Published: Sat, January 14, 2017
Culture | By Kelly Harrison

William Peter Blatty, writer of 'The Exorcist,' dead at 89

William Peter Blatty, writer of 'The Exorcist,' dead at 89

William Peter Blatty, the author who penned the novel that inspired horror film classic "The Exorcist", has died. His passing was announced by Blatty's friend, William Friedkin, the director of The Exorcist. The writer is survived by his wife, Julie Alicia Blatty, who confirmed to the Associated Press that the cause of death was multiple myeloma, a form of blood cancer.

Stars of "The Exorcist", Ellen Burstyn, second from left, and Linda Blair, second from right, join director William Friedkin, right, and writer-producer William Peter Blatty, left, at a special screening of the re-released Warner Bros. film with re-mastered sound and restored original footage, Thursday, Sept. 21, 2000, in Los Angeles.

Blatty continued writing into his later years, and while he was always better known for his horror thrillers, he also collaborated several times with Blake Edwards, and even co-wrote one of the funniest comedies of the 1960s, the Pink Panther sequel A Shot in the Dark.

Watching The Exorcist caused Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in a woman 40 years after viewing the film
Scene from The ExorcistWarner

The son of Lebanese immigrants, Blatty was born into poverty in NY and graduated from Georgetown University before earning his living as a door-to-door vacuum cleaner salesman. The film was nominated for Best Picture at the 1981 Golden Globe Awards, though lost out to On Golden Pond.

Blatty's started his career in Hollywood a million miles away from the terrors of The Exorcist, writing screenplays for films such as Gunn, Promise Her Anything and The Great Bank Robbery.

May he rest in peace.

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