Billy Wilder
Austrian-born, Jewish-American journalist, screenwriter, film director, and producer
Billy Wilder
Billy Wilder was an Austro-Hungarian born American filmmaker, screenwriter, producer, artist, and journalist, whose career spanned more than 50 years and 60 films. He is regarded as one of the most brilliant and versatile filmmakers of Hollywood's golden age. Wilder is one of only five people who have won Academy Awards as producer, director, and writer for the same film. Wilder became a screenwriter in the late 1920s while living in Berlin.
Billy Wilder's personal information overview.
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Movie spotlight: The films of Billy Wilder - Minneapolis Star Tribune
Google News - over 5 years
Friday-Sunday: The US Postal Service is honoring the late Billy Wilder with a new stamp this week, but we've got a better way to express our admiration for the legendary director. Two of Wilder's best films are showing on local screens this weekend;
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'Great Film Directors' stamp series rounded out with Billy Wilder stamp -
Google News - over 5 years
Today, they announced that Billy Wilder will be the fourth director in the series. The Associated Press reports that the stamp will feature a drawn portrait of Wilder, accompanied by a scene from his classic 1959 comedy, Some Like It Hot with Marilyn ... - -
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Post office unveils movie stamps - Toronto Sun
Google News - over 5 years
The legendary filmmakers in question include John Ford, Frank Capra, John Huston and, just unveiled this week, Billy Wilder, accompanied by an artist's rendering of iconic images from their movies The Searchers, It Happened One Night,
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Postage guaranteed (III & IV) - Boston Globe (blog)
Google News - over 5 years
Having unveiled J ohn Ford and Frank Capra as the first two selections in its four-man Great Film Directors series, the US Postal Service has rounded out the quartet with Billy Wilder and John Huston. The Wilder stamp features Marilyn Monroe in the
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5 Things to Know in Murrieta Today: July 10 -
Google News - over 5 years
In this 1950s film directed by Billy Wilder, a hack screenwriter writes a screenplay for a former silent-film star who has faded into Hollywood obscurity. The show starts at 6:30 pm Admission begins at $8.50. 5.) Intensity All Star Gym hosts "Community
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Frolicking in Berlin and Outer Space - New York Times
Google News - over 5 years
“People on Sunday,” a Weimar-era silent using nonactors, had contributions by artists like Billy Wilder and Fred Zinneman. By DAVE KEHR Sybil Danning in “Battle Beyond the Stars,” which had James Cameron and John Sayles in its credits
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5 Funniest Workplace Comedies - ABC News
Google News - over 5 years
Choosing them was a dirty job but someone's gotta do it: — "The Apartment" (1960): My favorite Billy Wilder movie, it won five Oscars including best picture and best director. Sure, it's tinged with melancholy and longing, but the prevailing satire
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Around Town: Ian Birnie's swan song at LACMA and more - Los Angeles Times
Google News - over 5 years
UCLA Film & Television Archive celebrates Tracking the Cat: Robert Mitchum in the West beginning Friday at the Billy Wilder Theatre. The festival kicks off with 1947's "Pursued" directed by Raoul Walsh and 1948's "Blood on the Moon," directed by Robert
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Daughter attends 'Hot' screening -
Google News - over 5 years
The 1959 movie, directed by Billy Wilder, stars Curtis, Marilyn Monroe and Jack Lemmon. In the movie, Curtis — who famously imitates Cary Grant's accent — and Lemmon play jazz musicians who dress up as women to escape retribution after witnessing a
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Blu Room: SOME LIKE IT HOT Blu-Ray - Latino Review
Google News - over 5 years
Few films stand the test of time or even remain as humorous as Billy Wilder's 1959 comedy Some Like It Hot. The American Film Institute, named even Wilder's wise-cracking, gender-bending farce as the number one comedy
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Marilyn's windy night on Lex - New York Post
Google News - over 5 years
Mention Marilyn Monroe and the first thing that comes to mind is her skirt billow ing over her head as she stands over a subway grating in Billy Wilder's "The Seven Year Itch" (1955). If you have an itch to see that delightful comedy, it will screen
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Billy Wilder's Hall of Mirrors -
Google News - over 5 years
Legendary filmmaker Billy Wilder was born on this day in 1906. In commemoration, we take a look at the many real-life inspirations behind his greatest film, 1950's Sunset Boulevard. Part film noir, part horror movie, part self-reflexive critique of
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Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Billy Wilder
  • 2002
    Age 95
    Wilder died in 2002 of pneumonia at the age of 95 after battling health problems, including cancer, in Los Angeles and was interred in the Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in Westwood, Los Angeles near Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau.
