and 'Lovers and Other Strangers.' The latter earned him an Oscar nod.
By Dennis McLellan, Los Angeles Times
September 28, 2011
David Zelag Goodman, a screenwriter best known for such 1970s films as
the controversial psychological thriller "Straw Dogs" and "Lovers and
Other Strangers," a comedy that earned him an Oscar nomination, has
died. He was 81.
Goodman died Monday at an assisted-living facility in Oakland of
progressive supranuclear palsy, a brain disorder, said his daughter,
"He was a man for all seasons," said his close friend Zev Braun, a film
and television producer. "He went from biblical scholar [as a young man]
to playwright to television and motion pictures and did some of the best
of the '70s movies. That was when he was really on fire, so to speak."
During his movie-writing heyday in the 1970s, Goodman shared an Oscar
nomination with Joseph Bologna and Renee Taylor for co-writing the
screenplay for "Lovers and Other Strangers," a 1970 comedy based on
Bologna and Taylor's play.
Goodman teamed with director Sam Peckinpah to co-write the screenplay
for "Straw Dogs," the Peckinpah-directed 1971 film starring Dustin
Hoffman as a mild-mannered American mathematician living with his
British wife (Susan George) in an English country village, a location
that proves to be less than tranquil for the couple.
The film, which generated controversy for its violence, was described by
Charles Champlin, then The Times' film critic, as "an overpowering piece of storytelling, certain to remind every viewer of the wells of primal
emotion lurking within himself, beneath the fragile veneer of civilized
Goodman's other film credits as a co-writer include "Monte Walsh," a
1970 western starring Lee Marvin and "Eyes of Laura Mars," a 1978
thriller starring Faye Dunaway.
He also wrote the screenplays for "Farewell, My Lovely," a 1975
adaptation of Raymond Chandler's novel starring Robert Mitchum as Philip
Marlowe; and "Logan's Run," the 1976 science-fiction film starring
His writing career included a 1954 off-Broadway production of his
antiwar drama "High Named Today" and episodes of TV's "The
Untouchables," "Combat!" and "Mr. Broadway" in the 1960s.
Goodman also was a "go-to writer" for a number of producer friends who
were having trouble with scripts. He could immediately pinpoint what was
wrong, said Braun, whose work with Goodman included "Freedom Road," a
1979 miniseries with Muhammad Ali and Kris Kristofferson.
"It's his integrity as a writer that made him a good writer, not only
his talent," Braun said. "He also had integrity as a person. Anybody who
knew him would tell you that."
Born Jan. 15, 1930, in New York City, Goodman earned a degree in English
from Queens College and studied drama at Yale University.
During most of his career, he spent part of each year in Los Angeles
while continuing to live in New York. In 1999, he and his wife,
Marjorie, moved to Berkeley, where their daughter is an English
professor at UC Berkeley.
In addition to his daughter and his wife of 61 years, Goodman is
survived by his sister, Florence Pirofski.
GOODMAN, David Zelag
Born: 1/15/1930, New York City, New York, U.S.A.
Died: 9/26/2011, Oakland, California, U.S.A.
David Zelag Goodman'swesterns - screenwriter
Monte Walsh - 1970
Monte Walsh (TV) - 2003