Academy Award-winning screenwriter Bo Goldman passes away 

He co-wrote One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Melvin and Howard
Photo Credits: Twitter
Photo Credits: Twitter

Bo Goldman, the Academy Award-winning screenwriter, who co-wrote One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975) and Melvin and Howard (1980), died in Helendale, California. He was 90. Director Todd Field, his son-in-law, confirmed the death but did not give a cause.

Goldman’s career took off when director Milos Forman read his first screenplay and invited him to adapt Ken Kesey’s Cuckoo’s Nest novel for film. The resulting script shared screenwriting credit with Lawrence Hauben and won the Oscar for Best Screenplay Adapted from Other Material. The film was also named Best Picture and earned Oscars for Forman, lead actor Jack Nicholson, and Louise Fletcher, who played Nurse Ratched.

In 1980, Melvin and Howard won Goldman his second Oscar, this time for Best Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen. Goldman later worked with director Martin Brest on two other acclaimed films, Scent of a Woman (1992) and Meet Joe Black (1998).

Born in New York City, Goldman attended Phillips Exeter Academy and Princeton, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in 1953. While writing for the college newspaper as Bob Goldman, a typesetter accidentally left off the second “b” in his name. Goldman liked the mistake so much that he later legally changed his name to Bo.

Three years in the Army followed college, and he then became an assistant to Jule Styne, the composer. He earned a Broadway credit in 1959 as one of the lyricists for First Impressions, a musical based on Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice that Styne’s company produced.

A renowned media publication further stated that he continued working in television, but found sustained success elusive. Goldman used the late 1960s and early 1970s to write his first screenplay, Shoot the Moon, based on his observations of his contemporaries’ marriages in crisis. Forman read it and that led to the Cuckoo’s Nest assignment.

Goldman’s other screenwriting credits include The Flamingo Kid (1984), Little Nikita (1988) and City Hall (1996). Goldman is survived by son Justin Ashforth; four daughters, Mia Goldman, Amy Goldman, Diana Rathbun and Serena Rathbun; seven grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren. His wife and another son predeceased him. No memorial plans have been revealed.

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