All the President's Men. He has also won two Edgar Awards, from the Mystery Writers of America, for Best Motion Picture Screenplay: for Harper in 1967, and for Magic (adapted from his own 1976 novel) in 1979.

He was married to Ilene Jones until their divorce in 1991. Contrary to his fictionalized biography in The Princess Bride, he has two daughters and no sons.
 
 
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