William Friedkin
Film director
William Friedkin
William Friedkin is an American film director, producer and screenwriter best known for directing The French Connection in 1971 and The Exorcist in 1973; for the former, he won the Academy Award for Best Director. Some of his other films include Sorcerer, Cruising, To Live and Die in L.A. , The Guardian, Jade, Bug, and Killer Joe.
Biography
William Friedkin's personal information overview.
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News
News abour William Friedkin from around the web
William Peter Blatty, Author Of 'The Exorcist,' Dead At 89
Huffington Post - about 1 month
William Peter Blatty, who wrote The Exorcist and won an Oscar for the screenplay adaptation of the horror story, has died. He was 89.  William Friedkin, who directed the film version of “The Exorcist” in 1973, announced the author’s death on Twitter Friday. William Peter Blatty, dear friend and brother who created The Exorcist passed away yesterday — William Friedkin (@WilliamFriedkin) January 13, 2017 Blatty died Thursday in a hospital in Bethesda, Maryland, from a form of blood cancer, his wife, Julia Alice Blatty, told The Associated Press. Blatty’s chilling story of a Catholic priest attempting to rid a young girl of a demonic spirit was a best-seller after his earlier novels, mostly comedic, had failed to reach a wide audience, according to The Guardian. Set in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, “The Exorcist” captivated readers with the increasingly strange and unsettling occurrences happening around the main character, Regan MacNeil, and ...
Article Link:
Huffington Post article
5 Memorable Haunted Houses Of Classic Horror Movies
Huffington Post - 4 months
For Architectural Digest, by Elizabeth Stamp. While nothing is quite as scary as the murderous or supernatural characters in horror movies, often the settings can come very close. Directors such as John Carpenter and Wes Craven have long had a knack for choosing locations, particularly houses, that provide the perfect backdrop for murder and mayhem. Many of the homes, such as Frank Lloyd Wright’s Ennis House, are either famous in their own right or iconic thanks to their time on the big screen. As Halloween approaches, AD looks back at the homes from some of the most popular horror movies of all time. House on Haunted Hill Frank Lloyd Wright’s iconic Ennis House in Los Angeles has been featured in many Hollywood productions, from Blade Runner to the TV show Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The 1925 landmark made one of its earliest and best-known appearances in William Castle’s 1959 film House on Haunted Hill,where it was used as the exterior of the titular home. Poltergeist ...
Article Link:
Huffington Post article
'The Exorcist' maker says Vatican let him film real rite
Yahoo News - 9 months
William Friedkin, the director of the horror classic "The Exorcist", has revealed that he was allowed to film a real exorcism at the Vatican earlier this month. The 80-year-old American filmmaker told a masterclass at the Cannes film festival late Thursday that he was invited by Rome's exorcist to record the event. "I was invited by the Vatican exorcist to shoot and video an actual exorcism which... few people have ever seen and which nobody has ever photographed," he said.
Article Link:
Yahoo News article
Scary Scrum of Candidates
Huffington Post - over 1 year
A Republican roster ready for the Exorcist Steps. D.C. officials dedicated the famed Exorcist Steps in Georgetown with a plaque the day before Halloween, and director William Friedkin and author William Peter Blatty were on hand. With all the real scares at home and abroad, it is strange that we take such pleasure in imaginary ones. Several Republican presidential candidates, for example, appear to suffer from demonic possession. Ted Cruz looks like an evil doll in a horror movie. I only have a laugh button for Hillary Clinton, but I admit it gets a bit scary if you press it enough. Since there is no trick-or-treating in my building, I ate the candy myself as I followed the hashtag #NewGOPDebateQuestions mocking Republican candidates for blaming the RNC and CNBC over the questions they were asked last week. Secretary Clinton faced hostile questions solo for eleven hours at the Benghazi hearing, whereas the Republicans split what they dubbed "gotcha" questions among ...
