William Peter Blatty

Active - 1958 - 2018  |   Born - Jan 7, 1928   |   Died - Jan 12, 2017   |   Genres - Comedy, Drama, Horror, Crime

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Biography by Hal Erickson

The son of Lebanese parents, New York-born writer William Peter Blatty entered the US Foreign service in the mid 1950s, headquartered in Beirut. Feeling that his creative urges were stifled by the edicts of diplomacy, Blatty began submitting witty magazine articles to such publications as The Saturday Evening Post. In 1958, he garnered a great deal of press coverage by posing as the son of Saudi Arabian King Saud, whereupon he was given the red-carpet treatment by Hollywood. When the ruse was revealed, Blatty was congratulated rather than condemned for his trickey, which encouraged him to continue writing and to briefly pursue an acting career (during this period he also popped up as a contestant on the Groucho Marx TVer You Bet Your Life). After serving on the publicity department of University of Southern California, Blatty published his first novel in 1959; four years later he completed his first movie script for the Danny Kaye comedy The Man From the Diner's Club. In 1970, Blatty came out with his biggest literary hit, The Exorcist, which he subsequently adapted into a 1973 movie blockbuster. He also directed a brace of films, both adapted from his own novels: The Ninth Configuration (based on Twinkle Twinkle Killer Kane), and The Exorcist III (based on Legion). Blatty died in 2017, just days after his 89th birthday.

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