William Friedkin–the legendary director behind The Exorcist and The French Connection–has passed away at age 87.
The filmmaker’s passing in Los Angeles was confirmed by Chapman University dean Stephen Galloway, a friend of Friedkin’s wife Sherry Lansing, according to a report on Deadline.
Born in Chicago in 1935, Friedkin began his film career on the small screen, directing a mid-1960s episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents and several TV movies.
Following up on his Oscar-winning work on The French Connection in 1971, Friedkin directed 1973’s The Exorcist, which was nominated for a Best Picture Oscar–and won Oscars for Ellen Burstyn and screen writer William Peter Blatty.
As all horror fans know, The Exorcist deals with the demonic possession of Regan MacNeil (Linda Blair) and the efforts of her mother (Burstyn) to save her through an exorcism.
In other genre efforts, Friedkin also helmed an episode of TV’s The Twilight Zone reboot and HBO’s Tales from the Crypt before returning to feature films with Bug, a psychological horror film that debuted at Cannes in 2006.
Friedkin is survived by his wife Sherry and his two sons.
The staff of Horror News Network extends its condolences to Friedkin’s family, friends and colleagues.