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William Peter Blatty

William Peter Blatty

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Also Known As: Died:
Born: January 7, 1928 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: New York City, New York, USA Profession: screenwriter, novelist, producer, director, publicity director, truck driver, vacuum cleaner salesman, public relations director

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

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 ("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 gaspingly hilarious farce, reviving Inspector Clouseau (Peter Sellers) from "The Pink Panther" (1964) as the film's lead. The funniest of the Clouseau comedies, 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...

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 ("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 gaspingly hilarious farce, reviving Inspector Clouseau (Peter Sellers) from "The Pink Panther" (1964) as the film's lead. The funniest of the Clouseau comedies, 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), an uproarious, yet thought-provoking tale set in a US government asylum where the new head shrink (Stacy Keach) is nuttier than the patients. Its endlessly quotable dialogue helped earn Blatty his second Golden Globe Award (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". Not one to abandon a meal ticket, Blatty had been announced as executive produced and writer of yet another version of his most famous work ("The Exorcist"), this time as a TV miniseries but the project stalled in development.

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
  Exorcist III, The (1989) Director
2.

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Ninth Configuration, The (1980) Fromme
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Milestones close milestones

1950:
Sold Electrolux vacuum cleaners door-to-door and drove a beer truck for Gunther Brewing Company
1951:
Served in US Air Force
:
Editor, NEWS REVIEW, United States Information Agency in Beirut, Lebanon
:
Publicity director, University of Southern California in Los Angeles
:
Public relations director, Loyola University of Los Angeles
1960:
Published first novel, "Which Way to Mecca, Jack?"
1963:
First feature as screenwriter, "The Man From the Diner's Club"
1964:
Adapted his novel "John Goldfarb, Please Come Home!" for the screen
1964:
Co-wrote screenplay for "A Shot in the Dark" with director Blake Edwards; first of four collaborations
1970:
Fourth and last teaming with Edwards, "Darling Lili"
1973:
First film as producer (also wrote screenplay and story), "The Exorcist", based on his best-selling novel; won Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay
1979:
Feature directorial debut, "Twinkle, Twinkle, 'Killer' Kane/The Ninth Configuration"; also served as producer and screenwriter
1990:
Wrote and directed William Peter Blatty's "The Exorcist III"
2004:
Provided the source material for "Exorcist: The Beginning" directed by Renny Harlin
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Education

Georgetown University: - 1954

Notes

Blatty received an honorary degree (LHD) from Seattle University in 1974.

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Mary Margaret Rigard. Married on February 18, 1950; marriage annulled.
wife:
Elizabeth Gilman. Married in 1950; no longer married; mother of Blatty's three older children.
wife:
Linda Tuero. Professional tennis player. Maried on July 20, 1975; mother of Blatty's two younger children.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Peter Blatty. Carpenter.
mother:
Mary Blatty.
daughter:
Christine Ann Blatty. Mother, Elizabeth Gilman.
son:
Michael Peter Blatty. Mother, Elizabeth Gilman.
daughter:
Mary Joanne Blatty. Mother, Elizabeth Gilman.
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Bibliography close complete biography

"Which Way to Mecca, Jack?" Bernard Geiss Associates
"John Goldfarb, Please Come Home!" Doubleday
"I, Billy Shakespeare" Doubleday
"Twinkle, Twinkle, 'Killer' Kane" Doubleday
"The Exorcist" Harper & Row
"I'll Tell Them I Remember You" W.W. Norton & Co.
"William Peter Blatty on 'The Exorcist': From Novel to Film" Bantam Books
"The Ninth Configuration" Harper & Row
"Legion" Simon & Schuster
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