William Friedkin

William Friedkin
Carlo Allegri / Getty Images


William Friedkin
Film: North side of the 6900 block of Hollywood Boulevard
Born Aug. 29, 1935 in Chicago, Ill.

The 1970s were very good to filmmaker William Friedkin thanks to directing two of the decade’s most successful and defining movies: 1971’s “The French Connection” (for which he earned Oscar, Golden Globe and DGA Awards for best director) and 1973’s “The Exorcist” (for which he received Oscar and DGA Award nominations and a Golden Globe win). He also helmed the 1970 screen adaptation of the landmark off-Broadway play “The Boys in the Band.”

Friedkin, who began his career in the 1960s directing TV documentaries and such features as Harold Pinter’s “The Birthday Party” and “The Night They Raided Minsky’s,” remained a powerful, even iconic director for a time but never again reached the heights he did in the early 1970s.

He followed that heady period with such underperforming films as “Sorcerer,” “The Brinks Job” and the controversial, widely reviled “Cruising,” which he also wrote.

The director went on to helm features including “Deal of the Century,” the well-regarded “To Live and Die in L.A.,” the long-delayed “Rampage” and “The Guardian,” “Blue Chips” and “Jade,” along with 1997’s Emmy and Golden Globe-winning TV remake of “12 Angry Men,” which earned Friedkin a DGA Award nomination.

During the 2000s, Friedkin directed the features “Rules of Engagement,” “The Hunted” and “Bug.” Most recently, he directed several episodes of the hit TV drama “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.”

Friedkin has been married four times. He and his first wife, Jeanne Moreau, married in 1977 and divorced in 1979. He married second wife, Lesley-Anne Down, in 1982 and they divorced in 1985. He and his third wife, Kelly Lange, were married from 1987 to 1990. He married Sherry Lansing, former Paramount Pictures chief, in 1991. He has two sons, Jack, with Down, and Cedric, with dancer Jennifer Nairn-Smith.

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    Academy Awards

    Year Category Work
    1971 Best Director The French Connection Win
    1973 Best Director The Exorcist Nomination

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