Burke Dennings
Biographical Information
Gender male
Born sometime between 1912 and 1921 (novel)
sometime between 1914 and 1923 (film)
Died April 28, 1971 at 7:05 pm (novel)[1]
1975 (film)
Portrayer(s) Jack MacGowran
Burke Dennings was a film director working on a film in Washington D.C. with Chris MacNeil. The film was wrapping up, as he shot the final scene at Georgetown University, which also happened to be where Damien Karras worked.



Burke Dennings was a well known film director. He had a good relation with Chris MacNeil, and it was hinted the two may have considered dating.


Dennings was seen drunk in Chris`s party causing trouble and insulting other guests, as well Chris' manservant Karl, who angrily remarked he was Swiss, not German, and had nothing to do with the Holocaust. Sometime later he was babysitting Regan. He is killed by Regan while possessed by Pazuzu, who uses superhuman strength to break Denning`s neck, turning his head completely around and throwing him from Regan`s bedroom window, his body then rolled on the steps linking M Street to Prospect Street. Police did not consider any suspects, rather they chalked up Burke's death as accidental. As Demmings had a reputation for alcohol abuse, it was surmised he had been drunk, fell out the window due to lack of perception, and the fall caused the distortion of his head. Chris MacNeil takes the death of her boss hard, but does not believe it was Burke's fault, realizing evil was at play. Pazuzu later uses his powers over Regan`s body to turn her head around ( without killing her) and asking to her mother, Chris, using Burke`s voice: "Do you know what she did?! Your c**ting daughter?!!!"

Behind the scenesEdit

  • He was played by Irish actor Jack MacGowran in one of his final film roles.
  • In the MAD magazine parody The Ecch or Cyst, he is given the name Burpp Lemmings. In the parody, his relationship is asked, and remarked by "Raven" (Regan) that "I may have two mommies!" His death in the parody is where it is remarked "Poor Burpp! He fell out the window, but I always told him, don't try to fly home in a fog!"
  • When Chris MacNeil (TV series) dies her death mirrors that of Burke Dennings in the original novel and film, although Burke never dies on screen.


  1. Blatty, William Peter.The Exorcist. New York: Harper & Row. 1971. Print.
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