William Peter Blatty, the novelist and Oscar-winning screenwriter known for legendary horror film The Exorcist and as director of The Exorcist III, has died at age 89.
The Exorcist director William Friedkin made the sad announcement on Twitter. Friedkin tweeted: "William Peter Blatty, dear friend and brother who created The Exorcist passed away yesterday."
William Peter Blatty, dear friend and brother who created The Exorcist passed away yesterday— William Friedkin (@WilliamFriedkin) January 13, 2017
After Blatty's 1970 novel titled The Exorcist was released, the book remained on the New York Times bestseller list for 57 weeks. He subsequently adapted the novel for the 1973 iconic film of the same title, according to Variety.
Not only was the film an enormous box office success, but also the movie received massively positive critical acclaim. The Exorcist became the first horror film to ever be nominated for best picture award, and garnered an Academy Award for Blatty's adapted screenplay.
The Library of Congress selected the film for preservation as part of the National Film Registry in 2010.
By the time Blatty penned The Exorcist, he was already a veteran screenwriter. He wrote the screenplays for a slew of Blake Edwards films such as the Pink Panther sequel A Shot in the Dark, and What Did You Do in the War, Daddy?.
Blatty's other writing credits include: the political comedy John Goldfarb, Please Come Home!, the rom-com flick Promise Her Anything, and comedy western The Great Bank Robbery.
In 1983, Blatty penned a sequel novel to The Exorcist titled Legion. The late screenwriter adapted the book into the film The Exorcist III, which he would direct and produce.
While the first Exorcist sequel, Exorcist II: The Heretic, was drubbed by critics, Blatty's Exorcist III received generally favorable reviews.
“This may sound like heresy, but ‘The Exorcist III’ is a better and funnier (intentionally) movie than either of its predecessors," Vincent Canby of The New York Times wrote about the film.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to William Peter Blatty's family and friends during this difficult time.