Billy Wilder, One of the Greatest Talents

Billy Wilder was one of the greataest talents that Hollywood has ever seen. Nott only did he start as a highly successful screenwriter in a language foreign to him, but he developed into a major directorial talent creating several Oscar winning movies which are regarded by many as masterpieces.

We can see his genius in some inspirational images such as Marilyn Monroe standing over a subway grating or Jack Lemon and Tony Curtis famously and successfully cross-dressing in ‘Some Like It Hot’.

One of the major characteristics of Wilder’s films is the clever dialogue and he and his co-writer, I A L Diamond were responsible for one of the most memorable final lines in movie history – in ‘Some Like It Hot’ when Jack Lemon reveals to his millionaire admirer that he is in fact a man and receiving the reply “Well, nobody’s perfect.”

Wilder was also extremely adroit at coaxing superb performances out of his actors. He directed fourteen different actors in Oscar nominated performances, with three of them winning the Award. In addition Wilder is the second highest nominated director in the history of the Oscars. He has eight nominations and two wins, second only to William Wyler.

Read more about Billy Wilder at Hollywood’s Golden Age.com
Hollywood Oscars of 1959

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William Holden, The Original Golden Boy

William Holden

William Holden was a dependable leading man whose career peaked in the 1950’s when a third of his seventy films were made. His first major film was called ‘Golden Boy’ in 1939, with Barbara Stanwyck, and the name stuck with him.

Over the course of his career William Holden received three Best Actor Academy Award nominations and won once, in 1953, for his role as the cynical sergeant in Billy Wilder’s World War II prisoner of war drama, ‘Stalag 17’.

His first Oscar nomination was for ‘Sunset Boulevard’ in 1950 in which he starred with Gloria Swanson, and in 1976 he earned his third  nomination playing the critically acclaimed role of the network news head fighting the medium’s commercialization in ‘Network’ .

A womaniser and heavy drinker, it all caught up with him in 1981 when he died in a freak accident, tripping and falling in a drunken state in his apartment and dying from loss of blood.

Click here for a full biography and filmography

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Paul Newman, the most famous blue eyes in movie history

 

Paul NewmanPaul Newman was one of Hollywood’s most warmly admired and universally loved stars. During the course of a highly successful fifty year Hollywood career he received nine acting Academy Award nominations and won once in 1986, plus two honorary awards.

He was a legendary heartthrob with superstar sex appeal, enviable good looks and muscular body, but he was a talented and convincing actor, able to portray a diversity of characters, from alcoholics to horse traders, card sharps, pool sharks, gangsters, charming conmen and ruthless syndicate boss.

 His career encompassed some of Hollywood’s biggest successes such as ‘The Hustler’ in 1961, ‘Cool Hand Luke’ in 1967′, ‘Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid’ in 1969 and ‘The Sting’ in 1973 as well as some lesser-known projects, including five which he directed himself.

He died in September, 2008, aged 83 and perhaps his greatest legacy is not his work in movies but his work in philanthropic causes. In 1982, he founded the food company, “Newman’s Own”, which today, is an enormous food business owning many food labels, and which has contributed tens of millions of dollars to charities since its inception.

The Sting

1973, The Sting, with Robert Redford

Click here for a complete biography and filmography of Paul Newman

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Joan Fontaine, Polished Hollywood

Joan FontaineJoan Fontaine is one of the few surviving actresses from the Golden Age of Hollywood. (Another one is her sister, Olivia de Havilland). Joan became famous for her early roles in the 1940’s as sophisticated but shy ingénues, and later in her career for more mature, often more calculating, women of the world.

She received three Academy Award nominations for Best Actress and won the award once, in 1941, for ‘Suspicion’, making her the only actor or actress to have been directed by Alfred Hitchcock to an Oscar winning acting performance. In the 1960’s, as her movie career slowed, Joan appeared more frequently on Broadway and television. She also had many non-acting interests and was a licensed pilot,  tuna fisherman, expert golfer, and a Cordon Bleu chef.

 Joan Fontaine, Judith Anderson in Alfred Hitchcock's Rebecca

Joan Fontaine, Judith Anderson in Alfred Hitchcock's Rebecca

Click here for a biography and filmography of JoanFontaine.
1941 Hollywood Oscars – the year of Joan Fontaine’s Best Actress win

Joan Fontaine, 1935
Joan Fontaine, 1935
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