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William Wyler (July 1, 1902 – July 27, 1981) was an American film director, producer and screenwriter. Notable works included Ben-Hur (1959), The Best Years of Our Lives (1946), and Mrs. Miniver(1942), all of which won Wyler Academy Awards for Best Director, as well as Best Picture in their respective years. Wyler won his first Oscar nomination for directing Dodsworth in 1936, starring Walter Huston, Ruth Chatterton and Mary Astor, “sparking a 20-year run of almost unbroken greatness.”
Film historian Ian Freer calls Wyler a “bona fide perfectionist”, whose penchant for retakes and an attempt to hone every last nuance, “became the stuff of legend.” His ability to direct a string of classic literary adaptations into huge box-office and critical successes made him one of “Hollywood’s most bankable moviemakers” during the 1930s and 1940s. Other popular Wyler films include Funny Girl(1968), How to Steal a Million (1966), The Children’s Hour (1961), The Big Country (1958), Roman Holiday (1953), The Heiress (1949), The Letter (1940), The Westerner (1940), Wuthering Heights (1939),Jezebel (1938), Dodsworth (1936), and Hell’s Heroes (1930).
Wyler was born Willy Wyler to a Jewish family in Mulhouse, Alsace (part of the then-German Empire). His Swiss father, Leopold, started as a traveling salesman which he later turned into a thriving haberdashery business. His mother, Melanie (died February 13, 1955, Los Angeles, California, aged 77), was German, and a cousin of Carl Laemmle, founder of Universal Pictures. Read more . . .