Goldman’s death was confirmed to The New York Times by his son-in-law, Todd Field, who said that he died in Helendale, California. No cause of death was given.
Goldman was one of several screenwriters, including Paddy Chayefsky, Francis Ford Coppola, Horton Foote, William Goldman, Billy Wilder and Joel and Ethan Coen, to win an Oscar for both original and adapted screenplay, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Goldman shared an Oscar in 1976 with Lawrence Hauben for their adaptation of Ken Kesey’s novel, “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” the entertainment news website reported. Goldman also won a Golden Globe for the movie.
The film would win Oscars for best picture, best director (Milos Forman), best actor (Jack Nicholson) and best actress (Louise Fletcher).
“Even then I hung my head,” Goldman wrote in a 1981 essay for the Times about the insecurities of a writer’s life. “After all, I had adapted somebody else’s work; was it really mine?”
Goldman received only $8,000 for his work on “Cuckoo’s Nest,” but the Academy Award and critical acclaim were far more valuable, Variety reported.
His next work was 1979′s “The Rose,” but he would win an Oscar the following year for “Melvin and Howard,” for which he had a solo writing credit.
While doing research for “Melvin and Howard,” Goldman spent three weeks in Utah with service station owner Melvin Dummar, who was left millions in a will by a hitchhiker, billionaire Howard Hughes, followed by a week with Dummar’s ex-wife, Linda, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
“You can’t learn enough, and you must stay with it until you no longer can,” Goldman said in 2012. “‘Research’ is an enervating word; I would call it ‘discovery,’ which, interestingly enough, is a legal term.”
In 1998, the Writers Guild of America honored Goldman with its Laurel Award for career achievement, the Times reported.
“If there is a train of thought that runs through my work, it is a yearning, a longing to make the people real and capture their lives on the screen,” Goldman told The Washington Post in 1982. “I think there is nothing more fulfilling in the world than to see your view of life realized in art. For me, film is unique; it has a peculiar quality for recreating life. I find life so wonderful, that to try to capture it in art is like trying to catch starlight.”
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