Wilder's Early Life (03:31)
Billy Wilder was born in 1906 and grew-up in Vienna. He moved to Berlin where he earned money playing the piano, dancing with single women, and reporting news. He transitioned into writing screenplays and wrote his first film scripts, “The Daredevil Reporter” and “People on Sunday.”
Relocating and Writing (05:37)
Because of the Nazi regime, Wilder moved to Paris where he created his directorial debut, "Mauvaise Graine" in 1934. He moved to Hollywood, but lost most his family in Vienna to the holocaust. Wilder wrote wrote for Gloria Swanson, Claudette Colbert, and Greta Garbo. (Credits)
Transition From Writing to Directing (04:13)
In 1939, Wilder wrote the part of Ninotchka for Greta Garbo; it was nominated for an academy award. At Paramount Studios, Wilder worked with Charles Brackett. They received award nominations for "Hold Back the Dawn" and "Ball of Fire." Wilder directed his first film, "The Major and the Minor," starring Ginger Rogers and Ray Milland.
Genre Change (07:45)
In 1943, Wilder directed "Five Graves to Cairo," a war film starring Erik von Stroheim. In 1944, he directed "Double Indemnity" starring Barbara Stanwyck, Fred MacMurray, and Edward G. Robinson. In 1945, Wilder directed "The Lost Weekend", the first film to deal with alcoholism. (Credits)
Career After the War (05:22)
Wilder was in the U.S. Army and returned to Germany after WWII. He directed "Death Mills" in 1945, "Foreign Affair" in 1948, and "The Emperor Waltz" and "Sunset Boulevard" in 1950; "Sunset Boulevard" was the end of his partnership with the Charles Brackett.
Wilder Goes Solo (08:37)
In 1951, Wilder directed "Ace in the Hole" and in 1953, he directed "Stalag 17." Audrey Hepburn, Humphrey Bogart, and William Holden starred in "Sabrina." Wilder's first color film was "The Seven Year Itch"; he directed "The Spirit of St. Louis" in 1957. (Credits)
Wilder's Last Films (10:13)
Between 1957 and 1981, Wilder directed and released fourteen movies: "The Spirit of St. Louis," "Witness for the Prosecution," "Love in the Afternoon," "Some Like it Hot," "The Apartment," "One Two Three," "Kiss Me Stupid," "Irma la Douce," "The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes," "Fedora," "Avanti," "Fortune Cookie," "The Front Page" and "Buddy Buddy." Wilder’s writing partner during this time was I.A.L. Diamond.
Credits: Billy Wilder (00:37)
Credits: Billy Wilder
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