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Tuesday, 2 April, 2002, 08:45 GMT 09:45 UK
Billy Wilder: Your tributes
Oscar-winning filmmaker Billy Wilder has died of pneumonia aged 95.

Born in Austria in 1906, the director of Sunset Boulevard, Some Like it Hot and Double Indemnity is reported to have died at his home in Beverly Hills.

Billy Wilder - who arrived in the US escaping from Nazism - became the first filmmaker to win three Academy Awards in a year.

Send your tributes.

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.


Your reaction


Billy Wilder's death is the death of a generation of comedy

Earl, USA
Billy Wilder's death is the death of a generation of comedy. His subject matter was never comedy to poke fun at how unhip a character was or how unappealing they were. He merely invites us along in these people's fictional lives and allows us to laugh when we feel like it. I laughed so hard and frequently watching "One Two Three" that my stomach muscles hurt afterwards. Thank you Mr. Wilder for making people laugh. It's a talent that is too frequently overlooked.
Earl, USA

I have a collection of his movies. I would pick "Some like it Hot". Brilliant. He will be missed.
Gary Hunt, England

What a great writer and director. He made some of the best movies ever. He'll be missed by all.
Jason & Jakob Lundy, USA

Not only did Mr. Wilder write and film masterpieces in their own genre but he was an unassuming, humble man. Art in general, and not only cinema, has lost a true genius. God Bless Him
Jaime Gelabert, USA


Even a mediocre Wilder film is a classic compared to today's cinema

Lori Hoffman, USA
Even a mediocre Wilder film is a classic compared to today's cinema. Everybody knows the lines from Some Like It Hot, and The Apartment, but my favourite Billy Wilder line comes from my favourite Billy Wilder film: "I've heard of hard-boiled, but you're 20 minutes." The movie is Ace In The Hole (aka The Big Carnival), easily the most cynical look at the newspaper business ever put to celluloid. This will be the movie I watch in tribute.
Lori Hoffman, USA

A great writer and director - 'Some Like It Hot' is one of the greatest comedies ever made!
Norman Reynolds, UK

I've seen many examples of Hollywood's entertainment product. "The Apartment" remains my favourite, but several of the others (e.g. "Witness For The Prosecution" & "Some Like It Hot") come very close.
Gerald J. Pass, USA

Billy Wilder is what made me love movies, what sent me to film school, and remains the preposterously high standard I judge every other film by. My deepest thanks.
Diana, USA

Although "nobody's perfect", Billy Wilder's films usually were. I will miss you, Maestro.
Petr K., Prague, Czechia

Without your vision, imagination and hard work, we would have missed so much! Thank You Billy!
Barbara L., America


For a man who couldn't speak a word of English to write and direct some of the greatest films of all time is a wonderful thing

Renate Samson, England
For a man who couldn't speak a word of English to write and direct some of the greatest films of all time is a wonderful thing. I thank him for so many great moments and I along with many others will miss him enormously.
Renate Samson, England

Today's films are insulting to the intellect and to the imagination. Wilder's films will be remembered long after the rubbish produced by the current generation is forgotten.
Glenn Knowles, USA

"Double Indemnity" and "The Apartment" were the only reason I respected and stayed interested in, black and white movies. A shame, but his movies will live on for him.
Ken, UK

I feel sorry to learning the sad news. He was such a great movie man in all respects. I thank him for giving so much spiritual pleasure to so many moviegoers. Here is another example of so many in the world owe so much to just one man. I hope I can see some of his pictures again.
PN Cheng, Hong Kong


Let's not forget Wilder's credit for Ninotchka, the superb comedy that not only amused millions but also captured the essence of the East vs. West issue

Miodrag, Serbia
Let's not forget Wilder's credit for Ninotchka, the superb comedy that not only amused millions but also captured the essence of the East vs. West issue. Way back in 1939 (!) the film said it all about Capitalism vs. Communism and no high-brow debate among politicians, philosophers and others, before or after, could add much to what was so elegantly sublimed in Ninotchka. The film predicted the outcome of the Cold War before it officially began.
Miodrag, Serbia

I've had many contacts with Austrians over the years and find that they are very worldly. Wilder was typically Austrian and his worldliness and ingrained sophistication are what gave the films he directed their fibber, their durability. Perhaps the globalisation of cultures won't give us another Wilder and that I accept. What worries me is that future generations may not appreciate his work.
Nora Rotussney, USA

Two of the best films I have ever seen were 'Some Like it Hot' and 'The Apartment' that were directed by Billy. Those of you who haven't seen them - You must as a tribute to Billy Wilder. Thank you, Billy.
Emma Reilly, England


Cinema has lost one of its irreplaceable masters

Lara Petrossians, UK
I was once assigned to translate a two-and-a-half hour TV programme on Wilder which showed the man in action. It was interesting to see how he worked with actors and actresses such as Marilyn Monroe, who could be very difficult at times, and how meticulously he worked on screenplays etc. I enjoyed every second of it and thought that truly was a cinema course for me. His films are so genuine, engaging and unpretentious. I just love watching "Some Like it Hot" over and over again. So sad that cinema has lost one of its irreplaceable masters.
Lara Petrossians, UK

