- Got his start in the entertainment industry working in the mail room of a Chicago TV station, where he quickly rose through the ranks to the role of director.
- Made his feature-film debut in 1967 with the Sonny and Cher musical spoof Good Times.
- Rose to fame with two back-to-back, Oscar-winning smashes, The French Connection (1971) and The Exorcist (1973).
- Formed the Directors Company with Peter Bogdanovich and Francis Ford Coppola in 1973; the partnership lasted just one year.
- Staged his first opera, Alban Berg's Wozzeck, in 1998 in Florence, Italy.
- 1971, Oscar — Best Achievement in Directing: Winner
- 1974, Golden Globe — Best Director - Motion Picture: Winner
- 1972, Golden Globe — Best Director - Motion Picture: Winner
- 1973, Oscar — Best Achievement in Directing: Nominee
- 1998, Emmy — Outstanding Directing for a Miniseries or a Movie: Nominee
- 2013, Venice Film Festival — Lifetime Achievement: Winner
- 1973, Directors Guild of America Awards — Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film: Nominee
- 1973, BAFTA Film Awards — Best Direction: Nominee
- 1971, Directors Guild of America Awards — Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film: Winner
- 2016, Robert Awards — Honorary Robert: Winner
- Jennifer Nairn-Smith — Ex-fiancée
- Jack Friedkin — Son
- Frances FitzGerald — Ex-significant Other
- Lesley-Anne Down — Ex-wife
- Kelly Lange — Ex-wife
- Louis Friedkin — Father
- Cedric Friedkin — Son
- Sherry Lansing — Wife
- Jeanne Moreau — Ex-wife
- Kitty Hawks — Ex-fiancée
- Rae Friedkin — Mother
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