William Friedkin is an American movie and television director, producer, and screenwriter closely identified with the New Hollywood movement of the 1970s. Although he started his career in documentaries in the early 1960s, he is prominent for directing The French Connection. The action thriller movie won five Academy Awards.
William Friedkin wears several hats and has been known to display excellence in any of his craft. When he is not directing or producing, he is creating compelling stories. However, beyond his profession and career, he is an example of strength and has stood the test of time.
- Full name: William Friedkin
- Date of birth: 29th of August, 1935
- Age: 85 years old
- Father: Louis Friedkin
- Mother: Rae Friedkin
- Place of birth: Chicago, Illinois, USA
- Education: Senn High School
- Profession: Director, producer, and screenwriter
- Zodiac sign: Virgo
- Height: 6' (1.83 m) 1.83 metres
- Spouse: Sherry Lansing
- Ex-spouses: Jeanne Moreau (1977-1979), Lesley-Anne Down (1982-1985), and Kelly Lange (1987-1990)
- Children: Jackson and Cedric Friedkin
- Book: The Friedkin Connection: A Memoir
- Twitter: @WilliamFriedkin
- Net worth: $70 million
- Nationality: American
Friedkin is the son of Rachael and Louis Friedkin. Where was William Friedkin born? He was born in Chicago, Illinois. How old is Friedkin? The screenwriter and director is 85 years old but will celebrate his 86th birthday by August 2021. He was born on the 29th of August, 1935.
Friedkin's dad was a softball player, seaman trader, and men's clothing salesman. His mother, on the other hand, was a registered nurse. William's parents are Jewish emigrants from Ukraine. They and other relations fled Ukraine during a specific violent anti-Jewish pogrom in 1903.
William attended Senn High, where he played basketball well enough to be categorised as a professional.
Is William Friedkin religious? In one of William Friedkin's interviews, he revealed that he was raised as a Jew and came from a Jewish home, but he regards himself as an agnostic.
Who is William Friedkin's spouse?
The director of Sorcerer, William Friedkin, is currently married to former film executive Sherry Lansing. Before then, he had married three times. He was married to Jeanne Moreau in 1997, but their marriage lasted for only two years before they went their separate ways in 1979.
Later, William got married to Lesley-Anne Down in 1982 and divorced in 1985. He took a break for two years and then married Kelly Lange in 1987. However, they separated in 1990. A year after his separation from Kelly, he married Sherry Lansing.
William Friedkin career
Friedkin started working in Chicago as a teenager and directed numerous nationally broadcast documentaries. In 1967, he commenced film directing and directed Sonny and Cher's Good Times. Other movies he directed since the start of his career are as discussed below:
The Birthday Party and The Night They Raided Minsky's
William took on the widely viewed The Birthday Party, an adaptation of Harold Pinter's play in 1968. He also directed The Night They Raided Minsky's, a story about an innocent Amish girl who became a New York City dancer in the 1920s.
The Boys in the Band
Friedkin garnered positive reviews for The Boys in the Band, a contentious drama that presented a blunt look at homosexuality in 1970. It was adapted from Mart Crowley's play about gay men at a birthday party. The book was released in 1968.
The French Connection project
After Friedkin embarked on The French Connection project, he shot into the limelight and became a household name. The project was based on Robin Moore's bestseller book, which discussed two narcotics officers on the trail of international heroin dealers.
The film was a commercial success and was noted for many tense action sequences, including a climactic car chase under a high train. Due to this, Friedkin received an Academy Award for Directing, and the film also won four other Oscars in different categories, including Best Pictures and Best Actor.
Friedkin chose another best seller, William Peter Blatty's The Exorcist, for his next project. This was one of the horror movies he directed. It centred on a young girl believed to be possessed by the devil.
After it was released in 1983, it became one of the highest-grossing movies of all time and earned 10 Academy Award nominations, including one under the Best Director category.
After the resounding success of The French Connection and The Exorcist, Friedkin's career hit rock bottom. His next job, Sorcerer, took years to finish. This was because of the complicated and expensive filming location used in Central America's jungles. As a result, it was highly criticised and failed commercially.
The Brink's Job and Cruising
William Friedkin, Sorcerer's director, rebounded slightly with The Brink's Job in 1978, featuring Peter Falk, Peter Boyle, and Gena Rowlands.
His next film, Cruising, a thriller released in 1980, headlined Al Pacino as a sexually complicated cop who went undercover in New York City's gay subculture. Unfortunately, it was widely rejected and talked down on. As a result, he took a pause for three years.
Deal of the Century and To Live and Die in L.A
He came up with the comedy Deal of the Century in 1983 and starred Chevy Chase as an international arms dealer. To Live and Die in L.A, his next project, was a gritty drama about federal agents on the trail of a counterfeiting ring. The project was greatly praised, although he could not regain his reputation and stardom.
CAT Squad, CAT Squad: Python Wolf and Rampage
The Guardian and Blue Chips
In 1990, Friedkin released The Guardian, a supernatural movie. He also achieved success with the basketball drama Blue Chips. Released in 1994, the drama featured Nick Nolte and NBA star Shaquille O'Neal.
Other movies that he released after then include:
- 12 Angry Men (1997)
- Rules of Engagement (2000)
- The Hunted (2003)
- Bug (2006)
- The Devil and Father Amorth (2017)
Besides directing, William has also proved his writing skill by publishing a book titled The Friedkin Connection: A Memoir. He shared candid anecdotes about working with Gene Hackman, Sonny and Cher, and Al Pacino.
William also discussed the good and the bad times of his career.
How much is William Friedkin worth?
William Friedkin's net worth is estimated at $70 million. He made this much mainly from his earnings as a director, producer, and screenwriter. Part of it must have come from his book also.
William Friedkin moved from a lower-middle-class family to build fortune and fame for himself through consistency, hard work, and resilience. He did not give up even when his work received criticism and hit rock bottom.
Although they settled for divorce after getting married, few days to when Karen would sign the divorce papers, she died. Unfortunately, the businessman could not share in her fortune because he was not in her updated will.