Original 'Straw Dogs' Scribe David Zelag Goodman Dies at 81

His credits also include “Lovers and Other Strangers,” “Farewell, My Lovely” and “Eyes of Laura Mars.”

David Zelag Goodman, an Oscar-nominated screenwriter who teamed with Sam Peckinpah on the original Straw Dogs, died Monday in Oakland, Calif., after battling a brain disorder. He was 81.

Goodman died at an assisted-living facility of progressive supranuclear palsy, his daughter, Kevis Goodman, told the Los Angeles Times.

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 the couple's play.

His other credits include Monte Walsh (1970), a western starring Lee Marvin; Farewell, My Lovely (1975), an adaptation of Raymond Chandler’s novel starring Robert Mitchum; Faye Dunaway thriller Eyes of Laura Mars (1978); and the sci-fi classic Logan’s Run (1976).

A New York native who studied at Yale, Goodman teamed with director Peckinpah to write the screenplay for Straw Dogs, the 1971 film that stared Dustin Hoffman and Susan George as a couple dealing with extreme violence. A update of the thriller from writer-director Rod Lurie opened Sept. 16.

Goodman also wrote episodes of TV’s The Untouchables and Combat! in the early 1960s and penned the 1979 miniseries Freedom Road starring Kris Kristofferson and Muhammad Ali, in which the boxer played an ex-slave in 1870s Virginia who gets elected to the Senate.

In addition to his daughter and his wife of 61 years, Marjorie, Goodman is survived by his sister, Florence.

Mike.Barnes@THR.com

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