William Friedkin, subject of a Cannes master-class this year, pictured here with his wife Sherry Lansing at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival Photo: Courtesy of Karlovy Vary International Film Festival
Born in Chicago to a Jewish Ukrainian immigrant family, Friedkin fell in love with Citizen Kane in his mid twenties and became entranced by the idea of filmmaking. He worked his way up through a TV studio, focusing on documentaries before firmly establishing his artistic credential with the first screen adaptation of Harold Pinter's The Birthday Party, followed in 1970 by The Boys In The Band.
Friedkin had a long and complicated career, in which he constantly pushed at the limits of what cinema was willing to take on. In 1980 he made Cruising with Al Pacino, taking on issues around homosexuality and homophobia in an age when these topics were pointedly excluded from most mainstream media. In 2006, his Bug, which provided a breakthrough role for Michael Shannon, invited viewers to empathise with a couple falling in love in a landscape of schizoid hallucinations. His 2011 film Killer Joe took on still more difficult territory, with an adolescent girl (played by Juno Temple) given as a hostage to a hitman during a murderous family insurance scam.
In 2014, Friedkin joined Eye For Film's Richard Mowe to reflect on his career and his passion for cinema.
The much admired director is remembered not only for his provocative choice of subjects but for his striking imagery and the skill with which he managed tension.
Friedkin is survived by Lansing and by his two sons, Cedric and Jack.