First and foremost a writer, Billy Wilder became, by his own admission, a director in an effort to protect his scripts from directors who he felt misinterpreted his work. Sometimes criticized for tempering the harshness of his vision in deference to commercial needs, Wilder operated with assurance across all genres, compiling an impressive body of work featuring dialogue over character - its wit and astringent bite setting his oeuvre refreshingly apart from mainstream Hollywood fare. With the help of co-writer Raymond Chandler, he directed a masterpiece of film noir, "Double Indemnity" (1944), which he followed with "The Lost Weekend" (1945), a social drama that delivered an uncompromising look at alcoholism. After the great war drama "Stalag 17" (1953), Wilder created a variation on the comedy of manners and seduction in films such as "Sabrina" (1954) and "Love in the Afternoon" (1957), mixed black comedy and farce for "Some Like It Hot" (1959) - his most entertaining movie - and alienated Hollywood with the cruel and haunting "Sunset Boulevard" (1950). Wilder had long collaborations with writers Charles Brackett and I.A.L. Diamond, and directed his greatest achievement, "The Apartment" (1960), in partnership with the latter. After the comedies "One, Two, Three" (1961) and "Irma La Douce" (1963), Wilder spent the next decade and a half in a career slide that ended with the slight "Buddy, Buddy" (1981), his last directing effort. Though away for the camera for the next two decades, Wilder lived on as one of classic Hollywood's most accomplished directors.