“If you’re going to tell people the truth, be funny or they’ll kill you.”
Billy Wilder was born today in Sucha, Galicia, Austria-Hungary 1906. He would have been 106 years old.
Wilder was a film director, producer and screenwriter who made 60 films in a career that spanned more than five decades.
He left Austria when the Nazis came to power and by 1933 found his way to Hollywood. He worked brilliantly in both drama and comedy. His first American screenwriting credit was for Ninotchka, a screwball spy comedy with Greta Garbo and Melvyn Douglas which he co-wrote in 1939. The classic 1944 film noir drama Double Indemnity with the beautiful Barbara Stanwyck made his reputation as a Director. He pulled double duty, screenwriter and director, for The Lost Weekend and earned double Oscars for his work on the drama. In 1960 he pulled a hat trick, winning Writer, Director and Producer for The Apartment with Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine.
Other Wilder films include: Sunset Boulevard (for which he won an Oscar for Best Screenplay — he co-wrote, but not for Director,) A Star is Born (Writer), The Seven Year Itch, Witness for the Prosecution, Some Like It Hot, Sabrina, and Stalag 17. [Sunset, Sabrina and Stalag are three of my favorite movies of all time, BTW ]
In 1987 he won the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Academy Award for lifetime acheivement.