Thoughts from the ledge: William Goldman – Wizard of words


William Goldman passed away on Nov. 16 at the age of 87. A writer’s writer and a magician with words, he had the ability to make us see his thoughts through the medium of film.

William Goldman was the kind of scribe that could move easily between writing novels and creating classics for the silver screen. A wordsmith beyond compare, he gave us literary treasures and cinematic masterpieces that will stand the test of time.

Born in Highland Park, Illinois during the Great Depression, he was a forthright man who spoke his mind and wasn’t afraid to be critical of Hollywood when it needed a swift kick in the pants. One of my personal favorite all time reads is Magic. A truly terrifying story of a man losing his grasp on sanity.

One could almost say that Fats is the personification of poor Corky’s Id. The ventriloquist dummy and his “master” forever locked in a moral battle. For the horror community, this is a hidden gem and one of the reasons why we have Chucky and Annabelle as his successors.

When you look at Mr. Goldman’s resume, it is truly impressive and proof positive that you don’t have to let yourself be pigeon-holed into a genre. He never took the easy way out and was comfortable writing an Academy Award winner like All the President’s Men and a thriller like The Stepford Wives which inspired Jordan Peele’s Get Out. 

The Princess Bride was an instant classic. From the Mark Knopfler score to William Goldman’s deft ability to turn every fairy tale trope on its head, what emerged was a work that could never be duplicated. The endearing relationship between The Grandson and The Grandfather is something that could cause even the most hardened of hearts to shed a tear.

On another scale, it is a grand romantic tale of a young man’s love for a Princess and the lengths that he will go to save her from the hands of the dastardly Prince Humperdinck. To this day, “As you wish,” makes the hidden romantic in me wistful.

He walked among legends in the horror community like Stephen King and John Carpenter. His words were spoken by icons of the cinema like Clint Eastwood, Robert Redford, Paul Newman, Dustin Hoffman and Sir Laurence Olivier.

For a girl with stars in her eyes, this literary master’s Adventures in the Screen Trade was my bible. Well worn pages and passages that I re-read, it served as inspiration and a tutorial on the ins and outs of La La Land. I still have a copy to this day on my book shelf in my office.

William Goldman was one of a kind. That rare talent that burns bright and whose legacy will remain intact long after his passing.

"“Do you want me to follow you for the rest of your days? I will do that. Do you want me to crawl? I will crawl. Anything there is that I can do for you, I will do for you; anything there is that I cannot do, I will learn to do.  For me there is only you.” – Princess Buttercup"

Next. Thoughts from the ledge on Richard Matheson: Creator of Dreams. dark

Perhaps one of the most beautifully written declarations of love that rivals Shakespeare. Safe travels, Mr. Goldman. Thank you for the memories.

What is your favorite William Goldman film? Let us know in the comments section below. We want to hear from you.