William Blatty, 'Exorcist Author,' Dies at 89

14 January, 2017, 00:35 | Author: Evan Mason
  • William Blatty, 'Exorcist Author,' Dies at 89

William Peter Blatty, the author of the 1971 novel The Exorcist and writer of the subsequent film, has passed away at age 89. His passing was announced by Blatty's friend, William Friedkin, the director of The Exorcist.

The news was confirmed by William Friedkin, who directed the film version of Blatty's terrifying novel.

Blatty's widow, Julie Alicia Blatty, told the Associated Press that the writer died on Thursday at a hospital in Bethesda, Maryland. The book was an immediate hit, spending more than a year on the New York Times bestseller list, and moving more than 10 million copies throughout its print run. The cause of death was multiple myeloma, a form of blood cancer, she said. The film was nominated for Best Picture at the 1981 Golden Globe Awards, though lost out to On Golden Pond.

Blatty continued writing into his later years, and while he was always better known for his horror thrillers, he also collaborated several times with Blake Edwards, and even co-wrote one of the funniest comedies of the 1960s, the Pink Panther sequel A Shot in the Dark.

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Blatty returned to the "Exorcist" setting in "Legion", which he adapted into "The Exorcist III".

The son of Lebanese immigrants, Blatty was born into poverty in NY and graduated from Georgetown University before earning his living as a door-to-door vacuum cleaner salesman.

Working under the name Bill Blatty, he also penned scripts for films including The Great Bank Robbery, The Man from the Diners Club and Promise Her Anything.

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