The Exorcist star Linda Blair pays tribute to director William Friedkin

The Exorcist star Linda Blair paid tribute to the film’s director William Friedkin, who has passed away at age 87

Yesterday, we had to share the sad news that director William Friedkin has passed away at the age of 87. While Friedkin made numerous popular films – The French Connection, Sorcerer, Cruising, and To Live and Die in L.A., among others – his most popular is probably the one that’s celebrating its 50th anniversary this year: The Exorcist (watch it HERE). And The Exorcist star Linda Blair has taken to social media to share a tribute to Friedkin.

Blair wrote, “Like Sidney Poitier‘s famous movie To Sir with Love, how do you put into words appreciation to the person that changed your life forever, along with the world? Billy Friedken was a game changer, thought outside the box, was a genius with an incredibly bold personality and extraordinary imagery that electrified colleagues and moviegoers alike and remained a true maverick throughout his career in the film industry.

Every actor wanted to work with him and maybe my story is the most poignant. Taking a real 13-year-old and confirming my stability to endure the journey he was about to take me and the world on. His directing came with demanding guidance, commitment and strict work ethic. His creative licensing with my performance, always thought provoking and precise with his “on point“ direction for my performance as Regan. Pushing envelopes with ground breaking special effects to ensure my performance was nothing less than shocking and unforgettable.

He fiercely protected me from the maddening crowds that reared their ugly heads back in the day of the movie’s release. He understood my need to remain grounded in nature, my love for animals, and giving me my first prize horse which I named “Best Director” in his honor. He supported my continued love for animals and my foundation Linda Blair Worldheart, to change the world for the animals.

He was my director, friend, and protector. It was an honor to know him and I am deeply saddened at this time. He changed my life forever, along with the world through my performance, and all my performances throughout my career.

RIP my dear friend… love, respect and deepest condolences to Sherry, Cedric and Jack.

Based on a novel by William Peter Blatty (pick up a copy HERE), who also wrote the screenplay, The Exorcist tells the following story: One of the most profitable horror movies ever made, this tale of an exorcism is based loosely on actual events. When young Regan starts acting odd — levitating, speaking in tongues — her worried mother seeks medical help, only to hit a dead end. A local priest, however, thinks the girl may be seized by the devil. The priest makes a request to perform an exorcism, and the church sends in an expert to help with the difficult job.

Blair was joined in the cast by Ellen Burstyn, Jason Miller, Max von Sydow, and Lee J. Cobb.

As part of the 50th anniversary celebration, The Exorcist will be getting a 4K release in September. Copies can be pre-ordered at THIS LINK.

Is The Exorcist your favorite William Friedkin film? If not, which is your favorite? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

Linda Blair’s tribute to William Friedkin can be found on Instagram.

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