Article Link:
Huffington Post article
On Being Inspired by Classic Movies at the TCM Classic Film Festival
Huffington Post - about 2 years
What makes something a classic? It's a question worth asking as Hollywood devotes ever more of its resources to remaking movies, TV shows, and comic books from the past as the majority of our movie content today. Not that we mind the odd sequel (we're definitely looking forward to Spectre and Star Wars) - but 2015 will see an unprecedented number of sequels and remakes, including new installments in the Mad Max, Mission Impossible, Jurassic Park, Terminator, Avengers, and Fast and Furious franchises. If you want a break and would like to see some movies that are truly unrepeatable and non-franchisable, we suggest you check out the upcoming 2015 TCM Classic Film Festival, returning to historic Hollywood from March 26th to March 29th, 2015. It's a marvelous chance to see some of the world's classic movies the way they were meant to be seen: on the big screen, and often with their original creators in attendance. The classic movies shown at the TCM Classic Film Festival are in ...
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Huffington Post article
Geffen Postpones Pinter's <i>The Birthday Party</i>!
Huffington Post - about 3 years
It came as a shock to the entire Los Angeles theatrical community. Friday's announcement by the Geffen Playhouse's Artistic Director Randall Arney: "Due to unforeseen circumstances, Harold Pinter's The Birthday Party, to be directed by William Friedkin, has been postponed." The show was to have begun pre-opening performances on Tuesday, and to have officially opened on February 12. Now, another show will be offered later in its stead. In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Friedkin said that it was due to the departure of actor Steven Berkoff, and the inability find a suitable replacement in the available time. Friedkin said that rehearsals were underway for about a week before he made the decision to let Berkoff go. "I have never let an actor go before," the director told the newspaper. "I feel bad about it, but you have to have a great actor in that role, no question." Berkoff was to have played the role of Goldberg, one of two menacing strangers who interrupt the prot ...
Article Link:
Huffington Post article
Critic's Notebook: Friedkin Blows Out the Candles on 'The Birthday Party'
LATimes - about 3 years
It would be foolish for an outsider to speculate on the conflict that took place between actor Steven Berkoff and director William Friedkin during rehearsals for the Geffen Playhouse’s now postponed production of “The Birthday Party.” But there’s no denying that the botched handling of this situation was a loss for the Geffen, the artistic company and Los Angeles theater.
Article Link:
LATimes article
Discussing <em>The Wicker Man: Final Cut </em>With Director Robin Hardy
Huffington Post - over 3 years
Update: While The Wicker Man: Final Cut tours the U.S. from Bellingham to Brookline (see link below), L.A. audiences are fortunate, as it's just been announced that this Friday night, the first of November, legendary actress Britt Ekland -- "The Landlord's Daughter" herself! -- will introduce the 7:30 screening at Landmark's fabulous Nuart Theatre, plus she's staying for a Q&amp;A. If you miss this, you're crazy. Britt Ekland in The Wicker Man: Final Cut We now return you to the original opening paragraph. I get excited about movies, but rarely does a film astound me. Sinisterly exuberant, elegantly subversive, ravishingly eerie, hilariously chilling -- I just can't throw enough positive adjectival phrases at The Wicker Man: the 1973 masterpiece penned by Anthony Shaffer and magnificently directed by Robin Hardy. At the fore stands the world's greatest actor Christopher Lee, in one of his career peaks ("the best-scripted film I ever took part in," Mr. Lee says of The Wicker Man, i ...
Article Link:
Huffington Post article
Tavis Smiley: William Friedkin, The Exorcist Director, Says Film Is About the Mystery of Faith
The Huffington Post - over 3 years
Tonight on PBS, I sit down with award-winning director, producer and screenwriter William Friedkin. Can you believe it's been 40 years since the screams in The Exorcist? Friedkin reflects on the making of the film and the genre in Hollywood that followed. In the following clip, Friedkin speaks candidly about how The Exorcist is a film about the mystery of faith. For more of our conversation, be sure to tune in to "Tavis Smiley" tonight on PBS. Check out our website for your local TV listings: www.pbs.org/tavis. After the show, tweet me @TavisSmiley #Friedkin and let me know what you thought about our conversation.
Article Link:
The Huffington Post article
William Peter Blatty reflects on 40th anniversary of 'The Exorcist'
LATimes - over 3 years
Author William Peter Blatty recalls it took a near-miracle to get anyone to notice his demonic thriller, 'The Exorcist'. For the last four decades, William Peter Blatty's demonic possession thriller, "The Exorcist," has ranked as the ultimate in scare fare. His 1971 novel sat atop the New York Times bestseller list for more than four months, and director William Friedkin's 1973 blockbuster film version, for which Blatty earned the adapted screenplay Oscar, is largely held as a masterpiece of the horror genre.
