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Writer-director Billy Wilder dies at age 95

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Apr 01, 2002 | 4:27am EST

Billy Wilder, who wrote and directed Hollywood classics like Some Like It Hot and The Seven Year Itch, died Wednesday night of pneumonia at his home in Beverly Hills. He was 95.

A writer at heart, Wilder became a director to protect his scripts, having frequently stormed onto a set to express his frustration at their misinterpretation in the hands of others.

With the help of co-writer Raymond Chandler, he produced a masterpiece of film noir, Double Indemnity in 1944, followed a year later by The Lost Weekend.

In the 1950s, Wilder alienated Hollywood with the cruel and haunting Sunset Boulevard (1950), but he also created a wealth of comedies, including Sabrina (1954), Love in the Afternoon (1957) and Some Like It Hot (1959).

Wilder's legacy in the film industry continued throughout the '60s and '70s; his last film Buddy Buddy (1981) starred Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau.

Wilder is survived by his wife of 53 years, Audrey.

There will be no funeral, but a memorial is planned for later this year.

Click here for a complete biography of Wilder.

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