On This Day

Billy Wilder

Filmmaker Billy Wilder

Profession: Filmmaker

United States of America

Biography: Austrian-born Billy Wilder was one of the most successful filmmakers of Hollywood's Golden Age. Nominated for 21 Academy Awards, for directing, writing and producing, he won 6 Oscars.

Wilder began his career in Nazi Germany and moved to American in 1933, though many of his family did not survive the Holocaust. Wilder began in Hollywood as a screenwriter before moving to directing with "Double Indemnity" (1944) co-written with Raymond Chandler .

Many other successful films followed including "The Lost Weekend" (1945), Sunset Blvd (1950), "Some Like It Hot" (1959) and "The Apartment" (1960). For "The Apartment" he became the first person to win three Oscars for one film - Best Picture, Director, and Screenplay.

Born: June 22, 1906
Birthplace: Sucha Beskidzka, Poland

Generation: Greatest Generation
Chinese Zodiac: Horse
Star Sign: Cancer

Died: March 27, 2002 (aged 95)
Cause of Death: Pneumonia

Married Life

  • 1936-12-22 Filmmaker Billy Wilder (30) weds first wife Judith Coppicus
  • 1949-06-30 Filmmaker Billy Wilder (43) weds former singer Audrey Young

Historical Events

  • 1944-07-03 "Double Indemnity" film noir directed by Billy Wilder and starring Fred MacMurray and Barbara Stanwyck is released in Baltimore, Maryland
  • 1945-11-29 "The Lost Weekend", based on Charles R. Jackson's novel, directed by Billy Wilder and starring Ray Milland and Jane Wyman premieres in Los Angeles (Academy Awards Best Picture 1946)
  • 1950-08-10 "Sunset Boulevard", American film noir directed by Billy Wilder, and starring William Holden and Gloria Swanson, premieres at Radio City Music Hall in NYC
  • 1959-03-29 "Some Like It Hot", directed by Billy Wilder and starring Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis, and Jack Lemmon, is released in NYC
  • 1960-06-15 "The Apartment" directed by Billy Wilder and starring Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine premieres in New York (Academy Awards Best Picture 1961)
  • 1993-07-12 Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical "Sunset Boulevard", based on Billy Wilder's 1950 film, starring Patti Lupone and Daniel Benzali, opens at the Adelphi Theatre, London

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