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WILLIAM FRIEDKIN (Director), at 16, began working in the mailroom of a local TV station in his native Chicago, and within months had worked his way up to floor manager in live television. In less than a year, he was directing 8 to 10 live broadcasts a day, and not long thereafter, was handling network dramas and musical shows. Friedkin's most formative experience as a filmmaker nevertheless remains his work in documentaries, primarily for producer David Wolper in the late 1960s.

After working on such films as Sonny & Cher's "Good Times" (1968), "The Night They Raided Minsky's" (1968). Harold Pinter's "The Birthday Party" (1969) and "The Boys in the Band" (1970), Friedkin directed his critical breakout film, "The French Connection" (1971), for which he won an Academy Award. and a Golden Globe for Best Director.

Friedkin's next film. "The Exorcist" (1973), set the seal for his place as one of the leading talents of his generation. He followed with "Sorcerer" (1977)' which over the past quarter-century has won a devoted cult following. after which he made the critically acclaimed "The Brinks Job" (1979). "Cruising" (1980). "Deal of the Century" (1983), "To Live and Die in L.A." (1985) and "Rampage" (1987), which he wrote and directed.

In 1990, he returned to the horror genre with "The Guardian" and later, in 1994, he directed the sports film "Blue Chips," followed by the erotic thriller "Jade," in 1995. His Showtime/MGM remake of "12 Angry Men" (1997) was nominated (or six Emmys, and in 1998, he made his debut as a director of opera, with Alan Benz's "Wozzek" in Florence, Italy, with Zubin Mehta conducting.

He most recently directed the Los Angeles Opera Company production of Bela Bartok's "Duke Bluebeard's Castle" and Giacomo Puccini's "Gianni Schicehi." These productions will travel to Japan and to the Kennedy Center in 2006. In 2004, he will direct Richard Wagner's "Tannhauser" for the Los Angeles Opera.


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