James Goldman Biography (1927-1998)

See index for CTFT sketch: Born June 30, 1927, in Chicago, IL; died ofa heart attack, October 28, 1998, in New York, NY. Playwright, screenwriter,and novelist. A playwright who was fascinated by history, Goldman is best known as the author of the screenplay A Lion in Winter, a scathing satire of King Henry II, his wife, Eleanor of Aquitaine, and their three sons, each bitterly vying for power in thirteenth-century England. Goldman was born inChicago, and earned bachelor's and master's degrees at the University of Chicago before moving on to Columbia University, where his education was interrupted by the Korean War. After serving for two years as a private in the U.S.Army, Goldman decided to become a full-time writer. His first successful play, They Might Be Giants, a satire on the lunacy of life in New York City, was produced in 1961 in London's East End. The film of the play, starringGeorge C. Scott and Joanne Woodward, which appeared in 1971, is considered more successful than the original play. The same might be said of Goldman's best known play, A Lion in Winter, which bombed on Broadway in 1966 onlyto earn the author an Academy Award, among several other honors, when he adapted his story for the 1968 film starring Peter O'Toole and Katherine Hepburn.Goldman's other outstanding success came in 1971 with Follies, a musical by Stephen Sondheim for which he wrote the book. Goldman was known for his love of history; other screenplay credits include the 1971 epic Nicholasand Alexandra, about the last days of Russia's last royal family, and the 1976 drama Robin and Marian, in which Robin Hood and Maid Marion reunite after a separation of twenty years. A novel, Myself as Witness(1980), about England's King John, is considered something of a sequel to A Lion in Winter. For television, he adapted Oliver Twist in 1982 andAnna Karenina in 1985.

Nationality
American
Gender
Male
Birth Details
June 30, 1927
Chicago, Illinois, United States
Death Details
October 28, 1998
New York, New York, United States

Further Reference

OBITUARIES AND OTHER SOURCES

    Books:
    • Who's Who in America, 1999, Marquis, 1999, p. 1653.
    Periodicals:
    • Los Angeles Times, October 30, 1998, p. B6.
    • New York Times, October 29, 1998, p. B14.
    • Times (London), November 25, 1998.
    • Washington Post, October 31, 1998, p. C6.

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