Oscar-Winning Director of ‘The Exorcist’ Passes Away at 87

in Entertainment, Movies

Oscar-winning director William Friedkin posing for the camera in the 1970s

Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

William Friedkin, the American film director and Oscar-winning director of films such as The Exorcist (1973), sadly passed away at 87.

Oscar-winning director William Friedkin on the set of The Exorcist in 1974
Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

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American Film Director William Friedkin Dead at 87

According to official reports, William Friedkin died in the Bel Air neighborhood of Los Angeles on Monday. The cause of his death was pneumonia and heart failure, according to his wife, Sherry Lansing, the former head of Paramount Pictures in Hollywood. The announcement of his death came only weeks after what is now the final directorial release of his movie The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial (2023), which is based on the Herman Wouk play. In his early years in Hollywood, Friedkin was not a well-known director but had his break-out stardom take place after the release of his widely successful movie The French Connection in 1971. After that, Friedkin went on to direct the highly successful yet extremely controversial film The Exorcist, and released it in 1973.

William Friedkin on the set of The French Connection in 1971.
Credit: The French Connection (1971)
Directed by William Friedkin

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His film The French Connection dominated the academy awards the following year, winning the Oscar for Best Picture and earning Friedkin the Best Director award. The film went on to make three to four more Oscars that year. But his most controversial film to date has been The Exorcist, which captured all moviegoers’ fright since the film was released in 1973. Many rumors and conspiracy theories were created following the movie’s release, including several cast and crew injuries. Some died during production, and unusual accidents delayed the film’s shooting. Filming took twice as long as initially thought, and the cost tripled the film’s budget. All these mishaps have led many to believe the film was cursed. But that didn’t stop Director Friedkin from making and releasing the movie worldwide, leading to the film instantly becoming a cult classic with praise from critics and audience members.

William Friendkin posing for a photo during the Festival of Sitges in 2017
Credit: William Friedkin – Festival of Sitges in 2017

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Still, the director succeeded in Hollywood and directed 20 films, eight documentaries, five television series, and four movies for television. His Exorcist film was such as success. Universal Pictures, in association with Blumhouse, is currently gearing up to release the sequel to the movie, titled The Exorcist: Believer (2023), which is set to release nationwide in October. Universal Orlando Resort is also bringing his film to life via the sequel movie in the form of a haunted house that is set to debut during Halloween Horror Nights 32.

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