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William Friedkin dead at 87

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William Friedkin

William Friedkin has died at the age of 87.

It has been confirmed that the Oscar-winning director behind The Exorcist passed away on Monday at the age of 87.

Friedkin died of heart failure and pneumonia at his home in Los Angeles, confirmed his wife and former producer Sherry Lansing.

The Chicago, Illinois native was daring and influential throughout his long career. In 1972, he won an Oscar for Best Director for his film The French Connection. He was also nominated in 1974 for The Exorcist. Both films were nominated for Best Picture, while The French Connection earned the Oscar.

Friedkin began his big screen career in 1967 with the musical comedy Good Times, starring Sonny and Cher. The director had said of the film, “I’ve made better films than Good Times but I’ve never had so much fun.”

Friedkin achieved his first big hit with the 1971 crime thriller The French Connection, starring Gene Hackman and Roy Scheider. The film earned an impressive five Oscars.

The French Connection was followed by his next film, The Exorcist, an adaptation of William Peter Blatty’s horror novel. The 1973 blockbuster hit made over $425 million (£335 million) from a $12 million (£9 million) budget.

Friedkin’s other work includes 1977’s Sorcerer, 1980’s Cruising, 2000’s Rules of Engagement, 2011’s Killer Joe, and more recently, the 2017 documentary film The Devil and Father Amorth.

Friedkin’s final film, the legal thriller titled The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial, starring Kiefer Sutherland, is scheduled to premiere in September at the Venice Film Festival.

The veteran director is survived by his two sons, Cedric, 46, and Jackson, 41.

– Cover Media