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William Peter Blatty (USA, b. 1928) was born in New York City, of Lebanese parents. After receiving his M.A. in English Literature (having won a Shakespeare Award for his Master's thesis) he joined the U.S. Air Force in 1951 and was stationed in Beirut. He debuted as a novelist with Which Way to Mecca, Jack? (1959), the title inspired by a Peter Arno cartoon. His screenplay The Man From the Diner's Club, made into a vehicle for Danny Kaye, established him as a leading Hollywood humorist. Blatty collaborated with director Blake Edwards in the 1960's on such films as What Did You Do in the War, Daddy? He is perhaps best known for the novel (1971) and screenplay (1973) of The Exorcist, which both as a movie and bestselling novel has inspired decades of supernatural thrillers.