The Exorcist Wiki
Father Joseph Dyer
Biographical Information
Gender Male
Born 1938 (novel)
1945 (film)
Died March 16, 1983 between 4:30 and 5:50 A.M. (novel)
1990 (film)
Affiliation(s) Mother
Eddie (brother)
Title(s) Father
Portrayer(s) William O'Malley (The Exorcist)
Ed Flanders(The Exorcist III)

Father Joseph Kevin Dyer, S.J. is a character in The Exorcist and The Exorcist III. He is portrayed by real-life Jesuit priest William O'Malley in The Exorcist and by actor Ed Flanders in The Exorcist III.


Joseph Kevin Dyer is the University President's assistant at Georgetown University. He is good friends with Damien Karras, a fellow Jesuit priest and psychiatrist. He meets actress Chris MacNeil for the first time on April 23, 1971 at a wrap party thrown by her, where he's seen chatting with her and astronaut Capt. Billy Cutshaw, the latter of which he made a joke about wanting to go to space with him as the first missionary on Mars. He jokes that he's trying to fix it up for someone named Emory, the campus disciplinarian, who likes things quiet. Chris inquired about Karras and he explained to her about the death of his fellow priest's mother, who was living by herself. After a brief drunken fight between Burke Dennings and Chris' manservant, Karl, Dyer and the rest of the party goers are singing a song with Dyer at the piano, playing. While they were singing along to "Down on 33rd and 3rd", Regan came downstairs, much to the surprise of the guests. Dyer was the first to notice and informed the others. Regan specifically tells Cutshaw that he is gonna die in space, before she urinates all over the floor.

Dyer steals a bottle of Chivas Regal scotch from the University President, which he brings to a depressed Karras in his room at the Jesuit Residence Hall as he tries to console him about his mother's death, assuring him that it's not his fault. Karras tells Dyer about his loss of faith. Dyer tells Karras about the party, but not about Regan. Later on, Dyer visits Karras again to make sure he talked to Chris. Dyer talks about quitting the priesthood and writing a screenplay. He goes to get the keys to the Language Lab from the janitor so that Karras can listen to the tape of Regan talking to her father. Dyer also nicknames himself "the Lemon Drop Kid" because he became addicted to lemon drops after listening to children's confessions.

On May 16, 1971 (novel) or October 9, 1975 (film), Sharon Spencer went over to the Jesuit Residence Hall to get Dyer and tell him about Karras, who is dying after jumping out of a window in an effort to save Regan from Pazuzu. Dyer tells the phone operator to call Georgetown Hospital to get an ambulance. He rushes to The Stairs, where he personally gives Karras the Last Rites while fighting back tears, just before he dies. Dyer closes his friend's eyes and the ambulance intern tells Dyer not to come with.

After Karras' funeral, Dyer walks Chris to her car. She invites him over to the MacNeil Residence, but he refuses. He tells her that when a Jesuit passes away, they have a feast because it's like a beginning for them and they celebrate.

On June 27, 1971, as he said goodbye to Chris, Regan was introduced to Dyer. While it has been established that Regan remembers nothing from her possession, upon seeing Dyer's white Roman collar, she compellingly kisses him on the cheek before she leaves. Chris offers to give Dyer Karras' St. Joseph medal, but he suggests that she keep it. Kinderman, who was a friend of Karras', arrives to say goodbye to Chris and Regan, but Dyer tells him that they just left. Kinderman invites Dyer to see Wuthering Heights at the Crest, but Dyer, like Karras, tells Kinderman, "I've seen it." Kinderman then invites Dyer to lunch instead. Kinderman quotes Casablanca and says, "'Louie - I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.'" They walk away and Dyer tells Kinderman that he looks like Bogart. [1]

Sometime after this, Dyer gets reassigned and ends up teaching religion at Georgetown University. He also becomes friends with the new University President, Father Riley, for many years. In 1981 (book) or 1988 (film), Dyer's mother passed away at the age of 93. The last thing she said to him was that he was a wonderful man.

On March 13, 1983, he put flowers on Karras' grave. That night, he goes with Kinderman to the Biograph Cinema on M Street to see The Maltese Falcon. Kinderman says that he's seen Dyer dip Twinkies in mustard before. Dyer reveals to Kinderman that his favorite film is It's a Wonderful Life, which he's seen 20 times (In the film, he says he's seen it 37 times) . Dyer decides to admit himself to Georgetown General Hospital because he has been having dizzy spells.

