Skip to content

Photo: Sylvain Lefevre/Getty Images

Update: Francis Ford Coppola issued a statement about his “first friend among filmmakers” William Friedkin. ““His accomplishments in Cinema are extraordinary and unique. He is the only colleague I knew whose work actually saved a man’s life (The People vs. Paul Crump),” he said on Instagram. “Billy’s work represents true milestones in Cinema, a list which will never be forgotten; certainly The French Connection, The Exorcist and Sorcerer, but all of his films are alive with his genius. Pick any of them out of a hat and you’ll be dazzled. His lovable, irascible personality was cover for a beautiful, brilliant, deep-feeling giant of a man. It’s very hard to grasp that I will never enjoy his company again, but his work will at least stand in for him.”

Original story follows.

William Friedkin, the director of such films as The Exorcist and Cruising, died this week. News of his death broke August 7, prompting a wave of tributes on social media. Friedkin was remembered for his maverick nature, his dedication to film, and his candor during commentaries and interviews. A snippet of an interview he had with Movieweb about the physical shelf life of DVD’s was widely circulated, the pullquote being “Fuck him [Oliver Stone] and Alexander.” Guillermo Del Toro shared a story of Friedkin on the set of his final film, The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial: “He was precise, eloquent and so full of energy that it was almost daunting to see. Everyone on that set gave him their all. He would run long takes and produce drama beautifully.” And Natasha Lyonne shared a copy of the script to an unmade Mae West biopic that would have starred Bette Midler. Below are more tributes to William Friedkin — from folks like Stephen King, The Simpsons’ Mike Reiss, and Oppenheimer’s James Urbaniak.