William Friedkin, the renowned American film director best known for the 1973 horror classic The Exorcist, passed away on August 7th, 2023 at the age of 87.
Friedkin’s career breakthrough came with the release of The French Connection in 1971. The gritty crime thriller earned him the Academy Award for Best Director. However, it was The Exorcist that cemented Friedkin’s reputation as one of the seminal commercial directors of the era.
Based on William Peter Blatty’s bestselling novel, The Exorcist shattered box office records to become one of the highest grossing films of the 1970s. Known for its groundbreaking special effects and chilling depiction of demonic possession, The Exorcist was nominated for 10 Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Director. The film left an enduring impact on popular culture and the horror genre.
While Friedkin never quite reached the same critical and commercial heights after The Exorcist, he continued working across a diverse range of genres. His other credits include Sorcerer (1977), Cruising (1980), To Live and Die in L.A. (1985), and Rules of Engagement (2000). His directorial style favored intense, gritty realism.
Friedkin’s passing at 87 marks the end of a distinctive career that helped redefine Hollywood filmmaking in the post-studio era. While he will be most remembered for the monumental success of The Exorcist, his legacy and influence on American cinema will live on.
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