William Peter Blatty, best known as author and screenwriter of The Exorcist, has died at 89, according to an obituary by The Hollywood Reporter.
Blatty’s death was disclosed by Exorcist director William Friedkin on Twitter.
Blatty won an Oscar for best adapted screenplay for The Exorcist. Prior to the 1971 novel and 1973 movie, Blatty was a collaborator with director Blake Edwards.
The two scripted 1964’s A Shot in the Dark, arguably the funniest of Peter Sellers’ Inspector Clouseau films, and 1967’s Gunn, a movie adaptation of the Peter Gunn series created by Edwards.
For the latter, Edwards and Blatty took the premise of the first Peter Gunn episode (a gangster who’s a friend of Gunn’s is murdered) and expanded it. One of the movie’s inside jokes was having composer Henry Manchini playing a piano at a bordello. The movie retained Craig Stevens as Peter Gunn while recasting supporting roles.
Here’s Friedkin’s post on Twitter:
William Peter Blatty, dear friend and brother who created The Exorcist passed away yesterday
— William Friedkin (@WilliamFriedkin) January 13, 2017
Author Stephen King also wrote a tribute:
RIP William Peter Blatty, who wrote the great horror novel of our time. So long, Old Bill.
— Stephen King (@StephenKing) January 13, 2017