William Friedkin

Director, Screenwriter, Producer
One of the most powerful film directors of the 1970's, Academy Award-winning director William Friedkin was representative of Hollywood's first wave of hip, hot, young super-directors. Famed for his boisterous talent and ... Read more »
Born: 08/29/1935 in Chicago, Illinois, USA

Filmography

Director (26)

Killer Joe 2012 (Movie)

(Director)

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation 2009 (Tv Show)

Director

Bug 2007 (Movie)

(Director)

The Hunted 2003 (Movie)

(Director)

Rules of Engagement 2000 (Movie)

(Director)

Jade 1995 (Movie)

(Director)

Blue Chips 1994 (Movie)

(Director)

On a Dead Man's Chest 1991 - 1992 (TV Show)

Director

Rampage 1992 (Movie)

(Director)

The Guardian 1990 (Movie)

(Director)

C.A.T. Squad: Python Wolf 1988 (Movie)

(Director)

The Twilight Zone 1985 - 1987 (Tv Show)

Director

C.A.T. Squad 1985 - 1986 (TV Show)

Director

To Live and Die in L.A. 1985 (Movie)

(Director)

Deal of the Century 1983 (Movie)

(Director)

Cruising 1980 (Movie)

(Director)

The Brink's Job 1978 (Movie)

(Director)

Sorcerer 1977 (Movie)

(Director)

The Exorcist 1973 (Movie)

(Director)

The French Connection 1971 (Movie)

(Director)

The Boys in the Band 1970 (Movie)

(Director)

The Birthday Party 1968 (Movie)

(Director)

The Night They Raided Minsky's 1968 (Movie)

(Director)

Good Times 1967 (Movie)

(Director)

12 Angry Men (TV Show)

Director

Jailbreakers (TV Show)

Director
Actor (20)

A Fuller Life 2014 (Movie)

(Himself)

Algren 2013 (Movie)

HImself (Actor)

40X15: Forty Years of the Directors' Fortnight 2007 (Movie)

Himself (Actor)

Precinct Hollywood 2005 - 2006 (TV Show)

Actor

A Decade Under the Influence 2003 (Movie)

Himself (Actor)

AFI's 100 Years..100 Heroes and Villains 2002 - 2003 (TV Show)

Actor

AFI's 100 Years... 100 Thrills 2000 - 2001 (TV Show)

Actor

History Vs. Hollywood 2000 - 2001 (TV Show)

Actor

AFI's 100 Years... 100 Movies 1997 - 1998 (TV Show)

Actor

Billy Wilder: The Human Comedy 1997 - 1998 (TV Show)

Actor

Without Limits 1998 (Movie)

TV Director (Actor)

Howard Hawks: American Artist 1996 (Movie)

(Actor)

In the Grip of Evil (TV Show)

Actor
Writer (7)

Rampage 1992 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

The Guardian 1990 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

C.A.T. Squad: Python Wolf 1988 (Movie)

(From Story)

C.A.T. Squad: Python Wolf 1988 (Movie)

(Creator)

C.A.T. Squad: Python Wolf 1988 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

To Live and Die in L.A. 1985 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Cruising 1980 (Movie)

(Screenplay)
Producer (3)

Rampage 1992 (Movie)

(Co-Producer)

C.A.T. Squad: Python Wolf 1988 (Movie)

(Executive Producer)

Sorcerer 1977 (Movie)

(Producer)

Biography

One of the most powerful film directors of the 1970's, Academy Award-winning director William Friedkin was representative of Hollywood's first wave of hip, hot, young super-directors. Famed for his boisterous talent and booming ego, Friedkin earned a reputation for drawing out brilliant performances from his actors - by whatever means necessary. While a few of the director's notoriously manipulative tactics seemed questionable, no one could argue their effectiveness. Just five years after making his feature film debut, Friedkin snagged the Best Director Oscar for "The French Connection" (1971). The director's landmark achievement, however, would be his 1973 filmic adaptation of William Peter Blatty's "The Exorcist." A landmark in special effects, make-up and storytelling, "The Exorcist" grossed - and grossed-out - millions. Noted for the stylized documentary look of his dramas, Friedkin's talents catapulted him to the front rank of American directors. The husband of former Paramount Pictures head honcho, Sherry Lansing since 1991, Friedkin's career remained active well into the next century.

