- March 27
) had a career as a screenwriter
, film director
that spanned more than 50 years and more than 60 films
Born Samuel Wilder in Sucha, Austria-Hungary (now Poland).
He started work in late 1920s as screenwriter in Germany, then left for France, then United States after the rise of Adolf Hitler. His mother, grandmother, and stepfather died at Auschwitz.
Sharing an apartment with Peter Lorre, he broke into writing in Hollywood with classics like Ninotchka. He was a noted collector of modern art.
Billy Wilder died in 2002 in Los Angeles, California, and was interred in the Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in Westwood, Los Angeles, California.
Billy Wilder wrote or directed (or both) classics in more than one genre:
- Best Picture - won 1961
- Best Director - six nominations, won 1946, 1961
- Screenwriting - nine nominations, won 1946, 1951, and 1961. These included winning Best Picture, Director, and Original Screenplay for The Apartment (screenplay award shared with I.A.L. Diamond) -- the only time one person has won three Oscars for the same film.
- "My English is a mixture between Arnold Schwarzenegger and Archbishop Tutu."
- On post-World War II France: "It's a country where you can't tear the toilet paper but the currency crumbles in your hands."
- "A bad play folds and is forgotten, but in pictures we don't bury our dead. When you think it's out of your system, your daughter sees it on television and says, My father is an idiot."
- "Nobody is perfect."
- "I just made pictures I would've liked to see."