The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary






Billy Wilder

Billy Wilder (June 22, 1906 - March 27, 2002) had a career as a screenwriter, film director and producer that spanned more than 50 years and more than 60 films.


Life and work

He was 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 and/or directed classics in more than one genre:



  • "My English is a mixture between Arnold Schwarzenegger and Archbishop Tutu."
  • "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."
  • "Shut up and deal."
  • "Eighty percent of a picture is writing, the other twenty percent is the execution, such as having the camera on the right spot and being able to afford to have good actors in all parts."

External links

  • WGA interview:
  • Billy Wilder - The German-Hollywood Connection:
  • Film Noir and Billy Wilder:
  • American Master - Billy Wilder:

Last updated: 10-18-2005 06:05:35
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