Filmmaker William Friedkin Passes Away

Famed director, producer and screenwriter William Friedkin has passed away, aged 87.

Friedkin was a prominent member of the New Hollywood movement in the ‘70s, directing features such as ‘The French Connection’ and ‘The Exorcist’, leaving behind a legacy of cinematic excellence.

William was born in Chicago in 1935 during the golden age of Hollywood. He pursued an early interest in filmmaking and started his career as a director at the age of 18 working for Chicago television station WGN-TV.

There, he directed live television series as well as award-winning documentaries. The gritty cinematic style of his documentary work would become a defining feature of William’s filmmaking.

Friedkin directed his first feature film ‘Good Times’ starring Sonny and Cher in 1967. He found acclaim with ‘The French Connection’ in 1971 and its notorious car chase scene.

“Everything you see, we actually did,” he told NBC News in 2021.

“There was no CGI then. There was no way to fake it. I just put the pedal to the metal, and we went 90 miles an hour in city traffic. The fact that nobody got hurt is a miracle. The fact that I didn’t get killed, the fact that some of the crew members didn’t get hurt or killed.

“That’s a chance I would never take again. I was young and I didn’t give a damn. I just went out and did it. I set out to make a great chase scene and I didn’t care about the consequences, and now I do.”

In 1973, he traumatised an entire generation with his adaptation of William Peter Blatty’s horror novel ‘The Exorcist’.

Though his later work didn’t bring the same level of success of notoriety, Friedkin’s impact on 20th and 21st century film remains unquestioned.

William Friedkin continued working on a wide variety of film and television projects right up until his death. His final film will be an adaptation of the 1951 play ‘The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial’, scheduled for release in September.

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