Billy Wilder (1906-2002) was born near Cracow in Polish Galicia, then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. His first career was journalism, but he soon moved into the German film industry as a scriptwriter. When Hitler came to power, Wilder fled to Paris and came to Hollywood in 1934. His fifty-year career there—as both director and cowriter—was one of astonishing versatility and genius, encompassing films about war, murder, alcoholism, Hollywood, sensational journalism, prison camps, criminal trials, love stories, and romance as comedy. Billy Wilder wasn nominated for twenty-one Academy Awards and won six Oscars. Jeffrey Meyers is an American biographer, literary, art and film critic. He lives in Berkeley, California.