James Goldman was an American screenwriter, novelist, and playwright. Born to a Jewish family in Chicago, Goldman was the older brother of the novelist and screenwriter, William Goldman.
James Goldman graduated from Chicago University with the intention of becoming a music critic but his career was stopped in its tracks when he was drafted into the army. After his discharge, he decided to turn to playwriting instead. His first Broadway play was Blood, Sweat, and Stanley Poole (1961), which he wrote with his brother. He collaborated again with his brother on the 1962 musical, A Family Affair. In 1966 he wrote The Lion in Winter, which depicted the life and politics of Henry II of England. Goldman adapted it for film in 1968, starring Peter O’Toole and Katharine Hepburn. Later plays include adaptations of Oliver Twist and Anna Karenina.
In 1965, Goldman was approached by Stephen Sondheim who wanted to know if Goldman had any ideas for a musical. Six years later, Follies premiered on Broadway but the book was heavily criticized. Goldman revised the book for the 1987 London revival and the show won the Olivier Award for Best Musical. Goldman and Sondheim collaborated again in 1966 for the television musical, Evening Primrose.
Goldman's novels included The Man from Greek and Roman (1974), Myself as Witness (1980), and Fulton County (1989). He also wrote the screenplays for the popular films Robin and Marian (1976) and White Nights (1985).
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