Billy Wilder

Director, Screenwriter, Producer
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 ... Read more »
Born: 06/22/1906 in Austria

Filmography

Writer (45)

Sabrina 1995 (Movie)

from screenplay("Sabrina" (USA/1954)) (From Story)

Witness For the Prosecution 1982 - 1983 (TV Show)

From Story

Buddy Buddy 1981 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Fedora 1978 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Double Indemnity 1973 - 1974 (TV Show)

From Story

The Front Page 1974 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Avanti! 1972 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes 1969 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

The Fortune Cookie 1966 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Kiss Me, Stupid 1964 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Irma la Douce 1963 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

One, Two, Three 1961 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

The Apartment 1960 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Some Like It Hot 1959 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Witness For the Prosecution 1958 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Love in the Afternoon 1957 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

The Spirit of St. Louis 1957 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

The Seven Year Itch 1955 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Sabrina 1954 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Stalag 17 1953 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

The Big Carnival 1951 (Movie)

(From Story)

The Big Carnival 1951 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Sunset Boulevard 1950 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

A Foreign Affair 1948 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

The Emperor Waltz 1948 (Movie)

(From Story)

The Emperor Waltz 1948 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

The Lost Weekend 1945 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Double Indemnity 1944 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Ball of Fire 1942 (Movie)

("A to Z") (From Story)

Ball of Fire 1942 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Five Graves to Cairo 1942 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

The Major and the Minor 1941 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Hold Back the Dawn 1940 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Rhythm on the River 1939 (Movie)

(From Story)

Midnight 1938 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Ninotchka 1938 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Bluebeard's Eighth Wife 1937 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

That Certain Age 1937 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Mauvaise Graine 1933 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Emil and the Detectives 1930 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Menschen am Sonntag 1928 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

A Song Is Born (Movie)

(Screen Story)

Arise, My Love (Movie)

(Screenwriter)

Music in the Air (Movie)

(Screenwriter)

What a Life (Movie)

(Screenwriter)
Director (26)

Buddy Buddy 1981 (Movie)

(Director)

Fedora 1978 (Movie)

(Director)

The Front Page 1974 (Movie)

(Director)

Avanti! 1972 (Movie)

(Director)

The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes 1969 (Movie)

(Director)

The Fortune Cookie 1966 (Movie)

(Director)

Kiss Me, Stupid 1964 (Movie)

(Director)

Irma la Douce 1963 (Movie)

(Director)

One, Two, Three 1961 (Movie)

(Director)

The Apartment 1960 (Movie)

(Director)

Some Like It Hot 1959 (Movie)

(Director)

Witness For the Prosecution 1958 (Movie)

(Director)

Love in the Afternoon 1957 (Movie)

(Director)

The Spirit of St. Louis 1957 (Movie)

(Director)

The Seven Year Itch 1955 (Movie)

(Director)

Sabrina 1954 (Movie)

(Director)

Stalag 17 1953 (Movie)

(Director)

The Big Carnival 1951 (Movie)

(Director)

Sunset Boulevard 1950 (Movie)

(Director)

A Foreign Affair 1948 (Movie)

(Director)

The Emperor Waltz 1948 (Movie)

(Director)

The Lost Weekend 1945 (Movie)

(Director)

Double Indemnity 1944 (Movie)

(Director)

Five Graves to Cairo 1942 (Movie)

(Director)

The Major and the Minor 1941 (Movie)

(Director)

Mauvaise Graine 1933 (Movie)

(Director)
Actor (18)

AFI's 100 Years... 100 Laughs 1999 - 2000 (TV Show)

Actor

Fred MacMurray: The Guy Next Door 1996 - 1997 (TV Show)

Actor

Gloria Swanson: The Greatest Star 1996 - 1997 (TV Show)

Actor

Jack Lemmon: America's Everyman 1996 - 1997 (TV Show)

Actor

The Shoe Store 1997 (Movie)

Himself (Actor)

Audrey Hepburn Remembered 1992 - 1993 (TV Show)

Actor

Directed By William Wyler 1988 (Movie)

Himself (Actor)

The 60th Annual Academy Awards Presentation 1987 - 1988 (TV Show)

