1. William Wyler, born as Wilhelm Weiller , all of which won Wyler Academy Awards for Best Director, as well as Best Picture in their respective years, making him the only director of three Best Picture winners.
2. Wyler received his first Oscar nomination for directing Dodsworth in 1936, starring Walter Huston, Ruth Chatterton and Mary Astor, “sparking a 20-year run of almost unbroken greatness.”
3. Wyler was born His Swiss father, Leopold, started as a traveling salesman which he later turned into a thriving haberdashery business in Mulhouse.
4. His mother, Melanie , was German, and a cousin of Carl Laemmle, founder of Universal Pictures.
5. Sometimes at home his family and their friends would stage amateur theatricals for personal enjoyment.
6. After World War I he spent a dismal year working in Paris at 100.000 Chemises selling shirts and ties.
7. He was so poor that he often spent his time wandering around the Pigalle district.
8. After realizing that Willy was not interested in the haberdashery business, his mother contacted her distant cousin about opportunities for him.
9. Laemmle was in the habit of coming to Europe each year, searching for promising young men who would work in America.
10. In 1921, Wyler, while traveling as a Swiss citizen , met Laemmle who hired him to work at Universal Studios in New York.
11. As Wyler said: “America seemed as far away as the moon.”
12. Booked onto a ship to New York with Laemmle upon his return voyage, he met a young Czech man, Paul Kohner , aboard the same ship.
13. Their enjoyment of the first class trip was short-lived as they found they had to pay back the cost of the passage out of their $25 weekly income as messengers to Universal Pictures.
14. After working in New York for several years, and even serving in the New York National Guard for a year, Wyler decided he wanted to go to Hollywood and be a director.
15. Around 1923, Wyler arrived in Los Angeles and began work on the Universal Studios lot in the swing gang, cleaning the stages and moving the sets.