Billy Wilder Biography (1906-2002)

Original name, Samuel Wilder; born June 22, 1906, in Sucha, Galicia, Austria;died of pneumonia, March 27, 2002, in Los Angeles, CA. Director, producer, and writer. Visionary film director Wilder's long and varied career began in Germany in the late 1920s when he cowrote Menschen am Sonntag. He thensigned on as a screenwriter for German film studio UFA and worked there for several years before fleeing Nazi Germany for Paris. In France he made his directorial debut when he codirected Mauvaise graine in 1933. The same year he achieved his first U.S. credit when he sold the story Adorable to Columbia. In 1934 Wilder immigrated to the U.S., landing in Hollywood to work as a screenwriter. Though his lack of English skills made work difficult,Wilder soon found success when he began collaborating with writer Charles Brackett. Their first film, Bluebeard's Eighth Wife, was released in 1938, and the pair went on to script fourteen additional films, including the Academy Award-winning films The Lost Weekend and Sunset Boulevardand the Academy Award-nominated Ninotchka. In 1942 Wilder directed The Major and the Minor, which he cowrote with Brackett. Wilder's primaryimpetus for pursuing a directing career was to protect the integrity of hisscreenplays. He proved a successful director, and in 1944 he received his first Academy Award nomination for best director for the film noir picture Double Indemnity. Wilder won an Academy Award for best director a year later for The Lost Weekend. He ventured into producing in 1951 with TheBig Carnival, which he also directed and cowrote. The busy Wilder was involved in numerous box office hits during the 1950s and early 1960s, including Sabrina, The Seven Year Itch, Witness for the Prosecution, Some Like It Hot, and The Apartment. Though he continued to work into the early 1980s, his successes tapered off after the mid-1960s. His final Academy Award nomination came in 1966 with The Fortune Cookie, and he directed his last film, Buddy Buddy, in 1981. For his impressive body of work and his long career, Wilder was awarded many lifetime achievement awards in the 1980s and 1990s.

director, producer, writer
Birth Details
June 22, 1906
Sucha, Galicia, Austria
Death Details
March 27, 2002
Los Angeles, California, United States

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