Tom Gooding (deceased)

Tom Gooding yearbook photo

Knowing that Peter Kuchnicki had been in contact with Tom Gooding after Tom moved to Hollywood, I asked him to write something about his experiences with Tom to share with us—John Johnson

Re: the late Tom Gooding—

I was negotiating a project with the Hollywood Reporter, circa early '90s. Hollywood is a rough town and I was completely out of my element, so I sought out Tom, who was working as a Hollywood producer. I asked him to meet and bring me up to speed. I hadn't seen him since our RHS days. He was completely unrecognizable! No longer the skinny, nerdy guy with a VW Bug, he must have found a great gym in Hollywood. He'd put on at least 50 lbs and was now completely buff.

Tom was very successful by then and he invited me to his nice apartment for drinks. I hoped he could give me some background info I could use. Tom and I had a few Hollywood friends in common, so that broke the ice. He was very forthcoming, friendly, and generous with his time. I followed up later with Tom on the phone, but, alas, the Hollywood Reporter project went south, and that was the end of my hoped-for Hollywood venture.

After becoming a successful player in Hollywood, Tom made a fascinating contribution to the world of entertainment. Back in the '90s long-format cable TV programming didn't yet exist. Tom and some fellow HBO producers invented the idea and the success of that format transformed HBO into Time-Warner's brightest division.

So it turns out that Tom was one of the patriarchs of a cable format that led to great shows such as Game of Thrones. Sadly—perhaps too much like Game of Thrones—Tom, one of Hollywood's behind-the-scenes stars, was killed off much earlier in the show than his friends and fans could believe. It's too bad Tom couldn't be around to see how the recent opening episode of Game of Thrones' penultimate season completely demolished the ratings records for cable TV.

—Peter Kuchnicki