Entertainment Celebrity US Oscar-winning screenwriter behind Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid dies aged 87

US Oscar-winning screenwriter behind Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid dies aged 87

Tributes flow for the late screenwriter William Goldman's body of work. Photo: Getty
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US Oscar-winning veteran screenwriter William Goldman, famous for penning such classics as Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and Watergate thriller All the President’s Men, has died aged 87.

Tributes from around the world have recognised a “not so ho hum run of the mill scriptwriter” whose work has been a “gift” to millions of people.

Actor Michael Sheen said millions of people’s lives were “richer” from his body of work, as The Hollywood Reporter painted a picture of a writer who was an “expert” in the art of scriptwriting.

Sheen posted a heartfelt message on Twitter that read: “William Goldman made my life, like so many millions of others, better and richer and more full of possibility because of what he wrote. What a gift. So sad today and so grateful.”

English comedian and actor Stephen Fry remembered Goldman as a “a dear and valued friend” who taught him “so much and showed me such kindness over the years”.

“A world without him seems … inconceivable,” Fry said.

American horror movie writer Stephen King said: “So sorry to hear of the passing of William Goldman. He was both witty and talented. His screenplay of my book MISERY was a beautiful thing. Rest In Peace, Bill”.

Cinco Paul, who wrote the Despicable Me trilogy and The Lorax, said Goldman was a “screenwriting god”.

In a career spanning five decades, the novelist, playwright and screenwriter crafted Marathon Man and beloved subversive fairy tale The Princess Bride, both of which he adapted himself for the screen.

His publishers, Bloomsbury, confirmed on Friday that the veteran scriptwriter had died.

The Washington Post reported he died of complications from colon cancer and pneumonia in his Manhattan home, according to his daughter Jenny Goldman.

Born in Chicago in 1931 and educated at Colombia, he spent some time working for the Pentagon before embarking on a writing career, first with novels before making the transition to the competitive world of Hollywood screenwriting.

Goldman’s script work earned him two Academy Awards, first for best original screenplay with Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid in 1969, then for best adapted screenplay for All The President’s Men in 1976.