Worth being alive just to laugh at "Some Like It Hot".
Gilbert White, London, UK

"Some Like it Hot" & "Double Indemnity" were special to me. May you rest now in a far better place than this. Billy Wilder you will be remembered always, as one of the greats, you will be missed very much.
Foxylady,


Billy Wilder was a true master of his medium and I look forward to many many more years of entertainment through his remarkable body of work

Susan, Edinburgh
Over a year ago my brother and I happened across Sunset Boulevard on BB2 and were instantly engrossed. We spent that afternoon spontaneously and wonderfully entertained by a masterful piece of filmmaking. Billy Wilder was a true master of his medium and I look forward to many many more years of entertainment through his remarkable body of work. Thank you Mr Wilder.
Susan, Edinburgh

I was working in a theatre when "Some Like It Hot" was released. I watched it 4 or 5 times in a row...I couldn't stop laughing. I almost had to throw myself out!
Bob Brunner, USA

He gave the world "Some Like It Hot". What better example is there of his genius? He will always be remembered through his work, but particularly in this legendary example of film comedy.
Lou, UK

"Stalag 17" is standing the test of time. It's still one of the best! Thanks Mr. Wilder
Jim , United States

He came to the U.S. when he was almost 30 speaking almost no English and within a few years was writing some of the wittiest scripts of all time. Some of his best films are some of his less well-known: Ace in the Hole, One Two Three (my personal favorite Wilder film), Kiss Me Stupid, The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, Avanti!. Unfortunately, Hollywood no longer believes in wit and it's unlikely a talent like Wilder's will come our way again.
Jose P., Mexico

In this sad age of cookie cutter cinema, his literate and witty approach to filmmaking will be sorely missed.
Robert del Valle, USA

He directed the greatest example of Film Noir, Double Indemnity, and, 15 years later, the greatest comedy, Some Like It Hot
Nick Gledhill, United Kingdom


He was arguably the greatest screenwriter.

Mitch, USA
One of the two or three greatest directors to ever work in the Hollywood studio system, he was arguably the greatest screenwriter. When I look at Hollywood today and watch what is supposed to be the cream of the crop ("A Beautiful Mind," "Gladiator"), it makes Wilder's passing even sadder. We need people with Wilder's talents more than ever.
Mitch, USA

Mr Wilder is a wonderful and very caring man. I worked with him for 2 and a half years as his personal help. He taught me a lot in life (especially when he told me the mind of the genius is always advanced, not only seeing what¿s before you but also beyond that). He loves to read he is a diligent student of current events, he knows what is happening in Zimbabwe or in other parts of the world that need to be read about. He told me one time if you want to succeed in life work hard, study and be an admirer of arts and classic music, he likes to sing volare and the works of Mozart (since they came from the same country). I'm gonna miss him, He's the best for me... bye, Mr Wilder, I wont forget you....
rekz, USA

I have seen "Some Like it Hot" probably 50 times, and I still laugh. If a funnier movie was ever made, I haven't seen it.
Robert, USA


I can't think of any other director who has left such a rich legacy.

Marten King, USA
I was introduced to Billy's films by a German friend, whose personal favourite was "Some Like It Hot." I have since watched a number of his movies. I can't think of any other director who has left such a rich legacy. I have never seen one I didn't like. Thanks Billy!
Marten King, USA

The best director comedy-wise, drama-wise , and otherwise-wise
Kevin Rutherford, Poland

I paid no attention to who directed the film until I saw Billy Wilder's films. Even now, I can't come up with anything more than clichéd phrases that don't measure up to his excellence. He was an extraordinary master of a uniquely difficult medium, a great artist and storyteller.
Laure Paquette, Canada

I feel a loss with the death of Mr. Wilder as a young filmmaker. "Double Indemnity" is one film I have returned to and pondered many times as I have tried to work out important questions in my own work. May you rest in peace and thank you for the body of work you left behind.
Kael Moffat, Oklahoma, USA

The King Is Dead. Simply the greatest there ever was.
Gadsby, London/Los Angeles

He was a scientist, so to speak, because he shot films like experiments, and he told us those things than nobody saw and then he changed the world.
Juan Carlos Fauvety, Argentina

The world is a sad place today. I can't imagine what my life would have been like without Billy Wilder's films. I have cried with them and laughed with them. Wilder's genius made me the person I am today.
Lesley Kempson, Toronto, Canada


Yes, he died, but his work will always keep him alive

Dipen, Nepal
This brilliant man found a way to fit sophisticated Viennese humour into a Hollywood mould - an amazing achievement. it up!
Abu Amaal, US

A truly remarkable man who will forever leave his mark on the world of cinema. His movies have stood the test of time, and still seem sharp and relevant to this day.
Pete Clarke, UK

Great films - unique and forever memorable. The golden age of film is now past.
George, Australia

Billy Wilder was one the greatest writers/directors in cinema history. He leaves behind him a legacy of superb films, each made with great style, wit, invention, and a healthy dose of cynicism. He truly was a one off and will be sorely missed.
Frazer, England

The only director who really understood Marilyn Monroe and recognised her true talent - and so he secured her finest performances.
Bill Bemister, Oxford, England

A Class Act. We'll never see the likes of his genius again. All of his films are treasured moments.
Seena, USA

I have seen "Some Like it Hot" probably 50 times, and I still laugh. If a funnier movie was ever made, I haven't seen it.
Robert, USA


His body of work will show film viewers yet to be born how it was done in the 20th Century.

