William Friedkin, director of 'The Exorcist' and 'The French Connection,' dies

The sad news came from Chicago. William Friedkin, director of 'The Exorcist' and 'The French Connection,' passed away at the age of 87, in Los Angeles Monday (08/07/2023). Friedkin was born in Chicago in 1935.

Former Hollywood Reporter executive editor Stephen Galloway said Friedkin had suffered from health problems in recent years.

Director William Friedkin died in Los Angeles on Monday, aged 87. (Reuters: Eric Gaillard)

"He died this morning," Galloway confirmed, after speaking to Friedkin's wife.

Friedkin "had been working until a few weeks ago," but "his health is declining," he added.

William Friedkin, an influential director in the US film industry

Friedkin was among the influential young directors of "New Hollywood", who fundamentally reshaped the US film industry.

Along with fellow names, such as Francis Ford Coppola and Martin Scorsese, Friedkin exploded in the early 1970s, with the police drama The French Connection.

Also, read: Mark Margolis Actor of Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul Dies.

Starring Gene Hackman, Friedkin won five Oscars including for best director and best picture.

He followed it up with The Exorcist in 1973. The film was a huge commercial and critical hit, as well as being highly controversial.

The shocking film about a 12-year-old girl possessed by a demon was nominated for 10 Oscars, won two, and spawned numerous sequels.

Friedkin's career took a steep decline thereafter, including the failure of the highly expensive film Sorcerer in 1977. He continued to be a director well into his 80s.

His latest film, The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial, starring Kiefer Sutherland, will premiere at this year's Venice film festival.

Friedkin is survived by his fourth wife Sherry Lansing, a former studio head of Paramount Pictures, and two sons.

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