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Monday 08 July, 2024
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William Friedkin dead at 87: Cause of Death

BY Sharmeen Hussain Aug 08, 2023. 03:07 am UPDATED: Aug 08, 2023. 03:07 am

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Oscar-winning film director William Friedkin died on Monday at the age of 87 in Los Angeles.

The blockbuster filmmaker was most recognized for his work on The French Connection, which won an Academy Award in 1971, and The Exorcist, which was a fan favorite.

Chapman University dean Stephen Galloway, a friend of William’s wife, American philanthropist Sherry Lansing, confirmed his death.

The screenwriter was one month away from releasing his final film, a replica of Herman Wouk’s stage and screen drama The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial.

The film, starring Kiefer Sutherland, is set to premiere at the Venice Film Festival in 2023.

HONEST WORKER

Chapman University dean Stephen Galloway, a friend of William’s wife, American philanthropist Sherry Lansing, confirmed his death.

The screenwriter was one month away from releasing his final film, a replica of Herman Wouk’s stage and screen drama The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial.

The film, starring Kiefer Sutherland, is set to premiere at the Venice Film Festival in 2023.

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“I never considered myself the great American anything. Not then and not now. I consider myself just another member of the crew, the highest paid member of the crew,” he previously confessed to The Los Angeles Times.

“Winning the Academy Award [and the Directors’ Guild Award for 1971’s “The French Connection”] was an enormous honor. But I thought I had won it prematurely, that I hadn’t paid enough dues at that point.”

William was born in Chicago in 1935, the only child of two Jewish parents who escaped Ukraine in the early 1900s and settled in the United States.

The producer previously stated that his mother, a nurse, was a “saint” while his father was generally unemployed and “seemed to have no sense of purpose except day-to-day survival.”

Friedkin grew up incredibly poor and on welfare, and he claims his father “never earned more than $50 a week in his whole life and died indigent.”

The director also stated that he “never knew” about his parents’ poverty.

In his 2014 memoir, William explained that he and “all his friends” lived the same way with “no moral compass.”

“I literally didn’t know the difference between right and wrong,” he wrote.

William’s success in Hollywood declined in the years that followed his blockbuster hits – but his dedication to the craft continued.

“I haven’t made my ‘Citizen Kane’, but there’s more work to do. I don’t know how much, but I’m loving it,” he claimed in his autobiography.

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Friedkin began his career in filmmaking alongside other 70s legends such as Peter Bogdanovich, Francis Ford Coppola, and Hal Ashby.

Around that period, the screenwriter rose to prominence as part of a group of daring creators.

He brought a high-energy voice to Hollywood, focusing on horror and police thrillers.

Following his Oscar triumph for The French Connection, Friedkin’s 1973 film The Exorcist grossed a staggering $500 million worldwide.

The film’s unprecedented popularity, along with similar films such as The Godfather, ushered in the blockbuster era.

The Exorcist is a classic horror film about a young girl who becomes possessed by demons.

William received his second Oscar nomination for best director for his efforts on the picture.Friedkin has four marriages, the first to newscaster Kelly Lange, and the others to actresses Lesley-Anne Down, Jeanne Moreau, and Sherry Lansing.

Sherry and Jackson and Cedric, the filmmaker’s two boys, survive him.

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