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William Friedkin dead at 87

William Friedkin dead at 87
William Friedkin / © Cover Media

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 in Los Angeles, confirmed the director's 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. 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. "It came out and immediately went through the roof like a rocket," he said of the film in 2021. "We don't know why but sometimes that happens."

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 and more recently, 2017's 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.

The cause of death has not yet been revealed.

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