20 Facts About William Friedkin


William Friedkin was born in Chicago, Illinois, the son of Rachael and Louis William Friedkin.

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William Friedkin's father was a semi-professional softball player, merchant seaman, and men's clothing salesman.

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William Friedkin's mother, whom Friedkin called "a saint", was an operating room registered nurse.

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William Friedkin's father was somewhat uninterested in making money, and the family was generally lower middle class while he was growing up.

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William Friedkin enrolled at Senn High School, where he played basketball well enough to consider turning professional.

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William Friedkin began going to movies as a teenager, and has cited Citizen Kane as one of his key influences.

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Several sources claim that William Friedkin saw this motion picture as a teenager, but William Friedkin himself says that he did not see the film until 1960, when he was 25 years old.

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William Friedkin began working in the mail room at WGN-TV immediately after high school.

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William Friedkin's efforts included The People vs Paul Crump, which won an award at the San Francisco International Film Festival and contributed to the commutation of Crump's death sentence.

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In 1965, William Friedkin moved to Hollywood and two years later released his first feature film, Good Times starring Sonny and Cher.

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Whereas Coppola directed The Conversation and Bogdanovich, the Henry James adaptation, Daisy Miller, William Friedkin abruptly left the company, which was closed by Paramount.

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William Friedkin considers it his finest film, and was personally devastated by its financial and critical failure .

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William Friedkin next directed the horror film The Guardian and then the thriller Jade, starring Linda Fiorentino.

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William Friedkin directed the 2007 film Bug due to a positive experience watching the stage version in 2004.

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William Friedkin was surprised to find that he was, metaphorically, on the same page as the playwright and felt that he could relate well to the story.

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In 2011, William Friedkin directed Killer Joe, a black comedy written by Tracy Letts based on Letts' play, and starring Matthew McConaughey, Emile Hirsch, Juno Temple, Gina Gershon, and Thomas Haden Church.

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In 2017, William Friedkin directed The Devil and Father Amorth, a documentary showing the ninth exorcism of an Italian woman in the village of Venafro.

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William Friedkin began a four-year relationship with Australian dancer and choreographer Jennifer Nairn-Smith in 1972.

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William Friedkin and his second wife, Lesley-Anne Down, had a son, Jack, born in 1982.

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William Friedkin was raised Jewish, but called himself an agnostic later in life.

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