Directors

19 Beautiful Facts About Billy Wilder

1. With The Apartment, Wilder became the first person to win Academy Awards as producer, director and screenwriter for the same film.

2. Wilder became a screenwriter in the late 1920s while living in Berlin.

3. After the rise of the Nazi Party, Wilder, who was Jewish, left for Paris, where he made his directorial debut.

4. He moved to Hollywood in 1933, and in 1939 he had a hit when he co-wrote the screenplay for the screwball comedy Ninotchka.

5. Wilder established his directorial reputation with Double Indemnity , a film noir he co-wrote with crime novelist Raymond Chandler.

6. Wilder earned the Best Director and Best Screenplay Academy Awards for the adaptation of a Charles R. Jackson story The Lost Weekend , about alcoholism.

7. From the mid-1950s on, Wilder made mostly comedies. Among the classics Wilder created in this period are the farces The Seven Year Itch .

8. Wilder was recognized with the American Film Institute Life Achievement Award in 1986.

9. Born Samuel Wilder to a Jewish family in Sucha Beskidzka, Austria-Hungary, to Max and Eugenia .

10. He had an elder brother, William Lee Wilder , who also became a screenwriter, film producer and director.

11. Instead of attending the University of Vienna, Wilder became a journalist.

12. To advance his career Wilder decided to move to Berlin, where, before achieving success as a writer, he allegedly worked as a taxi dancer.

13. After writing crime and sports stories as a stringer for local newspapers, he was eventually offered a regular job at a Berlin tabloid.

14. Developing an interest in film, he began working as a screenwriter.

15. He wrote the screenplay for the 1931 film adaptation of a novel by Erich Kästner, Emil and the Detectives.

16. After the rise of Adolf Hitler, Wilder, Jewish, left for Paris, where he made his directorial debut with the 1934 film Mauvaise Graine.

17. For decades it was assumed that it happened at Auschwitz, but while researching Polish and Israeli archives, his Austrian biographer Andreas Hutter discovered in 2011 that they were murdered at different and disparate places: his mother, Eugenia “Gitla” Siedlisker – in 1943 at Plaszow; his stepfather, Bernard “Berl” Siedlisker, in 1942 at Belzec and his grandmother, Balbina Baldinger, died in 1943 in the ghetto in Nowy Targ.

18. After arriving in Hollywood in 1933, Wilder continued his career as a screenwriter.

19. This screwball comedy starred Greta Garbo , and was popularly and critically acclaimed.

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