Legendary Director William Friedkin, Famed for ‘The Exorcist,’ Dies at 87

william Friedkin holding his chin
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William Fried­kin, the ground­break­ing direc­tor behind some of cin­e­ma’s most icon­ic films, has passed away at 87.

Fried­kin leaves behind an incred­i­ble lega­cy, hav­ing helmed genre-defin­ing clas­sics includ­ing the 1973 hor­ror mas­ter­piece ‘The Exor­cist.’ With its chill­ing imagery and advanced effects, ‘The Exor­cist’ brought new dimen­sions of ter­ror to the big screen, cap­ti­vat­ing audi­ences and inspir­ing gen­er­a­tions of filmmakers.

Beyond hor­ror, Fried­kin dis­played ver­sa­til­i­ty across thrillers, dra­mas and more. His 1971 crime dra­ma ‘The French Con­nec­tion’ earned 5 Acad­e­my Awards includ­ing Best Pic­ture and Best Direc­tor for Fried­kin. He also direct­ed 1977’s ‘Sor­cer­er,’ bring­ing intense action to the big screen long before mod­ern CGI.

While best known for his sem­i­nal ear­ly work, Fried­kin con­tin­ued direct­ing into the 2000s. From edgy cop dra­mas to Alfred Hitch­cock remakes, he main­tained his uncom­pro­mis­ing cre­ative vision over a career span­ning half a century.

William Fried­kin pio­neered vis­cer­al film­mak­ing tech­niques that per­me­ate the indus­try today. His bold, genre-bust­ing movies pro­vid­ed the tem­plate for gen­er­a­tions of direc­tors. Both mas­ter of hor­ror and mas­ter­ful sto­ry­teller, Fried­kin’s cin­e­mat­ic lega­cy will live on through his leg­endary films. He leaves big shoes to fill for those who aim to cap­ture imag­i­na­tions the way ‘The Exor­cist’ still does after near­ly 50 years.

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