Billy Wilder

Birth Name: Samuel/Shmuel Wilder/Vildr

Date of Birth: 22 June, 1906

Place of Birth: Sucha, Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria, Austria-Hungary (now Sucha Beskidzka, Poland)

Place of Death: March 27, 2002

Place of Death: Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, California, U.S.

Ethnicity: Ashkenazi Jewish

Billy Wilder was an Austro Hungarian-American film director, producer, and screenwriter. He twice won the Academy Award for Best Director, for The Lost Weekend (1945) and The Apartment (1960). Among his other films are Double Indemnity, Sunset Boulevard, Ace in the Hole, Stalag 17, Sabrina, The Seven Year Itch, The Spirit of St. Louis, Love in the Afternoon, Witness for the Prosecution, Some Like It Hot, The Fortune Cookie, and Avanti!

Billy was born in Sucha, then in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the son of Eugenia “Gitla” (Dittler), who was born in Nowy Targ, and Max Hersch Mendel Wilder, who was born in Stanislawczyk, Galicia. His parents owned a train station cake shop they later turned to a chain of railroad cafes. His father also managed a hotel in Krakow. He was nicknamed “Billie” by his mother. His brother, W. Lee Wilder, was also a filmmaker.

Billy spent time in Vienna, Austria, and Berlin, Germany, where he began his career, before leaving for Paris and then the U.S. in the early 1930s, to escape the Nazis. He became a U.S. citizen in 1939. His mother was killed in 1943 at the Kraków-Płaszów concentration camp, and his stepfather Bernard “Berl” Siedlisker was killed in 1942 at the Belzec extermination camp.

Billy was married to actress and big-band singer Audrey Young, until his death. He had two children with his former wife Judith Coppicus. His nephews were television writer and producer Myles Wilder and and film producer Patrick Curtis.

Billy’s paternal grandfather was named Wilhelm Wilder.

Billy’s paternal grandmother was named Hudie.

Billy’s maternal grandfather was named Dawid Dittler.

Billy’s maternal grandmother was named Balbina Baldinger (the daughter of Wolf Zeev Baldinger and Roza Reizl). Balbina was born in Łódź, Poland. She was killed in 1943 in the ghetto in Nowy Targ, in the Holocaust.

Source: Genealogy of Billy Wilder –

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