Relationships

Ellen Burstyn Actor

Companion
Worked together in "The Exorcist" (1973); Burstyn claimed they had an affair after filming was completed, which Freidkin disputed

Lesley-Anne Down Actor

Wife
Married in 1982 Divorced in 1985 Waged bitter custody battle for son Jack

Louis Friedkin

Father
died indigent in Chicago

Raechael Friedkin

Mother

Jack Friedkin

Son
born c. 1983 mother Lesley-Anne Down

Kitty Hawks

Companion
also worked in an advertising agency daughter of Howard Hawks introduced to Friedkin by playwright Mart Crowly c. 1969 during the filming of "Boys in the Band" lived together announced engagement but separated in June 1971

Kelly Lange Actor

Wife

Sherry Lansing Actor

Wife
Married on July 6, 1991 in Barbados

Jeanne Moreau Actor

Wife

Jennifer Nairn-Smith

Companion
met in 1972 together for four years twice announced engagement mother of Friedkin's son Cedric

Cedric Nairn-Smith

Son
born on November 27, 1976 mother, Jennifer Nairn-Smith

EDUCATION

Senn High School

Chicago , Illinois
on Chicago's North Side

Milestones

2007

Directed the psychological horror film, "Bug" starring Ashley Judd and Harry Connick Jr.

2002

Directed Benicio Del Toro in "The Hunted"; production was shut down in June 2001 when Del Toro was injured days before principal photography was due to end (completed several months later)

2002

Staged two productions for the Los Angeles Opera

2000

Directed "Rules of Engagement" a film produced by Richard D. Zanuck, the executive who greenlit his most popular film "The French Connection"

1998

Directed Alban Berg's opera "Wozzeck" in Florence, Italy with Zubin Mehta conducting

1997

Received star number 2,093 on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (August 14)

1997

Directed the acclaimed small screen remake of "12 Angry Men" (Showtime)

1995

Helmed third film in Joe Eszterhas' "sleaze" trilogy, "Jade"

1994

Helmed "Jailbreakers" segment of Showtime's "Rebel Highway" series

1994

Returned to features as director of the sports-themed "Blue Chips", scripted by Ron Shelton

1992

Continued in the horror vein directing "On a Dead Man's Chest" episode of HBO's "Tales From the Crypt"

1990

Returned to horror with "The Guardian"; also co-scripted

1987

Helmed "Rampage," a film which dealt with the death penalty and the complexity of the insanity plea; release delayed when De Laurentis Entertainment went bankrupt (released in 1992)

1986

Returned to TV to direct Barbra Streisand's HBO special, "Putting It Together--The Making of 'The Broadway Album'"

1986

Executive produced, created and directed the NBC pilot "C.A.T. Squad" and its 1988 TV-movie sequel

1985

Helmed and co-scripted "To Live and Die in L.A."

1983

Attempted satire of international weapons merchants in "Deal of the Century", starring Chevy Chase

1980

Directed and penned first screenplay, "Cruising"; film sparked controversy over its depiction of the gay community in NYC

1978

Helmed comic period piece, "The Brink's Job", about the infamous 1950 Boston heist

1977

Suffered career setback with the box-office failure of "Sorcerer", a remake of Henri-Georges Clouzot's "The Wages of Fear"

1973

Formed the Directors Company, a partnership with Peter Bogdanovich and Francis Ford Coppola; split after one year

1973

Had box-office hit with screen version of "The Exorcist"

1970

Won the Best Director Oscar for "The French Connection"

1969

Helmed "The Boys in the Band", adapted from the Mart Crowley play

1968

Filmed a somewhat static feature adaptation of Harold Pinter's stage play "The Birthday Party"

1968

Directed "The Night They Raided Minsky's," an affectionate look at burlesque; production was slightly hampered by death of co-star Bert Lahr during filming

1967

Directed first feature, "Good Times", starring Sonny and Cher

1965

Hired to direct episodes of NBC's "Alfred Hitchcok Presents", including the final broadcast

1965

Moved to Los Angeles

1962

Helmed first TV-movie, "The People vs. Paul Crump," a 16mm documentary

Began career in mailroom of WGN-TV, Chicago; eventually moved up to director

Bonus Trivia

.

Although it never aired on the small screen, Friedkin's first TV film, "The People vs. Crump", was instrumental in saving the life of its subject, a man who had spent several years on death row.

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