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William Peter Blatty

  • Birthplace: New York City, New York
  • Birthday: January 07
Date of passing: 
January 12, 2017

Obituary

Obituary: 

William Peter Blatty was a writer who was best known as the author of the best-selling horror novel The Exorcist, a literary phenomenon that spawned a massively successful film, as well as sequels and television programs. 

The harrowing story of a 12-year-old girl possessed by the Devil, The Exorcist was published in 1971 and sold more than 13 million copies. The film, released in 1973, became the highest-grossing film to date for Warner Bros. studios and earned Blatty an Oscar for his adapted screenplay. Ironically, prior to penning The Exorcist, he was known for his comedic writing.

William Peter Blatty was a writer who was best known as the author of the best-selling horror novel The Exorcist, a literary phenomenon that spawned a massively successful film, as well as sequels and television programs. 

The harrowing story of a 12-year-old girl possessed by the Devil, The Exorcist was published in 1971 and sold more than 13 million copies. The film, released in 1973, became the highest-grossing film to date for Warner Bros. studios and earned Blatty an Oscar for his adapted screenplay. Ironically, prior to penning The Exorcist, he was known for his comedic writing.

Blatty grew up in New York City, graduated from Georgetown University and served in the Air Force before embarking on a career in public relations. After winning $10,000 on the game show You Bet Your Life, he was able to quit his job to devote himself to writing.

With director Blake Edwards, he co-wrote the 1963 film A Shot in the Dark, a farcical sequel to The Pink Panther. The same year, he published the comedic novel, John Goldfarb, Please Come Home!, which he adapted for the screen in 1965.

His other pre-Exorcist film credits included What Did You Do in the War, Daddy?Darling LiliThe Great Bank Robbery and Gunn.

After the enormous success of The Exorcist, Blatty shifted from comedy to more serious novels and memoirs. They included I’ll Tell Them I Remember You, The Ninth Configuration, Legion and Finding Peter.

In addition, he appeared on many TV talk shows, and he wrote episodes of the religious-themed series Insight; in 2016, the Fox network aired a miniseries based on The Exorcist.

Blatty died on January 12, 2017, in Bethesda, Maryland. He was 89.

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William Peter Blatty

William Peter Blatty

Photo credit: 
Associated Press

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