Article Link:
LATimes article
William Friedkin: having 1 of his best years
San Francisco Chronicle - over 3 years
In May, he was a special guest at the San Francisco International Film Festival. Last month, he was given a lifetime achievement award at the Venice Film Festival, where he premiered the restoration of his neglected masterpiece, "Sorcerer." Next month, a remastered 40th anniversary edition of "The Exorcist" will be released on Blu-ray. The Films of William Friedkin is a modest six-film series beginning Thursday night with To Live and Die in L.A., continuing this weekend with The French Connection and The Boys in the Band and finishing next week with Friedkin in person to introduce the Sorcerer restoration (its first screening since the Venice premiere) as well as Cruising and last year's twisted art house hit, Killer Joe. A director like Michael Curtiz in the studio system could do 'Casablanca' and three or four other films that year. Friedkin is especially proud of his memoir, which has gotten mostly good reviews, and says it was somewhat therapeutic for him. At "Sorcerer" (7 p. ...
Article Link:
San Francisco Chronicle article
Venice film festival gives lifetime award to Friedkin
Yahoo News - over 3 years
US film-maker William Friedkin, who petrified cinema-goers with "The Exorcist", was awarded a lifetime achievement award by organisers of the Venice film festival on Thursday.
Article Link:
Yahoo News article
William Friedkin celebrates a Golden Lion, restored 'Sorcerer'
LATimes - over 3 years
The director is being honored for lifetime achievement at the Venice Film Festival, where a new digital version of his 1977 film starring Roy Scheider will be screened. Thursday is going to be a big day for William Friedkin. It will be his 78th birthday ("No gifts, please, I'll just give you my address," he jokes) as well as the day his memoir, "The Friedkin Connection," will be published in Italian.
Article Link:
LATimes article
Brian Formo: Film Review: Ain't Them Bodies Beautiful and Hollow
Huffington Post - over 3 years
Ain't Them Bodies Saints is meticulously constructed. With deft camerawork and a pure attention to 70s small town details, there is a fantastic, technically sound structure that director David Lowery has built. Saints is a nice house to look at from afar. Approach the steps, peer in and see that's it's empty. It isn't lived in and whatever lives had happened there have long been swept out. When Saints screened at Sundance the buzz that caught fire and, lazily has followed it around since, is that Lowery's film is similar to Badlands. Ultimately the comparison is a disservice to Lowery's film, for they are nothing alike, outside of a romance created through armed thievery. Ain't Them Bodies Saints begins where Badlands ends: the separation of young lovers via arrest. It also uses narration for providing structure. But, whereas Terrance Malick utilized Sissy Spacek's narration in non-sequiturs (putting on make-up, viewing vistas in a stereopticon, spelling out senten ...
Article Link:
Huffington Post article
Finally Famous, After 25 Years Of Acting
Huffington Post - over 3 years
LOS ANGELES — Just one glimpse of her face is followed by a flash of familiarity. But, oh, that name just isn't coming. Together again for the first time: filmgoers, meet veteran character actress Lili Taylor. After 25 years making movies, Taylor said the public most regularly approaches her about work in "Mystic Pizza" (1988), "I Shot Andy Warhol" (1996) and the 1999 remake of the `60s horror classic "The Haunting." "I feel like that's a nice spectrum, because you've got your indie, you've got your big one," the 46-year-old actress noted in a recent interview. "Or they can't remember," she continued, "because I'm one of those who they think I either walk my dog in their neighborhood or I live in their building. And that's the kind of actor I am, which is fine." To the stranger, she says, "`I know you think I'm in your building. It's `The Haunting' and that's where you know me from, and let's just cut to the chase.'" While "The Haunting" grossed nea ...
Article Link:
Huffington Post article
William Friedkin's memoir makes a strong 'Connection' with film
LATimes - over 3 years
The director of 'The Exorcist' and 'To Live and Die in L.A.' looks back on his big life. William Friedkin is sorry. In his new memoir of a career in the director's chair, he's sorry he almost got that stunt driver on "The French Connection" killed. He's sorry he fired all those cinematographers, except for the ones who deserved it. He must be sorry he directed "Deal of the Century," or he'd have found someplace in the book to mention it. And he can't be too proud of the three ex-wives, or he'd have given them each their own sentence, instead of making them share.
