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  • Writer's pictureBy The Financial District

William Friedkin, Oscar-Winning Director, 87

William Friedkin, the generation-defining director who brought a visceral realism to 1970s hits “The French Connection” and “The Exorcist” and was quickly anointed one of Hollywood’s top directors when he was only in his 30s, has died.

Photo Insert: Friedkin, who won the best director Oscar for “The French Connection,” died Monday in Los Angeles.

He was 87, Lindsey Bahr reported for the Associated Press (AP).

Friedkin, who won the best director Oscar for “The French Connection,” died Monday in Los Angeles, Marcia Franklin, his executive assistant for 24 years, told The Associated Press on behalf of his family and wife, former studio head Sherry Lansing.

His son Cedric Friedkin told the AP he died after a long illness. “He was a role model to me and to (my brother) Jack,” Cedric Friedkin said.

“He was a massive inspiration.” He cemented his legacy early with “The French Connection,” which was based on a true story and deals with the efforts of maverick New York City police Detective James “Popeye” Doyle to track down Frenchman Alain Charnier, mastermind of a large drug pipeline funneling heroin into the US, Hillel Italie also reported for AP.

All the news: Business man in suit and tie smiling and reading a newspaper near the financial district.

The movie, which was made for only $2 million, became a box office hit when it was released in 1971. It won Academy Awards for best picture, screenplay and film editing, and led critics to hail Friedkin, then just 32, as a leading member of a new generation of filmmakers.

Health & lifestyle: Woman running and exercising over a bridge near the financial district.

He followed with an even bigger blockbuster, “The Exorcist,” released in 1973 and based on William Peter Blatty’s bestselling novel about a 12-year-old girl possessed by the devil, wrote the late Bob Thomas for a prepared obituary.

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