On August 7, 2023, William Friedkin died of pneumonia. The director of classics like "The Exorcist" or "French Connection" was 87 years old. After his death, writers and directors bowed to the filmmaker.
"I am very saddened to hear of the death of the extremely talented director William Friedkin," wrote Stephen King (75) on X (formerly Twitter). "'The Exorcist' is great," continued horror authority King. Naturally, the writer included the 1971 shocker in his list of greatest horror films of all time in his book Danse Macabre.
But the "true classic" for Stephen King is "Breathless with Fear". Friedkin's 1977 remake of the French thriller The Days of Fear (1953) didn't initially garner the same attention as The Exorcist or The French Connection, but over the years it gained a reputation among movie buffs.
With John Carpenter (75), another horror expert spoke up on X. "Bill Friedkin was a brilliant director and a friend," wrote the "Halloween" creator. "I miss him in both. Rest in peace Bill".
Colleague director Francis Ford Coppola (84) mourns the "first friend" he had among his generation of filmmakers. "Billy's work is a true cinematic milestone, a list that will never be forgotten," the Godfather director said in a statement, citing Deadline.
Coppola highlights "The French Connection," "The Exorcist," and "Breathless with Fear," but: "Pull any film out of a hat and you'll be dazzled." Coppola also feels personally the death of the New Hollywood comrade-in-arms as a loss: "Behind his endearing, short-tempered personality was a wonderful, brilliant, deeply feeling giant of a man. It is very difficult to understand that I will never enjoy his company again will, but his work will at least stand up for him."