William Friedkin, director of The Exorcist, dies at 87

William Friedkin
(Image credit: Getty Images)

William Friedkin, best known as the director of the highly influential horror movie The Exorcist, has died in Los Angeles aged 87. The death was confirmed by a family friend and Friedkin is survived by his wife, Lansing, and two sons.

His final film is an adaptation of Herman Wouk's novel The Caine Mutiny starring Kiefer Sutherland. It's set to premiere at the Venice Film Festival in just a few weeks.

Friedkin, along with Night of the Living Dead director George Romero and Halloween director John Carpenter, is closely associated with the New Hollywood movement that was shaped by young and upcoming filmmakers willing to experiment with new ideas and visual styles that weren't common for the time.

1973's The Exorcist is one of the most influential horror movies ever made, spawning several sequels and prequels, the latest of which is due to release later this year. The original film earned Friedkin an Oscar nomination and Academy Award nod for Best Director.

However, Friedkin is also remembered for directing the 1971 neo-noir thriller The French Connection, for which he won an Oscar. He also directed the 1970 drama The Boys in the Band, the 1977 thriller Sorcerer, the 1980 crime thriller Cruising, the 1985 neo-noir thriller To Live and Die in LA, the psychological horror film Bug from 2006, and the 2011 black comedy Killer Joe.

Among his earliest work is a directing credit on one of the final episodes of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour in 1965, titled Off Season. It was then that Hitchcock famously scolded Friedkin for having not worn a tie while in the director's chair.

Jordan Gerblick

After scoring a degree in English from ASU, I worked as a copy editor while freelancing for places like SFX Magazine, Screen Rant, Game Revolution, and MMORPG on the side. Now, as GamesRadar's west coast Staff Writer, I'm responsible for managing the site's western regional executive branch, AKA my apartment, and writing about whatever horror game I'm too afraid to finish.