William Goldman, who penned award-winning films such as Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) and All The President's Men (1976), died Thursday night, his family said. He was 87.
The Oscar-winning screenwriter was surrounded by his family and friends at the time of his death in his Manhattan home. His failing health reportedly deteriorated over the summer. Goldman's daughter Jenny told The Washington Post that the cause of death was complications from colon cancer and pneumonia.
He boasted a long list of scripts, like Marathon Man (1976), The Princess Bride (1987), The Stepford Wives (1975), The Great Waldo Pepper (1975), A Bridge Too Far (1977), Chaplin (1992) and Misery (1990). He also reportedly did behind-the-scenes work as the "script doctor," polishing other people's scripts without taking a screen credit, like on A Few Good Men (1992) and Indecent Proposal (1993).
A legendary screenwriter, Goldman also wrote the fabled Hollywood memoir Adventures in the Screen Trade. Published in 1982, the nonfiction book is the source of his hot take on Hollywood: "Nobody knows anything."
"Nobody knows anything," he wrote. "Not one person in the entire motion picture field knows for a certainty what's going to work. Every time out it's a guess and, if you're lucky, an educated one."
In fact, a documentary playing off his catchphrase was even made about him: Nobody Knows Anything (Except William Goldman).
Goldman also penned another perspective critique of show business in 1990's Hype and Glory, which documented his experiences while working on juries at the Cannes Film Festival and the Miss America pageant in 1988. His 2000 book, Which Lie Did I Tell?, is a candid depiction of Hollywood.
In his books, he called directors "writer killers" who demanded rewrites only because they had no vision of what they wanted.
Born into a Jewish family in Chicago in 1931, he became interested in writing after taking a creative writing course. He published his first novel, The Temple of Gold, in 1957. His screenwriting career began in the '60s after he was hired to adapt Daniel Keyes' Flowers for Algernon. The script was ultimately shelved, but the opportunity led to more work, including the Ross Macdonald detective movie Harper (1966), which starred Paul Newman and set Goldman on his way to success.
His final produced feature screenplay was 2003's Dreamcatcher, directed by Lawrence Kasdan.
Goldman was married to Ilene Jones between 1961 and 1991 and had two children.