William Friedkin, the acclaimed director of such classic films as “The Exorcist” and “The French Connection,” has died at the age of 87. Friedkin’s death was confirmed by his longtime friend and producer, Sherry Lansing.
Friedkin was born in Chicago in 1935. He began his career in television, directing episodes of such shows as “The Twilight Zone” and “The Alfred Hitchcock Hour.” He made his feature film directorial debut in 1968 with “The French Connection,” which won the Academy Award for Best Picture. The film was praised for its gritty realism and innovative use of handheld camerawork.
Friedkin followed up “The French Connection” with the even more controversial “The Exorcist” in 1973. The film, about a young girl possessed by a demon, was a critical and commercial success, but it also generated controversy for its graphic violence and disturbing imagery. “The Exorcist” is widely considered to be one of the greatest horror films ever made.
Friedkin continued to direct a number of critically acclaimed films throughout his career, including “Sorcerer” (1977), “Cruising” (1980), and “To Live and Die in L.A.” (1985). He also directed a number of television films, including “The People vs. Larry Flynt” (1996), which won the Academy Award for Best Actor for Woody Harrelson.
Friedkin was a groundbreaking and influential filmmaker who helped to define the modern horror genre. His films are known for their raw power and unflinching realism. He was a true original, and his work will continue to be enjoyed by audiences for years to come.