rancis Ford Coppola has remembered William Friedkin as “a huge man of deep feeling” and “my first friend among the filmmakers of my generation”.
The “Godfather” director said that Friedkin’s work “represents real milestones in cinema” and that all of his films are “alive with genius.”
Friedkin, the mastermind behind classic horror films The Exorcist and The French Connection, died Monday at his Los Angeles home of heart failure and pneumonia at the age of 87.
Fellow Hollywood directors and industry heavyweights including Guillermo del Toro, Ben Stiller and Eli Roth posted their appreciation following the news.
In a statement shared with the PA news agency, Coppola said: “William Friedkin was my first friend among the filmmakers of my generation and I mourn the loss of a beloved colleague.
“His achievements in cinema are extraordinary and unique. He’s the only colleague I knew whose work actually saved a man’s life (The People Vs Paul Crump)
“Billy’s works represent true cinematic milestones, a list never to be forgotten; certainly The French Connection, The Exorcist and Sorcerer, but all of his films testify to his genius.
William Friedkin was my first friend among the filmmakers of my generation and I mourn the loss of a beloved companion.
“Choose one of these and you will be amazed. His endearing, short-tempered personality was a cloak for a handsome, brilliant, and deep-thinking giant of a man.
“It is very difficult to believe that I will never enjoy his company again, but at least his work will represent him.”
Friedkin was identified with the so-called “New Hollywood” movement of the 1970s and rose to fame in 1971 with the action thriller “The French Connection,” which received numerous awards, including five Oscars.
Awards included Best Picture, Best Actor for Gene Hackman, and Best Director for Friedkin, among others.
He followed with an even bigger blockbuster, The Exorcist, based on William Peter Blatty’s bestseller about a 12-year-old girl possessed by the devil.
It also won the Academy Award for Best Screenplay and earned Friedkin another nomination for Best Director.
Actress Ellen Burstyn, who was nominated for an Oscar for her leading role in The Exorcist, described him as “undoubtedly a genius.”
“My friend Bill Friedkin was an original; smart, cultured, fearless and incredibly talented,” she said in a statement to the PA news agency.
Academy Award-winning director del Toro, who is behind films like Pan’s Labyrinth and The Shape Of Water, said, “The world has lost one of the gods of cinema.”
He added, “Cinema has lost a true scholar and I have lost a dear, faithful and true friend.” William Friedkin has left us. We were lucky to have him.”
Roth, best known for the horror films Cabin Fever (2002) and Hostel (2005), described Friedkin as “legend” and “one of a kind.”
Sharing a photo of them together on his Instagram, he wrote, “One of the most influential directors of all time and certainly changed the course of my life with The Exorcist.
“He was so incredibly kind and supportive the few times I was lucky enough to meet him.”
He also encouraged his followers to check out Friedkin’s 1977 thrillers Sorcerer and 1980s Cruising if they hadn’t already seen them.
Stiller, known for his career as a comedic actor and director, said Friedkin’s work is “truly iconic.”
“Creativity, humility and passion. I’m fortunate to have grown up in the era of his classic films and to have them embedded in my cinematic DNA,” he wrote.
Other industry figures praising Friedkin online included Star Wars star Mark Hamill, The Lord of the Rings star Elijah Wood and acclaimed horror author Stephen King.
Hamill wrote: “A master of cinema has passed. His legacy will last forever. Thank you, Mr. Friedkin.”
Wood praised Friedkin as a “true cinematic master whose influence will last forever”.
Alongside a black-and-white photo of the filmmaker on set, Wood added, “See you, William Friedkin.”
Friedkin’s latest project was an upcoming legal drama titled The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial, which is slated to premiere at the Venice International Film Festival in September.
Actor Kiefer Sutherland, who stars in the film, told PA that working with the director was “one of the great honors of my career”.
His other films include To Live And Die In LA, Rules Of Engagement and a TV remake of the classic play and Sidney Lumet film 12 Angry Men.
Friedkin has also directed episodes for television shows such as The Twilight Zone, Rebel Highway, and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.
He is survived by his wife, Sherry Lansing, and sons, Cedric and Jack.
https://www.standard.co.uk/news/uk/francis-ford-coppola-hollywood-los-angeles-elijah-wood-mark-hamill-b1099238.html Francis Ford Coppola praises William Friedkin as ‘a profound giant of a man’