    More Details Hide Details Marilyn Monroe's crypt is located in the same cemetery. Wilder died the same day as two other comedy legends: Milton Berle and Dudley Moore. The next day, French newspaper Le Monde titled its first-page obituary, "Billy Wilder dies. Nobody's perfect", quoting the final gag line in Some Like It Hot. Wilder holds a significant place in the history of Hollywood censorship for expanding the range of acceptable subject matter. He is responsible for two of the film noir era's most definitive films in Double Indemnity and Sunset Blvd. Along with Woody Allen and the Marx Brothers, he leads the list of films on the American Film Institute's list of 100 funniest American films with 5 films written and holds the honor of holding the top spot with Some Like it Hot. Also on the list are The Apartment and The Seven Year Itch which he directed, and Ball of Fire and Ninotchka which he co-wrote. The American Film Institute has ranked four of Wilder's films among their top 100 American films of the 20th century: Sunset Blvd. (no. 12), Some Like It Hot (no. 14), Double Indemnity (no. 38) and The Apartment (no. 93). For the tenth anniversary edition of their list, the AFI moved Sunset Blvd. to No. 16, Some Like it Hot to No. 22, Double Indemnity to No. 29 and The Apartment to No. 80.
  • 2000
    Age 93
    But its critical reputation grew prodigiously; in 2000, the American Film Institute selected it as the best American comedy ever made.
    More Details Hide Details In 2012, the British Film Institute decennial Sight and Sound poll of the world's film critics rated it as the 43rd best movie ever made, and the second-highest ranking comedy.
  • 1997
    Age 90
    Wilder's 12 Academy Award nominations for screenwriting were a record until 1997 when Woody Allen received a 13th nomination for Deconstructing Harry.
    More Details Hide Details Wilder received a total of twenty-one Academy Award nominations; eight for Best Director, twelve for writing, and one as the producer of Best Picture. With eight nominations for Academy Award for Best Director, Wilder is, together with Martin Scorsese, the second most nominated director in the history of the Academy Awards, behind William Wyler, and the second most nominated screenwriter behind Woody Allen. Wilder won a total of six Oscars: Best Director for The Lost Weekend and The Apartment, Best Screenplay for The Lost Weekend, Sunset Blvd. and The Apartment, and Best Picture for The Apartment. In addition, he received the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award in 1988.
  • 1993
    Age 86
    Spanish filmmaker Fernando Trueba said in his acceptance speech for the 1993 Best Non-English Speaking Film Oscar: "I would like to believe in God in order to thank him.
    More Details Hide Details But I just believe in Billy Wilder... so, thank you Mr. Wilder." According to Trueba, Wilder called him the day after and told him: "Fernando, it's God." French filmmaker Michel Hazanavicius also thanked Billy Wilder in the 2012 Best Picture Oscar acceptance speech for The Artist by saying "I would like to thank the following three people, I would like to thank Billy Wilder, I would like to thank Billy Wilder, and I would like to thank Billy Wilder."
    In 1993, art dealer Louis Stern, a longtime friend, helped organize an exhibition of Wilder's work at his Beverly Hills gallery.
    More Details Hide Details The exhibition was titled Billy Wilder's Marché aux Puces and the Variations on the Theme of Queen Nefertete segment was an unqualified crowd pleaser. This series featured busts of the ravishing Egyptian queen wrapped a la Christo or splattered a la Jackson Pollock or sporting a Campbell's soup can in homage to Warhol.
