David Zelag Goodman

David Zelag Goodman (January 15, 1930 – September 26, 2011)[1][2][2][3][4][5] was a playwright and screenwriter for both TV and film.[6] His most prolific period was from the 1960s to the early 1980s. He was nominated for an Academy Award for Lovers and Other Strangers,[7] though he did not win. He co-wrote, with Sam Peckinpah, the screenplay for 1971's controversial Straw Dogs. He died less than two weeks after the remake was released. Other films that he wrote or co-wrote included Logan's Run, Monte Walsh, and Farewell, My Lovely. He also wrote a number of the episodes of The Untouchables in the early 1960s.

David Zelag Goodman
Born(1930-01-15)January 15, 1930
New York City, United States
DiedSeptember 26, 2011(2011-09-26) (aged 81)
Oakland, California, US
OccupationPlaywright, screenwriter
Spouse(s)Marjorie (1950–2011; his death; 1 child)


Born to a Jewish family[8] in Manhattan, he majored in English at Queens College, then studied at Yale Drama School in 1958.[9] At age 24, his play, High Named Today, which was to have starred Jane Wyatt on Broadway, ended up running briefly Off Broadway in February 1954.[10] He was often sought as a "script doctor" because he could quickly identify screenplay flaws, as when Sherry Lansing brought him in to work on the thriller Fatal Attraction. According to his friend, the film and television producer Zev Braun, Goodman said to Lansing of the Glenn Close character: "You can't let her off the hook. You should kill her. Let's drown her!" [11]

Until his death from Progressive supranuclear palsy, he was married for 61 years to Marjorie Goodman. Their daughter Kevis Goodman is an associate professor of English at UC Berkeley.[12]


TV credits


  1. McLellan, Dennis. "David Z Goodman dies at 81". Los Angeles Times. Missing or empty |url= (help)
  2. Dagan, Carmel (28 September 2011). "David Z Goodman dies at 81". Variety.
  3. McLellan, Dennis (28 September 2011). "David Zelag Goodman dies at 81; Oscar-nominated screenwriter". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 9 October 2011.
  4. Dagan, Carmel (28 September 2011). "David Z. Goodman dies at 81". Variety. Retrieved 9 October 2011.
  5. "David Z Goodman". London Telegraphy. 29 September 2011. Retrieved 9 October 2011.
  6. The New York Times
  7. Lovers and Other Strangers, at MSN Movies Critic Reviews Archived 2012-09-23 at the Wayback Machine accessed April 6, 2011
  8. Erens, Patricia (1998). The Jew in American Cinema. Indiana University Press. p. 392. ISBN 978-0-253-20493-6.
  9. "Yale School Yale School of Drama" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on December 29, 2009. Retrieved 29 September 2011.
  10. Slotnik, Daniel E. (28 September 201). "David Zelag Goodman, Far-Ranging Screenwriter, Dies at 81". The New York Times. Retrieved 29 September 2011.
  11. "David Z Goodman". The Daily Telegraph. London. 29 September 2011.
  12. "DTA 2005/ Kevis Goodman". UC Regents. Archived from the original on 26 September 2011. Retrieved 29 September 2011.
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