Aug. 29th, 1935
Chicago, Illinois, USA
William Friedkin's Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles2003 - A Decade Under the Influence
1998 - Without Limits
Friedkin's mother was an operating room nurse. His father was a merchant seaman, semi-pro softball player and ultimately sold clothes in a men's discount chain. He never earned more than $50/week in his whole life and died indigent. Friedkin became infatuated with Orson Welles after seeing Citizen Kane (1941). He went to work for WGN TV immediately after graduating from high school where he started making documentaries, one of which won the Golden Gate Award at the 1962 San Francisco film festival. In 1965, he moved to Hollywood and immediately started directing TV shows, including an episode of the "The Alfred Hitchcock Hour" (1962). Hitchcock chastised him for not wearing a tie.
- After _The Exorcist (1973)_ (qv), he was planning on making a film about Aliens and Atlantis. But, after _Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)_ (qv) went into production, he abandoned the film and made _Sorcerer (1977)_ (qv), instead.
- While on his first directing assignment for _"The Alfred Hitchcock Hour" (1962)_ (qv), he was reprimanded by 'Alfred Hitchcock (I)' (qv) for not wearing a tie.
- His video for 'Laura Branigan' (qv)'s song "self control" has never been shown in its entirety on MTV. Friedkin's uncut version features a brief shot of a female breast.
- Has two sons: Jack with 'Lesley-Anne Down' (qv) and Cedric with Australian dancer 'Jennifer Nairn-Smith' (qv).
- In "Hollywood Animal: A Memoir," 'Joe Eszterhas' (qv) claims that Friedkin's wife 'Sherry Lansing' (qv), the boss of Paramount Pictures' Motion Picture Group, made him issue a statement that he supported Paramount's hiring of Friedkin as director for his _Jade (1995)_ (qv) script. In truth, Eszterhas did not want the former Oscar-winner, whom he considered a washed-up has-been, to direct the picture, but deferred to Lansing's wishes.
- Began his career in the mail-room of WGN-TV in Chicago. Within two years, he was directing live television.
- Was going to work with 'Peter Gabriel' (qv) on a film project, but Gabriel was caught up with work with his former band 'Genesis (I)' (qv) on the album "The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway". The project was called off.
- Was offered the chance to direct _The Exorcist (1973)_ (qv) by producer 'William Peter Blatty' (qv) after Blatty screened _The French Connection (1971)_ (qv). Warner Bros. had been pressuring him to use another director but after seeing the Friedkin's film, Blatty decided he wanted the film of his novel to be infused with as much energy as Friedkin had brought to "The French Connection".