Billy Wilder


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Billy Wilder
Samuel Wilder
Birthday
BirthplaceSucha, Galicia, Austria-Hungary (present-day Sucha Beskidzka, Poland)
Died
Occupation
Film director, producer and screenwriter

Wilder, Billy,

1906–2002, American film director, producer, and writer, b. Sucha, Galicia (now Poland) as Samuel Wilder. He wrote for films in Berlin, fled the Nazis, and arrived in Hollywood in 1934. After writing various screenplays, he directed his first film in 1942, and soon developed a reputation as a witty and harshly sardonic critic of American mores. At first he mixed dramas and comedies, later concentrating on satire, and his 25 films represent many styles, approaches, and themes. His The Lost Weekend (1945), an unsparing study of alcoholism, won Academy Awards for direction, production, and screenplay; Sunset Boulevard (1950), an acidic look at Hollywood, won another for best screenplay; and The Apartment (1960), a morally ambiguous modern tale, again won him three Oscars. Wilder's Some Like It Hot (1959) is one of the finest comic films ever made. His other films include Double Indemnity (1944), Stalag 17 (1953), Sabrina (1954), Witness for the Prosecution (1957), Fedora (1979), and Buddy Buddy (1981).

Bibliography

See C. Crowe, Conversations with Wilder (1999); biographies by M. Zolotow (1977), E. Sikov (1998), K. Lally (1999), and C. Chandler (2002); studies by A. Madsen (1969) and T. Wood (1970).

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Wilder, Billy (b. Samuel Wilder)

(1906–  ) film director, screenwriter, producer; born in Vienna, Austria. After a time as a law student at the University of Vienna, he turned to newspaper work in Vienna and then in Berlin. He began his film career as the cowriter of Menschen am Sonntag (1929). Fleeing Hitler in 1933, he went to France, then to America, working on movie scripts with Charles Brackett. An American citizen from 1934, he made his Hollywood directorial debut with The Major and the Minor (1942), which he also cowrote. He became a specialist in cowriting and directing incisive dramas, acerbic comedies, and bittersweet romances, then later turned to farce. In the late 1950s he became his own producer. His Academy Awards came with The Lost Weekend (1945, for director and screenwriter), Sunset Boulevard (1950, screenwriter), and The Apartment (1960, director and screenwriter).
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.
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In continuous production since 1956, its familiar sleek-yet-chunky lines of leather upholstery and rosewood veneer were inspired by film director Billy Wilder, who told the Eameses he 'would really appreciate an ultra, ultra, ultra comfortable modern lounge chair'.
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8), was a whimsical homage to Laure and a tiny group of Canadian film actresses who could ignite the screen with beauty and sexual energy, but, of course, Laure, spectacularlry blessed with the quality Billy Wilder called "movie flesh," never got stuck in the realm of mere babedom.
Nobody's Perfect: Billy Wilder by biographer Charlotte Chandler is the personal and engaging story of one of the great figures of 20th century movie-making--the legendary Billy Wilder (1906-2002).
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The roll call of emigres who were able to leave Germany, Austria and Hungary after the Nazis came to power reads like a Who's Who of large sections of modem Anglo-American life: Sir Ernst Gombrich, Sir Nikolaus Pevsner, Arthur Koestler, Lord Weidenfeld, Sir Karl Popper, Sir Alexander Korda, Walter Gropius, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Stefan Zweig, Schoenberg, Hindemith, Bartok, Milhaud, Max Ernst, Marc Chagall, Salvador Dali, Fritz Lang, Billy Wilder, Albert Einstein, Thomas Mann, Bertolt Brecht and many others.