William Friedkin: Oscar-Winning Director Of ‘The Exorcist’ And ‘The French Connection’ Dead Aged 87

Image of film director William Friedkin at the 2017 Sitges Film Festival.

Image of film director William Friedkin. Credit: GuillemMedina/Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0

THE Oscar-winning film director William Friedkin passed away this Monday, August 7, in Los Angeles.

His death at the age of 87 was confirmed by Stephen Galloway, the dean of Chapman University, who is also a friend of Sherry Lansing, Friedkin’s wife, producer, and former studio chief, as reported by deadline.com.

In a glittering film career, the highlight would surely have been when he collected a Best Director Academy Award in 1971 for ‘The French Connection, which featured the unforgettable car-chase sequence. As well as Friedkin’s Oscar, the film received a total of eight nominations and won four more.

When you consider the other films he was up against that year for the golden statuette, it was no mean achievement. The other nominees included some serious heavyweights in the shape of Norman Jewison for Fiddler on the Roof, Peter Bogdanovich for The Last Picture Show, and Stanley Kubrick for A Clockwork Orange.

The film starred Gene Hackman, Roy Scheider, and Fernando Rey

The iconic cinematic masterpiece is an action thriller starring Gene Hackman, Roy Scheider, and Fernando Rey. It centres around Hackman’s fictional NYPD cop Jimmy ‘Popeye’ Doyle, and his partner, Buddy ‘Cloudy’ Russo. They are tasked with the job of bringing heroin dealer Alain Charnier into custody.

He was nominated for Best Director again in 1973 for the supernatural thriller The Exorcist. On that occasion, he was again up against some serious competition, losing out to The Sting, directed by George Roy Hill.

The other nominees included George Lucas’s American Graffiti, Bernardo Bertolucci’s Last Tango in Paris, and Ingmar Bergman’s Cries & Whispers.

The Exorcist won two Oscars

However, the film did pick up two Oscars, with Ellen Burstyn winning Lead Actress and William Peter Blatty for Best Screenwriter.

Other notable films he worked on include The Boys in the Band in 1970, the 1977 thriller Sorcerer, the crime thriller Cruising in 1980, To Live and Die in L.A. in 1987, and the American war legal drama film in 2000, Rules of Engagement, starring Samuel L Jackson and Tommy Lee Jones.

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Written by

Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at editorial@euroweeklynews.com