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James Goldman

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Also Known As: Died: October 28, 1998
Born: June 30, 1927 Cause of Death: heart attack
Birth Place: Chicago, Illinois, USA Profession: playwright, novelist, screenwriter, lyricist, associate professor

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

With his beard and glasses, James Goldman had a relaxed, yet professorial aura, and, indeed, he was an associate professor at Brooklyn College before his writing career took off on Broadway, in motion pictures, on TV and in print. Less well known than his younger brother, William, with whom he occasionally wrote, Goldman was, nevertheless, an Oscar winner for the screenplay of "The Lion in Winter" (1968), based on his Broadway play. He became most often associated with "period" pieces, particularly those involving royal 'sturm und drang', and was a celebrated librettist and lyricist as well. Goldman saw his first play (written with his brother, William), "Blood, Sweat and Stanley Poole," produced in London in 1961. That same year, He wrote "They Might Be Giants" himself. It debuted in London, produced and directed by Joan Littlewood. He felt he had never gotten the play right, so he never let it be published. The next year, he contributed the lyrics and, with his brother, the book for the stage musical "A Family Affair," but it was with "The Lion in Winter" that he became known on Broadway. The 1966 play centered on a Christmas "gathering" in which Henry II of England is locked in a power struggle...

With his beard and glasses, James Goldman had a relaxed, yet professorial aura, and, indeed, he was an associate professor at Brooklyn College before his writing career took off on Broadway, in motion pictures, on TV and in print. Less well known than his younger brother, William, with whom he occasionally wrote, Goldman was, nevertheless, an Oscar winner for the screenplay of "The Lion in Winter" (1968), based on his Broadway play. He became most often associated with "period" pieces, particularly those involving royal 'sturm und drang', and was a celebrated librettist and lyricist as well.

Goldman saw his first play (written with his brother, William), "Blood, Sweat and Stanley Poole," produced in London in 1961. That same year, He wrote "They Might Be Giants" himself. It debuted in London, produced and directed by Joan Littlewood. He felt he had never gotten the play right, so he never let it be published. The next year, he contributed the lyrics and, with his brother, the book for the stage musical "A Family Affair," but it was with "The Lion in Winter" that he became known on Broadway. The 1966 play centered on a Christmas "gathering" in which Henry II of England is locked in a power struggle with Eleanor of Aquitaine. Goldman also contributed the book for "Follies," the landmark 1971 musical featuring a score by Stephen Sondheim and direction by Harold Prince and Michael Bennett.

"The Lion in Winter" was produced as a feature film in 1968 and earned for Katharine Hepburn the third of her four Oscars. Goldman then wrote "Nicholas and Alexandra" (1971), the story of the waning days of the Russian Romanov dynasty. Again, he dealt with British history and myth in "Robin and Marian" (1976), starring Sean Connery and Audrey Hepburn as the older, more mature Robin Hood and Maid Marian. Goldman first worked in TV in 1967, writing the book for "Evening Primrose", an ABC special about a family who live in a department store and only come out at night, which featured a score by Sondheim. In 1982, he adapted "Oliver Twist" as a two-hour longform for CBS, and also wrote "Anna Karenina" (CBS, 1986), as well as returned to the Czars, in a manner of speaking, with "Anastasia: The Mystery of Anna," a 1986 four-hour NBC miniseries dealing with the woman who claimed to be the surviving daughter of Nicholas. The following year, under the pseudonym "Winston Beard," he wrote the ABC miniseries "Queenie," based on the story of Alex Haley's paternal grandmother, the Golden Age actress, Merle Oberon.

Waldorf, Goldman's first novel, was published in 1965. He later published three additional novels, contributed to numerous magazines and also written or contributed to non-fiction such as "Where to Eat in America" (1987). He remained active in all areas, often with numerous projects in the Hollywood development chain at one time.

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

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Milestones close milestones

1952:
Served in the US Army
1961:
Co-wrote with brother William, the military service comedy, "Blood, Sweat and Stanley Poole; produced on Broadway
1961:
Debuted play "They Might Be Giants" in London
1965:
First novel published, <i>Waldorf</i>
1966:
Play "The Lion in Winter" was produced on Broadway
1967:
First TV credit, "Evening Primrose"
1968:
Adapted "The Lion in Winter" into a feature film
1971:
Wrote screenplay for "Nicholas and Alexandra"
1982:
First TV-movie, adapted "Oliver Twist" (CBS)
1986:
First miniseries, "Anastasia: The Mystery of Anna" (NBC)
1996:
His play "Tolstoy" briefly ran in London
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Education

Columbia University: New York , New York -
University of Chicago: Chicago , Illinois - 1947
University of Chicago: Chicago , Illinois - 1950

Notes

Goldman had long been active in the Dramatists Guild and in the Authors League of America, serving as a council member of both from 1966 into the 90s.

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Marie McKeon. Married on March 5, 1962; divorced in 1972.
wife:
Barbara Deren. Producer, manager. Married from October 25, 1975 until his death.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Maurice Clarence Goldman. Businessman.
mother:
Marion Goldman.
brother:
William Goldman. Screenwriter, novelist. Born in 1931; survived him.
daughter:
Julia Goldman. Mother, Marie McKeon; survived him.
son:
Matthew Goldman. Mother, Marie McKeon; survived him.
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Bibliography close complete biography

"Waldorf" Random House
"The Man From Greek and Roman"
"Myself as Witness" Random House
"Where to Eat in America" Scribner
"Fulton County" William Morrow
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