William Peter Blatty, author of the best selling book, "The Exorcist" died Thursday in Bethesda, MD at the age of 89. According to his wife, the cause of death was multiple myeloma.
Blatty's "The Exorcist" was published in 1971, sold thirteen million copies, and garnered him critical acclaim. He went on to write the screenplay for the 1973 film version of his novel by the same name, for which he won an Academy Award. The movie was a blockbuster hit, and the first horror film ever to be nominated for the best-picture Oscar.
Surprisingly, Blatty was already an established comedy writer in Hollywood prior to writing the famous tale of demonic possession. After the runaway success of The Exorcist, Blatty's career shifted from comedy to the genre of theological horror for good.
Blatty's legacy illuminates the timeless struggle between good and evil, and the message that, ultimately, good will prevail.
"It was essential to him, he told The Times-Picayune of New Orleans in 2000, that people understand the point of 'The Exorcist:
'That God exists and the universe itself will have a happy ending.'"
William Peter Blatty's Wikipedia bio:
William Peter Blatty (January 7, 1928 – January 12, 2017) was an American writer and filmmaker. The Exorcist, written in 1971, is his best known novel; he also wrote the screenplay for film adaptation, for which he won an Academy Award, and wrote and directed the sequel The Exorcist III.
His later works include the novels Elsewhere (2009), Dimiter (2010), and Crazy (2010). In 2013, Demons Five, Exorcist Nothing: A Fable (1996) and Dimiter (2010) were re-released as revised editions with new covers and interior artwork. Each were limited to 250 signed copies. The former had its subtitle changed from A Fable to A Hollywood Christmas Carol.
Blatty's projected publications included The Exorcist for the 21st Century, featuring "an original and never before published adaptation for a new miniseries of Blatty's classic novel", and a non-fiction book that is "part funny memoir and part proof of life after death", titled Finding Peter: A True Story of the Hand of Providence and Evidence of Life After Death.
He was also featured in the 2014 Smoke and Mirrors anthology, featuring the teleplay "Hell Hospital" and the treatment "Faith".