1001 W 75TH ST. WOODRIDGE, IL 630-427-1880

Hollywood Memorial

Billy Wilder

Legendary, Academy-Award winning motion picture writer, director, and producer of the 1920s thru 1980s. He broke into films as a screenwriter in 1929, and wrote scripts for many German films until Adolph Hitler came to power in 1933. Wilder immediately realized his Jewish ancestry would cause problems, so he emigrated to Paris, then the US. Although he spoke no English when he arrived in Hollywood, Wilder was a fast learner, and thanks to contacts such as Peter Lorre (with whom he shared an apartment), he was able to break into American films. Directed 14 different actors in their academy award winning movies. and he won Oscars himself for the classic films ‘The Lost Weekend,’ ‘Sunset Blvd.,’ and ‘The Apartment.’ He also wrote and directed the timeless comedy ‘Some Like it Hot,’ starring Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis, and Marilyn Monroe. (He said of Monroe ‘An endless puzzle without any solution’) A true Hollywood icon, Tom Cruise and Cameron Crowe begged Wilder to appear in Jerry Maguire, but he turned them down flat. He collaborated closely with Steven Spielberg on the script for Schindler’s List and was one of several directors considered to direct it. Although Wilder strongly considered directing ‘Schindler’s List,’ he felt he was a little too old (he had already retired) and the subject was almost too personal (both his mother and grandmother were killed in the Holocaust). It was ultimately Wilder who told Spielberg he should direct it. He was also famous for the modern-art collection he put together over his lifetime (he sold only a portion of it in 1989 for $32.6 million) One of his more famous quotes was ‘A bad play closes and is forgotten, but in pictures we don’t bury our dead. Just when you think it’s out of your system, your daughter sees it on television and says, ‘My father is an idiot.’ He preferred writing rather than directing and his tombstone in Westwood Memorial Park, not far from pal Jack Lemmon reads ‘I Am a Writer, but then Nobody’s Perfect.’