People & Arts: Movies, Books, Letters

Film director William Friedkin, author Gregory W. Beaubien, select correspondence: 2016–2019

May 18, 2024

WILLIAM FRIEDKIN—director of classic movies such as The French Connection, The Exorcist, and To Live and Die in L.A.—and Moresby Press editor GREGORY BEAUBIEN, author of the novel Shadows the Sizes of Cities, corresponded from 2016 to 2020, before the director fell ill. Friedkin died Aug. 7, 2023, at the age of 87. Published here for the first time is a selection of their correspondence.

Email from William Friedkin to Greg Beaubien, May 28, 2016

Please send the book, with a note.



Email from Greg Beaubien to William Friedkin, May 28, 2016

Dear Billy,

Thank you for your message. I will send you a copy of my novel and hope you like it. By the way, I enjoyed your memoir very much.

I live at Marine Drive and Gordon Terrace in Chicago, just a few blocks from your old neighborhood.

All best,

Greg Beaubien

Email from William Friedkin, May 28, 2016

Yes, I know that neighborhood well but I’m sure it’s changed...

What does your novel deal with?


Email from Greg Beaubien, May 28, 2016

Obsession, love, betrayal, revenge …


Letter to William Friedkin, June 8, 2016

Dear Billy,

As promised, here is a copy of my noir travel thriller Shadows the Sizes of Cities, which is set mostly in Morocco. I’ve long been an admirer of your work and hope you might connect with the book. Thank you for the opportunity to send you a copy.

Have a good summer.


Greg Beaubien

Email from William Friedkin, June 13, 2016

The book arrived. I will get to it when I can but busy now.


Twitter message from William Friedkin, May 12, 2017


Hey Greg...just got the Bulls basketball. Many, many Thanks

Email from Greg Beaubien, July 2, 2017

Hi Billy,

Happy 4th of July.

I saw the news that you’re making a documentary about Father Amorth. Congratulations. I assume you’re busy with that project, but there’s still no one in Hollywood who I’d rather have read my book than you. Who knows, maybe it’s a “gift from the movie god”?

Take care,


Email from William Friedkin, July 5, 2017

Dear Greg...

I’ve just finished my documentary, so I will start your book this weekend.

Look forward to it...

All best,


Email to William Friedkin, September 6, 2017


Did you get a chance to read my novel?



Email from William Friedkin, September 7, 2017

Dear Greg...

I sent you an email some time ago telling you how much I loved the book.


Email from Greg Beaubien, September 7, 2017

Billy, for some reason I never got that email.

If I come out to L.A., would you like to get together and talk? Maybe sometime the week of Sept. 18?

Thanks, pal!

All best,


Email from William Friedkin, September 11, 2017

Dear Greg,

I’m in Europe from mid-September to the first of November — Given my travel schedule I can’t commit to a date at this time.


Email from Greg Beaubien, April 21, 2019

Happy Easter, Billy. I hope all is well.

It was good to see you at the premiere of The Devil and Father Amorth in Washington, D.C. last April.

As ever,


Email from William Friedkin, April 21, 2019

The same to you Greg, and my best wishes,


Greg Beaubien and William Friedkin

Shadows the Sizes of Cities a novel - buy now


The Fateful Career of Film Director William Friedkin

William Friedkin


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