‘The Exorcist’ author William Peter Blatty dies at 89
Stephen King writes: ‘RIP William Peter Blatty, who wrote great horror novel of our time’
Picture dated October 29th, 2013, shows US author and screenwriter of The Exorcist, William Peter Blatty, in the Georgetown neighbourhood of Washington DC, USA. File photograph: Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA
Writer Stephen King has led tributes to the author of The Exorcist William Peter Blatty, who has died aged 89.
The writer and filmmaker’s death was announced on Twitter on Friday by The Exorcist director William Friedkin, although Blatty died on Thursday.
Blatty’s widow, Julie, said her husband died at a hospital in Maryland from a form of blood cancer called multiple myeloma, according to the Associated Press.
Best-selling horror author King wrote on Twitter: “RIP William Peter Blatty, who wrote the great horror novel of our time. So long, Old Bill.”
Friedkin’s message read: “William Peter Blatty, dear friend and brother who created The Exorcist, passed away yesterday.”
British director Edgar Wright, who made such films as Shaun Of The Dead and Hot Fuzz, paid tribute, writing: “Rest in peace William Peter Blatty, writer of both the peerless horror The Exorcist AND the funniest Clouseau film, A Shot In The Dark.”
Film critic Mark Kermode, a prominent Exorcist fan, posted a picture of Blatty along with the final line from the novel, “In forgetting, they were trying to remember.”
Blatty was a former Jesuit school valedictorian who conjured a tale of demonic possession and gave millions the fright of their lives with the best-selling novel The Exorcist.
As well as penning the novel, he also wrote the screenplay for the 1973 Oscar-winning horror film, hailed as one of the most notable in the genre’s history.
Blatty’s story of a 12-year-old-girl inhabited by a satanic force was published in 1971 and sold more than 10 million copies.
The film, starring Linda Blair, came out two years later and its box office takings topped $400 million worldwide.
He also wrote and directed one of the franchise’s sequels, The Exorcist III, in 1990.