Two days later, Kinderman visits Dyer in room 404, part of Neurology at Georgetown General, where he is being treated by Dr. Vincent Amfortas. Kinderman brings Dyer White Tower hamburgers and a large teddy bear. Dyer reads a newspaper called Women's Wear Daily. He also has a coughing fit. Dyer finds a comic about a carp in Our Sunday Messenger and gives it to Kinderman. (Kinderman's mother-in-law, Shirley, is planning to cook carp and lets it swim in the bath tub for 3 days to get rid of the "impurities", which annoys Kinderman.) Even though it's Lent, Father Dyer eats anyway because he's sick. Kinderman doesn't want Dyer to know about Tom's death, but Dr. Amfortas already discussed it with him. Kinderman goes to get Dyer some books from the gift shop. When Kinderman comes back to give Dyer his gifts, Dyer tells him that he's had 7 transfusions since he left.

On March 16, 1983 (novel) or in 1990 (film), Dyer was found dead, a victim of the Gemini Killer. Media and newspeople kept crowding around Dyer's hospital room. Dr. Amfortas asked Sgt. Atkins if it was true about what happened to Dyer. (That same day, Amfortas wrote a letter to Dyer.) Nurse Amy Keating was the last one to see Dyer alive at 4:30 A.M. She said that Dyer wanted to say Mass, but she couldn't find any wine, so Dyer jokingly said to her, "You drank it all?". She found him dead at 5:50 A.M. Also, Dr. Amfortas went into Dyer's room. Father Riley asked to see Dyer's body, but Kinderman said no. They found 22 specimen jars full with almost all of Dyer's entire blood supply. On the wall behind the hospital bed, the Gemini Killer wrote the words "IT'S A WONDERFULL LIFE" in Dyer's blood.

The following day, March 17, 1983, Father Riley performed the service at Dyer's funeral at the Jesuit cemetary in Georgetown. Kinderman, parish priests from Holy Trinity, and the campus Jesuits attended the funeral. [2]



Dyer comes across as a kind, laidback, down to Earth type of priest. He tries his best to help out Karras when the latter is grieving. He likes to joke around with others, such as his conversation with the astronaut. He's also a very skilled piano player and believes his idea of Heaven being a nightclub with him as a headliner. However when tragedy strikes him he takes it the hardest. When Karras was found dying at the bottom of the steps, he tearfully gives his friend the Last Rites. He also seems concerned regarding Regan. As he asks Chris if she remembers anything regarding the Exorcism.

Notes and trivia[]

  • When Dyer visits Karras at the Jesuit Residence Hall, the people in the other room down the hall are playing poker. In this scene, "Tubular Bells" can also be heard playing in the background. [3]
  • According to the book William Peter Blatty on "The Exorcist": From Novel to Film, Dyer nicknamed Karras "Dims".
  • Blatty also revealed that when Dyer says "I've seen it" at the end of The Exorcist like Karras did, it suggested that "Karras lived on through Dyer".[4]
  • In The Exorcist novel, during the party scene, Dyer plays "'Till We Meet Again" and "I'll Bet You're Sorry Now, Tokyo Rose". According to William Peter Blatty on "The Exorcist": From Novel to Film, they sing "Home, Sweet Home" when Regan shows up. In the actual film, they sing "Down on 33rd and 3rd".[5]
  • According to William Peter Blatty on "The Exorcist": From Novel to Film, when Regan stares at Dyer's collar, even though she doesn't remember anything from her possession, she has some sort of distant, vague memory.


  1. Blatty, William Peter. The Exorcist. New York: Harper & Row. 1971. Print.
  2. Blatty, William Peter. Legion. New York: Macmillan, 01 Feb. 2011. eBook.
  3. "The Exorcist (1973) - Trivia", IMDb, 1990-2016. Retrieved 21 October 2016. Web.
  4. Blatty, William Peter. William Peter Blatty on "The Exorcist": From Novel to Film. New York: Macmillan, March 2015. eBook.
  5. "The Exorcist (1973) - Soundtracks", IMDb, 1990-2016. Retrieved 20 October 2016. Web.