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Oscar-winning screenwriter William Goldman dies at 87

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William Goldman William Goldman
William Goldman

The Oscar-winning screenwriter and best-selling author William Goldman, known for BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID and ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN, died on Friday. He was 87.

According to The Washington Post, Goldman, who also wrote the novels and then the screenplays for MARATHON MAN (1976), MAGIC MAN (1978) and the much-loved THE PRINCESS BRIDE (1987), died on Friday in his home in Manhattan, reports hollywoodreporter.

The cause of death was complications from colon cancer and pneumonia, his daughter, Jenny Goldman, told the newspaper.

A longtime resident of New York who hated to step foot in Hollywood, Goldman also gained fame for his non fiction books about the business. In Adventures in the Screen Trade, published in 1982, he's credited with coming up with the final dictum on Hollywood genius:

"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 a review of Adventures in the Screen Trade, filmmaker John Sayles wrote that the book's "final section is the best discussion I've read of the pitfalls of tackling a screenplay."

Goldman then penned another perceptive critique of show business, 1990's Hype and Glory, which documented his experiences while serving in 1988 on juries at the Cannes Film Festival and the Miss America pageant. And in 2000, he published Which Lie Did I Tell? a frank and juicy depiction of showbiz and artistic practices.

In his books about Hollywood, Goldman noted that he frequently fought battles with directors -- "writer killers," he called them -- who had no vision of what they wanted, so they demanded constant rewrites.

Nobody Knows Anything (Except William Goldman) was the title of a documentary about him.

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