    In 1993, he was awarded the National Medal of Arts.
    More Details Hide Details He has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Wilder became well known for owning one of the finest and most extensive art collections in Hollywood, mainly collecting modern art. As he described it in the mid 80s, "It's a sickness. I don't know how to stop myself. Call it bulimia if you want – or curiosity or passion. I have some Impressionists, some Picassos from every period, some mobiles by Calder. I also collect tiny Japanese trees, glass paperweights and Chinese vases. Name an object and I collect it." Wilder's artistic ambitions led him to create a series of works all his own. By the early 90s, Wilder had amassed a beguiling assortment of plastic-artistic constructions, many of which were made in collaboration with artist Bruce Houston.
  • 1988
    Age 81
    In 1988, Wilder was awarded the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award.
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  • 1986
    Age 79
    Wilder was recognized with the AFI Life Achievement Award in 1986.
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  • 1970
    Age 63
    His 1970 film The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes was intended as a major roadshow release, but was heavily cut by the studio and has never been fully restored.
    More Details Hide Details Later films such as Fedora (1978) and Buddy Buddy (1981) failed to impress critics or the public. After that Wilder complained, futilely, that he was being discriminated against, due to his age. For whatever reason, the studios were unwilling to hire him. One "consolation" which Wilder had in his later years, besides his art collection (see "Later Life," below), was the Andrew Lloyd Webber stage musical version of Sunset Blvd.. Wilder's directorial choices reflected his belief in the primacy of writing. He avoided, especially in the second half of his career, the exuberant cinematography of Alfred Hitchcock and Orson Welles because, in Wilder's opinion, shots that called attention to themselves would distract the audience from the story. Wilder's pictures have tight plotting and memorable dialogue. Despite his conservative directorial style, his subject matter often pushed the boundaries of mainstream entertainment. Once a subject was chosen, he would begin to visualize in terms of specific artists. His belief was that no matter how talented the actor, none were without limitations and the end result would be better if you bent the script to their personality rather than force a performance beyond their limitations. Wilder was skilled at working with actors, coaxing silent era legends Gloria Swanson and Erich von Stroheim out of retirement for roles in Sunset Blvd.
  • 1960
    Age 53
    After winning three Academy Awards for 1960's The Apartment (for Best Picture, Director, and Screenplay), Wilder's career slowed.
    More Details Hide Details His Cold War farce One, Two, Three (1961) featured a rousing comic performance by James Cagney. It was followed by apparently lesser films that now are of cult status, such as Irma la Douce and Kiss Me, Stupid. Wilder gained his last Oscar nomination for his screenplay The Fortune Cookie (UK: Meet Whiplash Willie) (1966).
  • 1959
    Age 52
    In 1959, United Artists released Wilder's Prohibition-era farce Some Like It Hot without a Production Code seal of approval, withheld due to the film's unabashed sexual comedy, including a central cross-dressing theme.
    More Details Hide Details Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis play musicians who disguise themselves as women to escape pursuit by a Chicago gang. Curtis's character courts a singer played by Marilyn Monroe, while Lemmon is wooed by Joe E. Brown—setting up the film's final joke in which Lemmon reveals that his character is a man and Brown blandly replies "Well, nobody's perfect". A box office success, the film was lightly regarded during its original release.
  • 1951
    Age 44
    In 1951, Wilder followed Sunset Blvd. with Ace in the Hole (a.k.a.
    More Details Hide Details The Big Carnival), a tale of media exploitation of a caving accident. The idea for the film had been pitched over the phone to Wilder's secretary by Victor Desny. Desny sued Wilder for breach of an implied contract in the California copyright case Wilder v Desny, ultimately receiving a settlement of $14,350. Although a critical and commercial failure at the time, its reputation has grown over the years. In the fifties, Wilder also directed two adaptations of Broadway plays, the prisoner of war drama Stalag 17 (1953), which resulted in a Best Actor Oscar for William Holden, and the Agatha Christie mystery Witness for the Prosecution (1957). In the mid-1950s, Wilder became interested in doing a film with one of the classic slapstick comedy acts of the Hollywood Golden Age. He first considered, and rejected, a project to star Laurel and Hardy. He then held discussions with Groucho Marx concerning a new Marx Brothers comedy, tentatively titled "A Day at the U.N." This project was abandoned when Chico Marx died in 1961.
