William Wyler

1902 - 1981


The director William Wyler belongs to the most successful film workers of Hollywood whose creativity produced some of the most beautiful movies.

He was born in Mulhouse, France and he studied music in Paris and entrepreneurship in Switzerland. His uncle was the famous filmproducer Carl Laemmle who brought him to the USA in the 20's. In the first place William Wyler worked there as publicist and director assistant before he became the youngest director ever who got a contract at Universal. He directed movies like "Crook Buster" (25), "The Fire Barrier" (26), "The Pinnacle Rider" (26), "The Stolen Ranch" (26), "The Silent Partner" (27), "Hard Fists" (27), "The Lone Star" (27), "Desert Dust" (27) and "Hell's Heroes" (29). A lot of these movies were western.

He soon convinced his surrounding with his works and that he not only had a right for his existence in the film business because of his relational connection to Laemmle but especially because of his skill.

At the beginning of the 30's he became one of the most important directors at Universal and shot "Tom Brown of Culver" (32), "Counsellor at Law" (33) and "The Good Fairy" (35).
When he was signed on by Samuel Goldwyn, William Wyler directed several box-office hits in the following ten years - partially for Warner Bros. too - and cemented his reputation as a solid director. He directed among others the movies "Dodsworth" (36) - Oscar nomination as best director, "Dead End" (37), "Jezebel" (38), "Wuthering Heights" (39)- nomination for best director, "The Letter" (40) - nomination for best director, "The Westerner" (40), "The Little Foxes" (41) - nomination for best director and "Mrs. Miniver" (42), for which he eventually won his first Oscar.

During World War II he served as a major for the US Army Air Corps and realised some documentaries like "The Memphis Belle" (44) and the oscar-winning documentary "The Fighting Lady" (44).
He continued his film career successfully after the war with "The Best Years of Our Lives" (46), for which he got his second Oscar.

William Wyler often came to the fore as a producer of his movies. For "The Heiress" (49) he was nominated for two Oscar, for the best director as well as for the best picture. For "Detective Story" (51) he nominated for the best director and for the movies "Roman Holiday" (53) and "Friendly Persuasion" (56) he was both nominated for the best director and the best picture.

He experienced a last height with his movies. After "The Big Country" (58) he directed the epos "Ben-Hur" (59) and with it he created one of the most successful movies of all time. He won his third and last Oscar for "Ben Hur" as best director.

In the 60's followed only few movies - "The Children's Hour" (61), "The Collector" (65), for which he was nominated for the best director for the last time, "How to Steal a Million" (66) and "Funny Girl" (68). With "The Liberation of L.B. Jones" (70) he said goodbye to the film business.

William Wyler was notorious for endless repetitions of single takings and that he didn't communicate clearly what he really wanted. But the result speaks for itself. Altogether ten of his movies were nominated for the best picture and three dozen actors got an Oscar award or were nominated for it.

William Wyler was married in first marriage with actress Margaret Sullavan. He got the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award in 1966.

Other movies of William Wyler:
The Gunless Bad Man (26) Ridin' for Love (26) Don't Shoot (26) Martin of the Mounted (26) Lazy Lightning (26) The Two Fister (27) Kelcy Gets His Man (27) Tenderfoot Courage (27) Blazing Days (27) Shooting Straight (27) Galloping Justice (27) The Haunted Homestead (27) The Ore Raiders (27) The Home Trail (27) Gun Justice (27) The Phantom Outlaw (27) The Aquare shooter (27) The Horse Trader (27) The Border Cavalier (27) Daze of the West (27) Thunder Riders (28) Anybody Here Seen Kelly? (28) The Shakedown (29) The Love Trap (29) The Storm (30) A House Divided (31) Her First Mate (33) Glamour (34) The Gay Deception (35) These Three (36) Come and Get It (36) Thunderbolt (45) Carrie (52) The Desperate Hours (55)

The Good Fairy (35) Jezebel (38) Mrs. Miniver (42) The Heiress (49) Detective Story (51) Carrie (52) Roman Holiday (53) The Desperate Hours (55) Friendly Persuasion (56) The Big Country (58) The Children's Hour (61)