Article Link:
LATimes article
Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of William Friedkin
    LATE_ADULTHOOD
  • 2013
    Age 77
    In April 2013 Friedkin published a memoir, The Friedkin Connection.
    More Details Hide Details He was presented with a lifetime achievement award at the 70th Venice International Film Festival in September. Friedkin has been, over the years, linked to an array of unfilmed projects. Ranging from an account of the Florence Maybrick murder trial, Battle Grease, to an adaptation of the Frank De Felitta suspense novel, Sea Trial, the horror thriller "A Safe Darkness," the cop thriller "Bump City", and to the UFO thriller "The Devil's Triangle". The moving image collection of William Friedkin is held at the Academy Film Archive. The material at the Academy Film Archive is complemented by material in the William Friedkin papers at the Academy’s Margaret Herrick Library. William Friedkin has been married four times:
  • 2011
    Age 75
    In 2011 Friedkin directed Killer Joe, a black comedy written by Tracy Letts, and starring Matthew McConaughey, Emile Hirsch, Juno Temple, Gina Gershon, and Thomas Haden Church. Killer Joe premiered at the 68th Venice International Film Festival, prior to its North American debut at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival.
    More Details Hide Details It opened in U.S. theaters in July 2012, to favorable reviews from critics.
  • 2010
    Age 74
    In June 2010, author William Peter Blatty, promoting his latest novel, revealed that Friedkin had committed to direct the feature film adaptation of his thriller, Dimiter.
    More Details Hide Details
  • 2007
    Age 71
    Friedkin's involvement in 2007's Bug resulted from a positive experience watching the stage version in 2004.
    More Details Hide Details He was surprised to find that he was, metaphorically, on the same page as the playwright and felt that he could relate well to the story. The film won the FIPRESCI prize at the Cannes Film Festival. Later, Friedkin directed an episode of the TV series CSI: Crime Scene Investigation titled "Cockroaches," which re-teamed him with To Live and Die in L.A. star William Petersen. He directed again for CSI's 200th episode, "Mascara."
  • FORTIES
  • 1981
    Age 45
    Friedkin suffered a major heart attack on March 6, 1981.
    More Details Hide Details He had a genetically-caused defect in his circumflex left coronary artery, and nearly died. He spent months in rehabilitation. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Friedkin's films received mostly lackluster reviews and moderate ticket sales. Deal of the Century (1983), starring Chevy Chase, Gregory Hines and Sigourney Weaver, was sometimes regarded as a latter-day Dr. Strangelove, though it was generally savaged by critics. However, his action/crime movie To Live and Die in L.A. (1985), starring William Petersen and Willem Dafoe, was a critical favorite and drew comparisons to Friedkin's own The French Connection (particularly for its car-chase sequence), while his courtroom-drama/thriller Rampage (1987) received a fairly positive review from Roger Ebert despite major distribution problems. The Guardian (1990) and Jade (1995), starring Linda Fiorentino, received a somewhat favorable response from critics and audiences. Friedkin even said that Jade was the favorite of all the films he had made, although he later denied this.
  • 1980
    Age 44
    In 1980, he directed an adaptation of the Gerald Walker crime thriller Cruising, starring Al Pacino, which was protested against even during its making and remains the subject of heated debate.
    More Details Hide Details The film was critically assailed, and was a financial disappointment.
  • THIRTIES
  • 1973
    Age 37
    Following these two pictures, Friedkin, along with Francis Ford Coppola and Peter Bogdanovich, was deemed one of the premier directors of New Hollywood; In 1973 the trio announced the formation of an independent production company at Paramount, The Directors Company.