Actor

The Exiles 1988 (Movie)

Himself (Actor)

The 58th Annual Academy Awards Presentation 1985 - 1986 (TV Show)

Actor

Portrait of a 60% Perfect Man 1979 (Movie)

Himself (Actor)
Producer (13)

Fedora 1978 (Movie)

(Producer)

Avanti! 1972 (Movie)

(Producer)

The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes 1969 (Movie)

(Producer)

The Fortune Cookie 1966 (Movie)

(Producer)

Kiss Me, Stupid 1964 (Movie)

(Producer)

Irma la Douce 1963 (Movie)

(Producer)

One, Two, Three 1961 (Movie)

(Producer)

The Apartment 1960 (Movie)

(Producer)

Some Like It Hot 1959 (Movie)

(Producer)

Love in the Afternoon 1957 (Movie)

(Producer)

Sabrina 1954 (Movie)

(Producer)

Stalag 17 1953 (Movie)

(Producer)

The Big Carnival 1951 (Movie)

(Producer)
Other (4)

Chicago Joe and the Showgirl 1990 (Movie)

film extract("Double Indemnity" (USA/44)) (Other)

Marlene 1986 (Movie)

film extract("Witness For the Prosecution" (1957)) (Other)

Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid 1982 (Movie)

film extracts("Double Indemnity" (1944) "The Lost Weekend" (1945)) (Other)

The Man You Loved to Hate 1978 (Movie)

film extract("Sunset Boulevard" (1950)) (Other)

Biography

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.

Relationships

Judith Iribe

Wife
married in 1936 divorced one daughter together

Max Wilder

Father
died in 1928

Eugenie Wilder

Mother
killed by Nazis

Audrey Young Actor

Wife
Met in 1944 on the set of Wilder's film "The Lost Weekend" Married June 30, 1949 until his death on March 27, 2002

EDUCATION

University of Vienna

left after one year to work as a copy boy and then as a reporter for DIE STUNDE

attended realgymnasium (high school) in Vienna, Austria

Milestones

1995

Approached by director Cameron Crowe to play cameo role of a legendary agent (Dickie Fox) and mentor to "Jerry Maguire"; Wilder refused role

1993

Andrew Lloyd Webber's stage musical based on "Sunset Boulevard" returned Wilder to public consciousness

1981

Final film as writer-director, "Buddy Buddy", starring Lemmon and Matthau

1978

Mined the themes of "Sunset Boulevard" in "Fedora", starring Holden as fading producer Dutch Detweiler; adapted from a short story by Tom Tryon about a Garboesque star

1974

Reunited with Lemmon and Matthau for ill-fated remake of "The Front Page"

1972

"Sugar", an ill-fated musical adaptation of "Some Like It Hot" with a score by Jule Styne, opened on Broadway; produced by Merrick

1972

Helmed, produced and co-wrote (with Diamond) the underrated comedy "Avanti!", starring Lemmon and Juliet Mills

1969

Extremely personal Wilder film, "The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes", received only a moderately warm reception at the time of its release

1968

"Promises, Promises", a musical by Neil Simon, Burt Bacharach and Hal David based on "The Apartment", opened on Broadway; produced by David Merrick

1966

Final Oscar nomination for writing (with Diamond) "The Fortune Cookie", starring Lemon; also directed; Walter Matthau received Best Supporting Actor Oscar

1964

"Kiss Me Stupid" condemned by the Legion of Decency

1963

Reteamed with MacLaine and Lemmon for "Irma la Douce", his last box-office hit

1960

Won three Academy Awards, Best Picture, Best Director and Best Original Screenplay (shared with Diamond) for "The Apartment", which reunited him with MacMurray and Lemmon; first screen collaboration with Shirley MacLaine

1959

Received Oscar nominations for directing and co-writing (with Diamond) "Some Like It Hot", starring Monroe, Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon

1957

First collaboration with co-writer and producer I.A.L. Diamond, "Love in the Afternoon"; has been called "Wilder's most emphatic tribute to Lubitsch," a romantic comedy of the greatest elegance and charm

1957

Picked up Oscar nomination for directing "Witness for the Prosecution", adapted from the play by Agatha Christie

