William Peter Blatty
Although best known as the author of "The Exorcist," the best-selling 1971 novel about a teenage girl's demonic possession which opened the door for a new generation of horrormeisters like Stephen King and Peter Straub, William Peter Blatty actually focused on writing comedy early in his career. All of his work prior to "The Exorcist" was in that genre, beginning with his 1960 novel, Which Way to Mecca, Jack?." His first screenplay credit came for "The Man From the Diner's Club" (1963), and he was working on a script ("What Did You Do in the War, Daddy" 1966) for director Blake Edwards when Edwards replaced the original director of "A Shot in the Dark" (1964), in production as a drama based on the successful play by Harry Kurnitz. Together Edwards and Blatty turned it into a gaspingly hilarious farce, reviving Inspector Clouseau (Peter Sellers) from "The Pink Panther" (1964) as the film's lead. The funniest of the Clouseau comedies, it was one of four collaborations between Blatty and Edwards, ending with "Darling Lili" (1970).