William Goldman wrote five novels before it ever occurred to him to write screenplays. But when he got started, he did it better than anyone. Uploaded by wga.org.
I have to acknowledge that William Goldman is one of my writing heroes. I found his novels, including Magic and Marathon Man, to be some of the most enjoyable reading I’d ever experienced. And that was before I realized that he was one of the most talented screenwriters in Hollywood history.
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Goldman had five novels published before he wrote his first screenplay. But since that time he’s written some of the best movies of the last half-century. I bet you’ve seen a bunch of them (* indicates adapted from his own novel):
Harper (1966) … Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969 – Academy Award) … The Stepford Wives (1975) … The Great Waldo Pepper (1975) … Marathon Man* (1976) … All the President’s Men (1976 – Academy Award) … A Bridge Too Far (1977) … Magic* (1978) … The Princess Bride* (1987) … Misery (1990) … Maverick (1994) … Absolute Power (1997)
In addition, he worked as a script doctor, helping get such movies as A Few Good Men and Last Action Hero into presentable shape. If you can find it, grab a copy of Goldman’s autobiography, Adventures in the Screen Trade. It’s one of the most famous (and honest) “Inside Hollywood” books ever written.
Dustin Hoffman's first two major roles were in The Graduate and Midnight Cowboy. They couldn't have been more different, and he aced both. Uploaded by vipwallpaper.com.
The first film I saw with Dustin Hoffman in the lead was The Graduate (Great American Things, November 15, 2009), and I completely believed him. The next role I saw him handle was Ratso Rizzo in Midnight Cowboy. The parts couldn’t have been more different, and yet Hoffman was masterful in both. It was clear he’d be around for a long, long time.
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He’s never allowed himself to be typecast, as you can see by these major parts he’s played: Jack Crabb in Little Big Man; Louis Dega in Papillon; Carl Bernstein in All the President’s Men; Babe Levy in Marathon Man; Ted Kramer in Kramer vs. Kramer; Dorothy Michaels in Tootsie; Raymond Babbitt in Rain Man.
His consistent excellence has certainly been recognized by the Hollywood establishment. He’s been nominated for seven Academy Awards, and won two – for Kramer vs. Kramer and Rain Man. He’s also won five Golden Globes, and received a Life Achievement Award from the American Film Institute. He was named the 28th greatest movie star of all time by Entertainment Weekly.
Copyright 2009-2011, Robin G. Chalkley. All material on these pages, and the listing of items as Great American Things, is copyrighted. The exceptions are the photographs and videos, which remain the property of their respective owners.
Header photo used courtesy of Flickr photographer too melo.