Home Sports Bo Goldman, Oscar-winning screenwriter of ‘One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest,’ dies at 90

Bo Goldman, Oscar-winning screenwriter of ‘One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest,’ dies at 90

Bo Goldman, Oscar-winning screenwriter of ‘One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest,’ dies at 90


Oscar-winning writers (from left) Richard Brooks, Bo Goldman and Gore Vidal be part of members of the Writers Guild of America throughout a large picket outdoors the 20-Century Fox studios in Los Angeles on June 25, 1981. Goldman, who penned the Oscar-winning scripts to “One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and “Melvin and Howard” and whose textured, empathy-rich screenplays made him one among Hollywood’s most interesting writers, died Tuesday, July 25, 2023, his son-in-law, the director Todd Subject, mentioned. He was 90. (AP Photograph/ Wally Fong, File)

NEW YORK—Bo Goldman, who penned the Oscar-winning scripts to “One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and “Melvin and Howard” and whose textured, empathy-rich screenplays made him one among Hollywood’s most interesting writers, has died. He was 90.

Goldman died Tuesday, July 25, in Helendale, California, his son-in-law, the director Todd Subject, mentioned. No particulars on the reason for demise got.

It wasn’t till Goldman was in his 40s, after years of wrestle as a playwright, that he discovered success in Hollywood. In 1975, he tailored Ken Kesey’s “One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest” for his first movie credit score. The movie, directed by Miloš Forman and starring Jack Nicholson as a affected person in a psychiatric ward, gained finest image on the Oscars and finest tailored screenplay for Goldman and Lawrence Hauben.

5 years later, Goldman gained once more for Jonathan Demme’s “Melvin and Howard,” based mostly on a luckless Utah fuel station proprietor named Melvin Dummar who claims to be a beneficiary of Howard Hughes after the billionaire’s demise.

These screenplays and extra – the household drama “Shoot the Moon”; “The Rose,” with Bette Midler; “Scent of a Girl,” with Al Pacino – made Goldman a broadly thought-about grasp of screenwriting together with contemporaries like Billy Wilder and Paddy Chayefsky. Goldman mentioned he considered himself as a dramatist who occurred to write down screenplays. “I’m a screenplaywright,” he mentioned.

“If there’s a prepare of thought that runs by way of my work, it’s a craving, a longing to make the folks actual and seize their lives on the display screen,” Goldman instructed The Washington Put up in 1982. “I believe there’s nothing extra fulfilling on this planet than to see your view of life realized in artwork. For me, movie is exclusive; it has a peculiar high quality for re-creating life. I discover life so fantastic, that to attempt to seize it in artwork is like making an attempt to catch starlight.”

Robert Spencer Goldman was born on Sept. 10, 1932, in New York, the son of an enormously rich businessman, Julian Goldman. His father’s clothes chain at one level had nationwide places. He produced Broadway reveals. Franklin Roosevelt was his lawyer. However the Wall Road crash of 1929 wiped him out. At his demise, he retained just one retailer. As a younger grownup, Goldman realized that his father had had one other household and by no means wed his mom.

“My father was a ghetto child who went from rags to riches, then misplaced all the things, and having dedicated my life to imitate him in nothing, I’m satisfied I’ll equal him on this one respect: his ending, a downward spiral into two dingy rooms in a residential resort and chapter,” Goldman wrote in a 1981 essay in The New York Instances.

Attending Princeton, Goldman wrote for the Princeton Triangle Membership, a theater troupe. He dropped the second “b” in Bob after a university paper by chance left it off. He favored Bo and stored the title.

After serving three years within the Pacific throughout World Warfare II, Goldman’s first play, “First Impressions,” was produced when he was 25. (Goldman was a lyricist.) It starred Farley Granger and Polly Bergen, however opinions have been poor and it was judged a flop. Goldman then toiled for years making an attempt to get his Civil Warfare musical, “Hurrah, Boys, Hurrah,” mounted.

In that point, Goldman labored intermittently in tv, however the years have been painfully lean. Poverty, he wrote, “lurks for me within the ring of each phone name, at every mail supply.” In 1954, Goldman had married Mabel Rathbun Ashforth, and so they had six youngsters collectively.

“There’s a line in ‘Melvin and Howard,’ the place Mary says of Melvin, ‘He can’t make any cash and it makes him really feel dangerous.’” Goldman later recounted. “I couldn’t assist my household and I felt awful about it.”

Issues modified after Goldman wrote his first screenplay, “Shoot the Moon,” a few mom of 4 whose husband has an affair with a youthful girl. Producers all through Hollywood turned him down, however Forman learn it and employed Goldman to rewrite “One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest.”

“He mentioned, ‘What would you do with this script?” Goldman recalled to the Writers Guild years later. “The very first thing I bear in mind saying is that McMurphy (Nicholson) ought to are available and kiss the admitting officers.”

The movie’s huge success—it additionally gained Oscars for Forman, Nicholson and Louise Fletcher—was the breakthrough Goldman had lengthy awaited, although he thought-about it a certified victory. “Even then I hung my head,” Goldman recounted in 1981. “In any case, I had tailored any person else’s work; was it actually mine?”

“Shoot the Moon” was finally made, directed by Alan Parker in 1982 and starring Diane Keaton and Albert Finney. However first Goldman wrote 1979’s “The Rose,” starring Midler in a unfastened adaptation of Janis Joplin’s life.

“Melvin and Howard,” although, was one among Goldman’s biggest accomplishments. The comedy, directed by Demme, was a vital smash (Jason Robards was nominated for an Oscar; Mary Steenburgen gained for finest supporting actress) and stays a cult favourite.

Goldman additionally wrote “Little Nikita” (1988), with Sidney Poitier and River Phoenix, and did uncredited work on Garry Marshall’s “The Flamingo Child” (1984), Forman’s “Ragtime” (1981) and Demme’s “Swing Shift” (1984). He pitched in on Warren Beatty’s “Dick Tracy” (1990) and obtained a narrative credit score his ultimate credit score—on Beatty’s 2016 movie “Guidelines Don’t Apply.”

In 2017, the screenwriter Eric Roth for a venture by New York journal concerning the biggest screenwriters, praised Goldman’s “audacious originality, his understanding of social mores, his ironic humorousness, and his outright anger at being human, and all together with his soft-spoken grace and eloquent simplicity.”

Goldman, who lived in Rockport, Maine, misplaced a son, Jesse, in 1981 and his spouse died in 2017. He’s survived by 4 daughters, a son, seven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

“Scent of a Girl” (1992), tailored from a 1974 Italian film of the identical title, landed Goldman his third Oscar nomination – and another second within the highlight.

Goldman spoke typically concerning the “absolute toil” of screenwriting. Even should you’re fortunate sufficient to succeed, he mentioned, stress solely builds with studios and administrators. “You’re preventing to your work on a regular basis,” he mentioned. “They usually maintain all of the playing cards. And to them it’s sneakers. They’re promoting sneakers.”

Requested by the Instances in 1993 how as soon as once more discovering acclaim with “Scent of a Girl” felt, Goldman replied: “Individuals ask me, ‘Are you stunned?’” mentioned Goldman. “I’m at all times stunned when something good occurs to me.”  /ra


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