John, Chicago
I love the 'minor' classics like Sabrina and Love in the Afternoon - it's so nice to be able to watch a film all the way through with a smile on your face.
Nicky Leech, England

If only for the scene in the Apartment where Fred MacMurray wheedles the key away from Jack Lemmon, Mr Wilder will always be remembered.
G.Collinge, Canada

His death as well as Dudley Moore's has made this week a sad week in media industry.
Kiaha, USA

One of the greats - certainly the greatest of the '50s film-makers. His movies were funny, poignant, and provocative in a time when most films only needed one adjective to describe them. Thank you!
Anna Stevens, USA

Yes, he died but his work will always keep him alive
Dipen, Nepal

An amazing talent. His body of work will show film viewers yet to be born how it was done in the 20th Century.
John, Chicago, USA

Wilder gone. Lennon Gone. Kubrick gone. Milligan gone. Ron Howard and Russell Crowe still here! There is no justice.
Walter Sheldrake, England

Recently, I watched "The Apartment" after not seeing it for many years. It is still brilliant, and reflects both the humour and the sensitivity of Billy Wilder. He was an original.
Gary, Japan

No other director today can even compare. From the intriguing Sunset Boulevard to the sobering Lost Weekend, Billy has given us countless hours of enjoyment through his genius filmmaking. I wished that more directors today would learn from him.
Angeline Calvin, California USA

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. You truly epitomize what being an American is all about; starting a new life, escaping from past turmoil or oppression and being the best at what you do. Rest in peace.
Mike, USA

Billy Wilder's gift to me was Sabrina. That movie took me to Paris and later inspired my daughter at 15 to perfect chocolate souffle! He was the master of his craft.
Jeannette Vidgen, USA

Simply, the Best.
Philip Collins, USA

I first saw Billy Wilder's "One Two Three" on BBC-TV while stationed in the US Air Force in England about 30 years ago. I couldn't stop laughing during the entire film. What made it tough was that there were no breaks for adverts so I could go to the loo!
G. J. Schober, New York

I can't think of many directors who created so many bona fide classics in so many different genres. He will be missed
Salim Adam, United Kingdom


The Apartment, Some Like it Hot, Sunset Boulevard, Double Indemnity, Stalag 17 - to have made just one of these films would rank any director among the greats

Kevin Rogers, UK
No director made such a high proportion of quality films. Sunset Boulevard was his greatest but "lesser" ones such as Ace In The Hole only serve to underline his depth. The film industry, and the world, has truly lost a giant today.
Charles, UK

I interviewed him once, about twenty years ago, for a film we were making about the DeNazification of postwar Germany. He made extremely vivid, very Wilder-ish films for the German public, to tell them about the crueller aspects of the Nazis and of which they knew, or professed to know, very little. The short documentary films he made during that brief period in Germany may not have been entertaining, but they had an effect for good that was every bit as profound as his more famous feature films of later years. He was an exceptional talent, the like of whom we will not see again for a very long while.
Simon W., Massachusetts, USA

No-one today comes close, a truly unique writer/director, funny, scathing, humane, joyful, he had it all and did it better than anyone. Plus he survived 2 movies with Marilyn!
Stuart Marshall, UK

The Apartment, Some Like it Hot, Sunset Boulevard, Double Indemnity, Stalag 17 - to have made just one of these films would rank any director among the greats. However, Wilder made them all, and many more, and surely this great legacy of some of the greatest writing direction will be his claim to greatness, like Kubrick. My favourite is The Apartment as it was so ahead of its time and because it's a super, little film.
Kevin Rogers, UK

I recall watching his movie "One, Two, Three" as a kid and laughing hysterically, I still do when I see it. He was a unique talent and personality who thankfully escaped the Holocaust.The drab and grey money people now direct the films themselves and it shows; all the gold can never create natural born beings like Billy Wilder. Dankeschoen Billy for all the wonderful good laughs.
Kevin, USA

One of the smartest people to ever direct and one of the funniest. It was a dream of mine to meet him someday, and now I'll have to settle for his great films.
James Hudnall, Las Vegas, USA

Lamenting the death of another legendary talent. Some Like it Hot is the greatest film ever made!
Ruth Allen, Scotland

I just loved The Apartment. It's such a lonesome, fun and extremely exciting story. We can see there people that are quite normal,but everything is displayed with so much simplicity and honesty.
Cristobal Gonzalez-Aller, Spain

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