William Peter Blatty

William Peter Blatty

Highest Rated: 94% A Shot in the Dark (1964)

Lowest Rated: 10% Exorcist: The Beginning (2004)

Birthday: Jan 7, 1928

Birthplace: New York, New York, USA

Although best known as the author of The Exorcist, the best-selling 1971 novel about a teenage girl's demonic possession which opened the door for a new generation of horrormeisters like Stephen King and Peter Straub, William Peter Blatty actually focused on writing comedy early in his career. All of his work prior to "The Exorcist" was in that genre, beginning with his 1960 novel, Which Way to Mecca, Jack?. His first screenplay credit came for "The Man From the Diner's Club" (1963), and he was working on a script for "What Did You Do in the War, Daddy" (1966) for director Blake Edwards when Edwards replaced the original director of "A Shot in the Dark" (1964), in production as a drama based on the successful play by Harry Kurnitz. Together Edwards and Blatty turned it into a farce, reviving Inspector Clouseau (Peter Sellers) from "The Pink Panther" (1964) as the film's lead. It was one of four collaborations between Blatty and Edwards, ending with "Darling Lili" (1970). Blatty became interested in exorcism while a junior at Georgetown University, following 1949 newspaper coverage of a reportedly possessed 14-year-old boy. After a 20-year gestation period, this seed became The Exorcist, and the writer successfully adapted (and produced) the sensational 1973 screen version directed by William Friedkin, winning both the Golden Globe and the Oscar for his screenplay. Blatty returned to comedy for his directorial debut, adapting material from two novels for "Twinkle, Twinkle, 'Killer' Kane/The Ninth Configuration" (1980), a tale set in a US government asylum where the new head shrink (Stacy Keach) is nuttier than the patients. Its dialogue helped earn Blatty his second Golden Globe Award for Best Screenplay. Though he had nothing to do with "Exorcist II: The Heretic" (1977), he wrote and directed "William Peter Blatty's 'The Exorcist III'" (1990), based on his 1983 novel Legion. Blatty published two other novels, Dimiter (2010) and Crazy (2010), and published a new edition of The Exorcist, which he described as the version he would have originally published if he'd had the time to do a second draft. William Peter Blatty died of multiple myeloma on January 12, 2017. He was 89 years old.

Photos

Filmography

Movies

Credit
10% 27% Exorcist: The Beginning Writer $41.8M 2004
59% 56% The Exorcist III Director $25.0M 1990
77% 76% The Ninth Configuration Director,
Writer,
Producer
- 1980
83% 87% The Exorcist Producer,
Screenwriter
$441.4M 1973
No Score Yet 29% The Great Bank Robbery Screenwriter - 1969
50% 70% What Did You Do in the War, Daddy? Writer - 1966
No Score Yet 18% John Goldfarb, Please Come Home Screenwriter - 1965
94% 87% A Shot in the Dark Writer - 1964

TV

Credit
No Score Yet No Score Yet Johnny Carson Guest 1974