William Peter Blatty, who wrote this famous horror novel in 1971, was adapted for the cinema two years after, with the same success. The son of poor migrant to New York, he has been in turn a salesman of vacuum cleaners, a specialist in psychological warfare and a journalist before turning towards writing and film.
the author of The horror novel The Exorcist, a true best seller when it was released in 1971 and was adapted for the cinema two years later, died Thursday at age 89 of a blood cancer, announced Friday that William Friedkin, director of the film, on Twitter. “William Peter Blatty, dear friend and brother who has created The Exorcist, died yesterday”, tweeted Friedkin.
The writer Stephen King, the pope of the horror novel, has quickly made a tribute to Blatty on Twitter: “Rest in peace, William Peter Blatty, who wrote the biggest horror novel of our time. One of these days, old Bill.”
William Blatty was born in New York on January 7, 1928, has acquired an international reputation through The Exorcist. In this book, a girl of 12 years old is possessed by a demon. The two priests then attempted to exorcise it. According to the publisher HarperCollins, the novel, inspired by real events that occurred in the 1940s, spent 57 weeks in the list of the best sales of the New York Times, of which 17 are consecutive in the lead. Very poorly received by the critics, it has been sold 13 million copies in the United States. It is now considered as one of the greatest novels of horror of all time.
Its adaptation on the big screen has been nominated for ten Oscars and won two in the final, including one for best screenplay for Blatty. She has also won four Golden Globes, including best dramatic film, best director and best screenwriter. With Linda Blair starring, the film has charmed the planet and triggered a global debate on the occult in the catholic Church. It has inspired generations of filmmakers of horror films. In 1990, he wrote the scenario and directed The Exorcist, the sequel, the third opus inspired by his book featuring a police officer who is investigating a series of murders.
the Son of lebanese immigrants raised in poverty in New York city, Blatty has a course atypical. A graduate of Georgetown university in the federal capital, Washington, he first earned his living by selling vacuum cleaners door-to-door. His career is then in all directions: it has been a specialist in psychological warfare in the US Air Force, director of public relations of Loyola university in Los Angeles and then a journalist before turning towards writing and the cinema. He is best known for The Exorcist, Blatty has written other novels and was rather specialized in the scenarios of comedy. To his credit, Promise Her Anything (1965) with Warren Beatty, What did you do in the war, daddy? (1966), or The biggest hold-up (1969). He has collaborated several times with director Blake Edwards, co-writing the sequel to the pink Panther, When the inspector gets tangled (1964) and Darling Lili with Julie Andrews and Rock Hudson.