  • 1950
    Age 43
    In 1950, Wilder co-wrote and directed the dark and cynical Sunset Blvd., which paired rising star William Holden with Gloria Swanson.
    More Details Hide Details Swanson played Norma Desmond, a reclusive silent film star who, with delusions of her greatness from a bygone era, dreams of a comeback. Holden portrays an aspiring screenwriter who can't make ends meet and becomes a kept man to her. It was critically acclaimed, and marked the end of Wilder's long writing partnership with Charles Brackett.
  • 1942
    Age 35
    He followed Ninotchka with a series of box office hits in 1942, including his Hold Back the Dawn and Ball of Fire, as well as his directorial feature debut, The Major and the Minor.
    More Details Hide Details His third film as director, Double Indemnity (1944) was a major hit. A film noir, nominated for Best Director and Screenplay, it was co-written with mystery novelist Raymond Chandler, although the two men did not get along. Double Indemnity not only set conventions for the noir genre (such as "venetian blind" lighting and voice-over narration), but was also a landmark in the battle against Hollywood censorship. The original James M. Cain novel Double Indemnity featured two love triangles and a murder plotted for insurance money. While the book was highly popular with the reading public, it had been considered unfilmable under the Hays Code, because adultery was central to its plot. Double Indemnity is credited by some as the first true film noir, combining the stylistic elements of Citizen Kane with the narrative elements of The Maltese Falcon (1941).
  • 1938
    Age 31
    For twelve years Wilder co-wrote many of his films with Brackett, from 1938 through 1950.
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  • 1936
    Age 29
    Wilder married Judith Coppicus on December 22, 1936. The couple had twins, Victoria and Vincent (born 1939), but Vincent died shortly after birth. They divorced in 1946.
    More Details Hide Details Wilder met Audrey Young at Paramount Pictures on the set of The Lost Weekend in 1945 and she became his second wife on June 30, 1949.
  • 1934
    Age 27
    He became a naturalized citizen of the United States in 1934.
    More Details Hide Details Wilder's first significant success was Ninotchka in 1939, a collaboration with fellow German immigrant Ernst Lubitsch. This screwball comedy starred Greta Garbo (generally known as a tragic heroine in film melodramas), and was popularly and critically acclaimed. With the byline, "Garbo Laughs!", it also took Garbo's career in a new direction. The film also marked Wilder's first Academy Award nomination, which he shared with co-writer Charles Brackett (although their collaboration on Bluebeard's Eighth Wife and Midnight had been well received).
    After the rise of Adolf Hitler, Wilder, Jewish, left for Paris, where he made his directorial debut with the 1934 film Mauvaise Graine.
    More Details Hide Details He relocated to Hollywood prior to its release. Wilder's mother, grandmother and stepfather all perished in the Holocaust. For decades it was assumed that it happened at Auschwitz, but while researching Polish and Israeli archives, his Austrian biographer Andreas Hutter discovered in 2011 that they were murdered at different and disparate places: his mother, Eugenia "Gitla" Siedlisker - in 1943 at Plaszow; his stepfather, Bernard "Berl" Siedlisker, in 1942 at Belzec and his grandmother, Balbina Baldinger, died in 1943 in the ghetto in Nowy Targ.
  • 1933
    Age 26
    After arriving in Hollywood in 1933, Wilder continued his career as a screenwriter.
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  • 1931
    Age 24
    He wrote the screenplay for the 1931 film adaptation of a novel by Erich Kästner, Emil and the Detectives.
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  • 1906
    Born on June 22, 1906.
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