Billy Wilder

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Billy Wilder (1906-2002) was an American film director, screenwriter, and producer, regarded as one of the greatest and most versatile filmmakers of the Golden Age of Hollywood.

He was born as Samuel Wilder in Sucha, Galicia, now part of Poland, but at that time, part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. In the early '30s, he worked as a screenwriter for German films under the name "Billie Wilder", but after Hitler came to power, he emigrated to the United States, because of his Jewish ancestry. He continued his career as a screenwriter there, further changing his name to "Billy Wilder". He directed his first American movie, The Major and the Minor, in 1942, and followed it with a string of critical and commercial hits until the '60s. Wilder equally excelled in dark, cynical noir dramas and satires or light romantic comedies. He co-wrote all of his films, and won six Academy Awards, two for Best Director, three for Best Writing, and one for Best Picture.

Billy Wilder's More Important Films Include:

As writer:

  • Ninotchka (1939) -- Romantic comedy about a love affair between a Soviet diplomat (Greta Garbo) and a French aristocrat; one of the first American films to portray the Soviet Union. Directed by Ernst Lubitsch.
  • Ball of Fire (1941) -- Screwball comedy about a mobster's girlfriend hiding from the law with an Oblivious to Love English professor. Directed by Howard Hawks.

As director: