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Honorary street name bestowed in Chicago for director William Friedkin

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CHICAGO (CBS) -- Screenwriter, director, and producer William Friedkin – a Chicago native – was commemorated with an honorary street name in the city on Monday.

Ridge Avenue at Ardmore Avenue, alongside the Nicholas Senn High School campus in Edgewater, now has a second name of William Friedkin Way. Friedkin was a Senn alum.

Ald. Leni Manaa-Hoppenworth's 48th Ward Office

Friedkin, who died last year at the age of 87, was best known for directing "The Exorcist" and "The French Connection" in the early 1970s. His widow, Sherry Lansing – a South Side native and the former chief executive officer of Paramount Pictures and 20th Century Fox – was present at the unveiling ceremony.

Friedkin started out working for WGN-TV Channel 9 after high school. He eventually began directing live television shows and documentaries, according to the office of Ald. Leni Manaa-Hoppenworth (48th).

An unveiling ceremony for an honorary street sign for director William Friedkin.   Ald. Leni Manaa-Hoppenworth's 48th Ward Office

Friedkin moved to Hollywood in 1965, and released his first feature film – "Good Times" with Sonny and Cher – in 1967, according to the alderman's office said. In 1971, Friedkin's "The French Connection" won five Academy Awards, including the awards for Best Picture and Best Director.

Next came "The Exorcist" in 1973, based on the bestselling novel by William Peter Blatty, which won 10 Oscars – including Best Picture and Best Director.

"The Sorcerer," The Brink's Job" "Cruising," "Deal of the Century," "To Live and Die in L.A.," "The Guardian," "Rules of Engagement," and "The Hunted," are among his many other credits.

In his 2013 memoir, "The Friedkin Connection," Friedkin wrote that he never thought of quitting. 

"It takes talent, imagination, and a feeling for the zeitgeist to find a subject that touches a nerve. What I still want from a film — or a play, a painting, a novel, a piece of music — is exhilaration," he wrote. "I want to be moved and surprised at some revelation about the human condition. I think about the love affair I've had with Cinema. Images or fragments pop into my consciousness like fireflies. When I'm able to capture their brief flash, they illuminate a dark corner of memory."

At the time of his passing last year, critic Matt Zoller Seitz wrote in Vulture that Chicago could be heard "loud and clear" when Friedkin spoke.

"He didn't come from money. His mother was a registered nurse. His father was a softball player, merchant seaman, and men's clothing salesman," Seitz wrote. "He attended Chicago public schools and was a strong enough high-school basketball player to consider pursuing it as a career (decades later, he directed one of the most cynical of all basketball movies, 'Blue Chips')."

An unveiling ceremony for an honorary street sign for director William Friedkin. Ald. Leni Manaa-Hoppenworth's 48th Ward Office

Friedkin and Lansing also gave to numerous Chicago charities, and Lansing gave $1 million to the University of Chicago Lab School theater program.

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