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Friedkin, William


FRIEDKIN, WILLIAM (1935– ), U.S. director. Born in Chicago, Illinois, Friedkin never went to college, instead going to work at wgn tv in Chicago just after finishing high school. There he directed hundreds of live television shows and documentaries. He then moved up to network television, but only after ten years did Friedkin have the opportunity to direct a feature film, Good Times (1967), with Sonny and Cher. He swiftly advanced to major motion pictures with The Night They Raided Minsky's (1968), and then directed a number of successful, critically acclaimed films, including The Boys in the Band (1970), a landmark film that introcuded gay life to a mainstream audience. He directed The French Connection (1971), which won five academy awards, including Best Picture and Best Director. Friedkin, then 32 years old, became the youngest person to win the Oscar for directing. Friedkin followed up this triumph with The Exorcist (1973), revolutionizing the horror genre. His other films include Sorcerer (1977), The Brink's Job (1978), Cruising (1980), To Live and Die in L.A. (1985), The Guardian (1990), Blue Chips (1994), Jade (1995), Rules of Engagement (2000), and The Hunted (2003). In 1998 he was nominated for an Emmy award for Outstanding Direction for the tv movie adaptation of 12 Angry Men. Friedkin was married to actresses Jeanne Moreau, Lesley-Anne Down, and Kelly Lange. In 1991 he married actress/producer Sherry *Lansing.

add. bibliography:

N. Segaloff, Hurricane Billy: The Stormy Life and Films of William Friedkin (1990); T. Clagett, William Friedkin: Films of Aberration, Obsession, and Reality (1990).

[Jonathan Licht /

Casey Schwartz (2nd ed.)]

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