1955

First time directing Marilyn Monroe, "The Seven Year Itch"

1954

Helmed and co-adapted "Sabrina", earning Academy Award nominations for Best Director and Best Screenplay; third film with Holden

1953

Directed first of three successive adaptations of stage plays, "Stalag 17", picking up an Oscar nomination for Best Director; second film with Holden (who picked up a Best Actor statue)

1951

First film as producer, "Ace in the Hole/The Big Carnival"; also directed and co-wrote

1950

Directed last collaboration with Charles Brackett, "Sunset Boulevard", collecting two more Oscar nominations (and a win for Best Screenplay); starred Swanson, William Holden and von Stroheim

1948

Savagely sent-up America's military presence in post-World War II Berlin in "Foreign Affair"

1944

Returned to Berlin as colonel in charge of US Army Psychological Warfare Division

1944

Captured first two Oscars for direction and script (written with Brackett) for "The Lost Weekend", starring Milland as an alcohlic in relentless pursuit of the next drink

1943

Co-author (with Raymond Chandler) and director of "Double Indemnity", starring Barbara Stanwyck and Fred MacMurray; received first Best Director Academy Award nomination; also shared Best Screenplay nomination

1942

First film directing actor Erich von Stroheim, "Five Graves to Cairo"

1941

Hollywood directing debut (also co-writer with Brackett), "The Major and the Minor", starring Ray Milland and Ginger Rogers

1940

Scripted (with Brackett) Howard Hawks' "Ball of Fire"; Oscar-nominated for Best Original Story; also received Best Screenplay nomination (shared with Brackett) for "Hold Back the Dawn"

1939

With Brackett and Walter Reisch, co-wrote Lubitsch's "Ninotchka"; received first of 20 Academy Award nominations

1936

Teamed with Charles Brackett; first produced script, Ernst Lubitsch's "Bluebeard's Eighth Wife" (1938)

1934

Moved to Hollywood via Mexico; shared a room and "a can of soup a day" with actor Peter Lorre

1934

First screen credits after moving to Hollywood; "One Exciting Adventure" (co-story) and "Music in the Air" (as co-writer, billed as 'Billie Wilder'); latter starred Gloria Swanson

1933

Fled from Nazi Germany to Paris

1933

In France, made co-directing debut with Alexander Esway on "Mauvaise Graine/Bad Blood"; also co-wrote script

1933

First Hollywood credit, "Adorable", (shared a "from story" credit as film was based on 1931 German picture "Ihre Hoheit befiehlt")

1929

Worked as a screenwriter for UFA; among his sound pictures was Gerhard Lamprecht's version of "Emil and the Detectives" (1931)

1929

First film as co-screenwriter (with Curt Siodmak), the pseudo-documentary "Menschen am Sonntag/People on Sunday", co-directed by Robert Siodmak and Edgar G Ulmer

1914

Moved to Vienna at age 8 (date approximate)

Joined staff of DIE STUNDE as journalist

Moved to Berlin aged 20; worked various jobs including crime reporter and (allegedly) arts critic, dancer and gigolo

Bonus Trivia

.

In late 1989, Wilder put 94 works of art (many by modern masters) up for auction at Christie's in New York City.

.

Awarded the Grand National Prize of Austria in October 1985.

.

On working with Marilyn Monroe in "Some Like It Hot": "You can learn to live with an actress who is tempermental, if she is consistent as well as tough. But Marilyn would throw you for a loop. She would have a week where she was flawless, never missed a mark or forgot a line. Then, the next week, a total mental block would descend on her. She'd look at me and say, 'What's the name of the picture?'"After redoing the same shot 42 times I took her aside and hugged her and said, to calm her down, 'Don't worry, Marilyn,' and she looked at me with wide-open eyes and said, 'Don't worry about what?'"But she was absolutely unique. They try to imitate her. It's not the same."She had something like Garbo had: When she was on-screen, the voltage increased tenfold ... Her simplest lines have a third dimension of sensuality.

.

In March 2000, Wilder was presented with the Federal Republic of Germany's Knight Commander's Cross (badge and star).

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