Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  William Friedkin  

Pen Name: None

Genre: C:ADULT Non-Fiction

Born: 1935 in Chicago, Illinois


Illinois Connection

Friedkin was born in Chicago, Illinois.

Biographical and Professional Information

Friedkin is the son of Rae (née Green) and Louis Friedkin, a semi-professional softball player, merchant seaman, and men's clothing salesman. His parents were Jewish immigrants from the Ukraine. After seeing the movie Citizen Kane as a boy, Friedkin became fascinated with movies. He began working for WGN-TV immediately after high school. He eventually started his directorial career doing live television shows and documentaries, including The People vs. Paul Crump which won several awards and contributed to the commutation of Crump's death sentence.In 1971, his The French Connection was released to wide critical acclaim. Shot in a gritty style more suited for documentaries than Hollywood features, the film won five Academy Awards, including an Academy Award for Best Picture and Best Director.

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