William Friedkin

William Friedkin

Infobox actor

name = William Friedkin
othername = Billy
birthdate = birth date and age|1935|8|29
location = Chicago, Illinois
spouse = Jeanne Moreau (1977-1979)
Lesley-Anne Down (1982-1985)
Kelly Lange (1987-1990)
Sherry Lansing (1991-)
academyawards = Best Director
1971 "The French Connection"
goldenglobeawards = Best Director - Motion Picture
1972 "The French Connection"
1974 "The Exorcist"
awards = DGA Award
1971 "The French Connection"
Empire Awards
Movie Masterpiece Award
1973 "The Exorcist"
Cognac Festival du Film Policier
1985 "To Live and Die in L.A."
Cannes Film Festival
2006 "Bug"
awards = Best Director - Motion Picture
DGA Award
1971 "The French Connection"
Cognac Festival du Film Policier
1985 "To Live and Die in L.A."
Cannes Film Festival
2006 "Bug
Empire Awards
1973 "The Exorcist"

William Friedkin (born August 29 1935 in Chicago, Illinois) is an Academy Award-winning American movie and television director, producer and screenwriter best known for directing "The Exorcist" and "The French Connection" in the early 1970s.


After seeing the movie "Citizen Kane" as a boy, Friedkin became fascinated with movies and began working for WGN-TV immediately after high school. He eventually started his directorial career doing live television shows and documentaries, including "The People vs. Paul Crump" which won several awards and contributed to the commutation of Crump's death sentence. In 1965 Friedkin moved to Hollywood and two years later released his first feature film, "Good Times" starring Sonny and Cher. Several other "art" films followed (including the gay-themed movie "The Boys in the Band"), although Friedkin did not want to be known as an art house director.

In 1971, his "The French Connection" was released to wide critical acclaim. Shot in a gritty style more suited for documentaries than Hollywood features, the film won five Academy Awards, including Academy Award for Best Picture and Best Director.

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. "The Exorcist" was nominated for 10 Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director.

Following these two critically acclaimed pictures, Friedkin, along with Francis Coppola and Peter Bogdanovich, was deemed as one of the premier directors in Hollywood. Unfortunately, Friedkin's later movies did not achieve the same success. "Sorcerer", an American remake of the movie "Wages of Fear" starring Roy Scheider, was overshadowed by the box office smash, "", which was released around the same time.

Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Friedkin's films received mostly lackluster reviews and moderate ticket sales. However, his crime film "To Live and Die in L.A.", starring William Petersen and Willem Dafoe was a critical favorite.

In 2000, "The Exorcist" was re-released in theaters with extra footage and grossed $40 million in the U.S. alone.

Friedkin's involvement in 2007's "Bug" resulted from a positive experience watching the stage version in 2004. 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. [http://www.comingsoon.net/news/movienews.php?id=20415]

Later, Friedkin directed an episode of the hit TV series "", entitled "Cockroaches", which re-teamed him with "To Live and Die In L.A." star William Petersen.

Personal life

Friedkin has two sons: Jack (with actress Lesley-Anne Down) and Cedric, whose mother is Australian dancer Jennifer Nairn-Smith. He has been married four times, including a short marriage to French actress Jeanne Moreau. He is currently married to former film executive Sherry Lansing.

Filmography (as director)

Award information is from The Internet Movie Database (IMDb) [http://imdb.com/] .

External links

*imdb name|id=0001243|name=William Friedkin
* [http://www.24liesasecond.com/site2/index.php?page=2&task=index_onearticle.php&Column_Id=74 Watching Under the Influence: To Live and Die in L.A.] essay at 24 Lies A Second
* [http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6070626 "From 'Popeye' Doyle to Puccini: William Friedkin"] NPR's Robert Siegel interviews Friedkin, 14 September 2006
* [http://www.comingsoon.net/news/movienews.php?id=20415 EXCL: Bug Director William Friedkin ]
* [http://www.thereeler.com/features/as_best_as_i_can_define_it.php "The Reeler" interview with Friedkin]
* [http://www.fathom.com/feature/122383/index.html American Film Institute interview]

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