    More Details Hide Details Whereas Coppola directed The Conversation and Bogdanovich, the Henry James adaptation, Daisy Miller, Friedkin abruptly left the company, which was soon closed by Paramount. But Friedkin's later movies did not achieve the same success. Sorcerer (1977), a $22 million American remake of the French classic Wages of Fear, co-produced by both Universal and Paramount, starring Roy Scheider, was overshadowed by the blockbuster box-office success of Star Wars, which had been released exactly one week prior. Friedkin considers it his finest film, and was personally devastated by its financial and critical failure (as mentioned by Friedkin himself in the documentary series The Directors (1999)). Sorcerer was shortly followed by the crime-comedy The Brink's Job (1978), based on the real-life Great Brink's Robbery in Boston, Massachusetts, which was also unsuccessful at the box-office.
    Friedkin followed up with 1973's The Exorcist, based on William Peter Blatty's best-selling novel, which revolutionized the horror genre and is considered by some critics to be one of the greatest horror movies of all time.
    More Details Hide Details The Exorcist was nominated for 10 Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director. It won the Best Screenplay and Best Sound Mixing.
  • 1972
    Age 36
    Friedkin began a four-year relationship with Australian dancer and choreographer Jennifer Nairn-Smith in 1972.
    More Details Hide Details Although they announced an engagement twice, they never married. They did, however, have a son, Cedric, born on November 27, 1976. Friedkin and his second wife, Lesley-Anne Down, also had a son, Jack, born in 1983. Friedkin is an agnostic.
    The idea for the book itself actually came to Blatty while sitting in Friedkin's office in 1972 during the first film's production, as he read an article concerning the then atheist-run state of Albania executing a priest for baptizing a newborn infant.
    More Details Hide Details He has been working on it on and off ever since 1974, and, upon its completion, sat down with Friedkin for a one-on-one interview in The Huffington Post a few days after Blatty named Friedkin as attached to direct. According to the author, his friend and director has been eager to adapt the story for the last three years.
  • 1971
    Age 35
    In 1971, his The French Connection was released to wide critical acclaim.
    More Details Hide Details Shot in a gritty style more suited for documentaries than Hollywood features, the film won five Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director.
  • 1970
    Age 34
    While he was filming The Boys in the Band in 1970, Friedkin began a relationship with Kitty Hawks, daughter of director Howard Hawks. It lasted two years, during which the couple announced their engagement, but the relationship ended about 1972.
    More Details Hide Details
  • TWENTIES
  • 1965
    Age 29
    In 1965 Friedkin moved to Hollywood and two years later released his first feature film, Good Times starring Sonny and Cher. 'Which I am telling you, is unwatchable.'
    More Details Hide Details Several other "art" films followed, including the adaptation of Mart Crowley's The Boys in the Band and most notably The Birthday Party, based on an unpublished screenplay by Harold Pinter, which he adapted from his own play. Friedkin, however, did not want to be known as an art house director, but rather for action and serious drama through stories about an America upended by crime, hypocrisy, the occult, and amorality. All of which he mounted up into his films to reflect what was going on in an America that was changing in the wake of Vietnam, the Sexual Revolution, and Watergate.
    As mentioned in Friedkin's voice-over commentary on the DVD re-release of Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo, Friedkin directed one of the last episodes of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour in 1965, called "Off Season".
    More Details Hide Details Hitchcock admonished Friedkin for not wearing a tie while directing.
  • 1960
    Age 24
    Televised documentaries, such as his Second City documentary A Tale of Two Cities, 1960's Harvest of Shame, also were important in his developing sense of cinema.
    More Details Hide Details He began working in the mail room at WGN-TV immediately after high school. Within two years (at the age of 18), he started his directorial career doing live television shows and documentaries. His efforts included The People vs. Paul Crump (made with Bill Butler in 1962) which won an award at the San Francisco International Film Festival and contributed to the commutation of Crump's death sentence. Its success helped Friedkin get a job with producer David L. Wolper.
    Friedkin began going to movies as a teenager, and has cited Citizen Kane as one of his key influences. Several sources claim that Friedkin saw this motion picture as a teenager, but Friedkin himself says that he did not see the film until 1960, when he was 25 years old.
    More Details Hide Details Only then, Friedkin says, did he become a true cineaste. Among the movies which he saw as a teenager and young adult were Les Diaboliques, The Wages of Fear, and Psycho (which he viewed repeatedly, like Citizen Kane).
  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1935
    Born
    Born on August 29, 1935.
    More Details Hide Details
Original Authors of this text are noted here.
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