Home / General News / William Peter Blatty Passes Away At 89-Years-Old

William Peter Blatty Passes Away At 89-Years-Old

… sigh.

This is truly a sad for for all of us fans of The Exorcist, and it’s one that’s not going to be forgotten — ever. It’s just one of those things that’s extremely hard to write about, and I know that the news has broken practically everywhere else, and by far more popular sources, so you likely already know about the passing of Bill Blatty, but I feel as if this post needs to be on CaptainHowdy. It’s just one of those things that need to be done — almost like a tribute — an homage — of the man responsible for all of this.

Unfortunately, as I said, this is extremely hard to write, and I’ve found myself drudging through this thing sentence-by-sentence, only to end up hitting the backspace key over-and-over. Even though this is an extremely sad day for all of us, I think it’s important that we celebrate the life of Blatty, and remember the gift he bestowed upon us in 1971.

The Exorcist - A Novel By William Peter Blatty

Blatty passed away yesterday, January 12th, 2017, at the age of 89. His wife, Julie Blatty, confirmed that it was caused by multiple myeloma.

A definition of multiple myeloma, which is classified as a rare disease:

The plasma cells are a type of white blood cell in the bone marrow. With this condition, a group of plasma cells becomes cancerous and multiplies. The disease can damage the bones, immune system, kidneys, and red blood cell count. Symptoms may not be present or may be non-specific, such as loss of appetite, bone pain, and fever. Treatments include medications, chemotherapy, corticosteroids, radiation, or a stem-cell transplant.

Source: Mayo Clinic

As you can imagine, numerous high-profile accounts on Twitter are paying their respects to the legendary author:

And of course, Linda Blair has already posted numerous tweets in response to the news of his passing. Here is the first one she sent out:

Even though we’ve lost a legend, I want to give you all this; just so it will put a little smile on your face, and give you some insight into the type of man that William Peter Blatty was, as he shared this hilarious memory about a prank that he pulled on his friend:

William Peter Blatty remembers playing a scary prank on a friend of his.

I don’t care who you are; that story is going to put a smile on your face, and I think that’s important in these dire times.

With that being said, I offer up my respects. If it weren’t for that man, this site wouldn’t exist right now. And for that, I’m forever thankful.

You will be missed, William Peter Blatty, but the gift you’ve given to the world will ensure that you live on forever in the hearts of your fans around the world. I know you’ll certainly live on in my heart.

I’m going to finish this post with a quote from Blatty himself, when he explained the meaning of The Exorcist:

“That God exists and the universe itself will have a happy ending.” – William Peter Blatty

William Peter Blatty and William Friedkin during filming of The Exorcist.

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  • dave

    I too am deeply saddened by William Peter Blatty’s passing, he was more than just the author of “The Exorcist” although being his greatest work, he could never break away from it, and would be forever associated to it, and yet many of his other novels were equally brilliant, “Twinkle Twinkle killer Kane” which became the Ninth Configuration was arguably the first novel of his trilogy of faith, “The Exorcist” followed, and Legion completed the trilogy, Blatty was a masterful writer and story teller, one aspect is not sacrificed for the other, he had style to spare, and I am hard pressed to think of another writer who writes better dialogue, and character interactions, he was the whole and complete package, with great style, exquisite prose, and who possessed the ability to spin an entertaining yarn,

    I had just finished re-reading “the Exorcist 40th anniversary” edition, and I loved it as much as ever, this is the version Blatty wants to be remembered for, I was astonished by how completely perfect it is, it is a perfect literary work, I will be re-reading Legion, a brilliant true sequel to “The Exorcist” his later novel “Dimiter” (2010) was regarded as being as good as “the Exorcist” and spoken of in the same reverential tones, William Peter Blatty was a master of religious horror/thriller writing, never one to rely on gratuitous gore as many other horror writers tend to do, he builds tension, the scares genuinely creep up on you unexpectedly, the sense of foreboding in his novels is tangible, he is the Alfred Hitchcock of authors, where, what isn’t blatantly horrific is more horrifying, the unease, as you wait for something unexpected to happen,

    William Peter Blatty will be greatly missed as a genuine literary talent, not to mention his great talent as a film screenwriter, He left us his greatest literary and film masterpiece, “The Exorcist” and for that alone, we are forever grateful,

    Rest In Peace.

  • dave

    The comment below paying tribute to William Peter Blatty is from member known as “Forwearemany” this being myself “Dave” I am curious as to having logged into the site I had to sign into another source in order to submit my comments…..

    I was perusing the site and re-read a comment I posted some three years ago, entitled “Regan 50” where I explored how Regan would be as a fifty year old woman, having read it, I noticed how similar my thoughts were to how Regan is portrayed in the new mini series “The Exorcist” which has recently finished it’s run, she is married with family, but still experiences episodes or flashbacks of her possession, perhaps I missed a trick there, my idea has been lifted.

  • dave

    There are few in this world who can truly claim to have left something behind that becomes their own legacy, and something which leaves an indelible mark on the world, William Peter Blatty is one such person, he will be forever known for his literary masterpiece, “The Exorcist” of course he wrote many other fantastic novels, but they all carry the banner, from the best selling author of “the Exorcist” the novel and subsequent film, of which he wrote the screenplay, became entrenched into himself, he could not break away from it, not that he would want to, he wasn’t known as William Blatty the screenwriter, or author of any number of great novels, he was forever “The Exorcist guy” and he loved that, because he understood what he had created, many of his novels deal in the mystery of faith, and pose questions of what it is all about, however, only “The Exorcist” makes us question ourselves, our beliefs, and question the world beyond this life, it makes us question our faith, what we believe in, and suspends that belief, with something so tangible that we accept it could be real, are there Demons, devils, and dark forces at work, weaving into our very lives, looking at the world in it’s current state, one could only answer, more than likely, the horrors that fill news headlines on an almost daily basis, has their origins in the very dark forces that Blatty draws upon to tell his stories,

    Religion plays a large part in many of Blatty’s novels, and it is no surprise that many of the ills that beset this world have their foundations in religious fanaticism, Blatty understood how differing religions worked against each other, his character Regan McNeil, an all American god fearing child, was exposed to something beyond her comprehension via her dabbling with an Ouija board, and then targetted by a most foul and malevolent evil, something almost unthinkable in modern day Washington DC, it is that thought which gave the Exorcist it’s raw power, that such an ancient entity could invade their lives, and make them question the power of their own god, if one of his children could be affected in such a way, it is that thought, aside from the visceral onslaught within the film that makes us question ourselves, the scene edited out of the final theatre release, where Merrin and Karras are asking the question, answers that very theme, “Why this child” to make us feel weak, to question our humanity, and suspend our belief, and what we are prepared to believe in.

    William Peter Blatty didn’t leave us a mere horror story, he left us a question about religion, faith, and humanity, and made us ask questions of our faith and ourselves, whilst stretching the bounds of belief and comprehension, to this day, his greatest work is subject to much debate, from horror fans, film fans, and people from the higher religious echelons, who despite being loathe to admit it, still debate what Blatty called, the mystery of faith.

  • Jake O

    William Peter Blatty did not write that anecdote on pranking his friend.
    That comes from Dave Trott’s 2010 book ‘Creative Mischief.’