I watched part of a wonderful interview last night on Turner Classics with the great director/writer Billy Wilder. It was rather interesting in that in parts of the interview, he spoke English and part German, which was his native tongue. This guy was quite the brilliant filmmaker, writing and directing things like The Apartment, Some Like It Hot, The Seven Year Itch, Double Indemnity (which I watched after the interview. GREAT movie with Fred Macmurray as an adultering murderer. Steve Douglas a killer?!?), The Lost Weekend, Sunset Boulevard, Sabrina and others. Billy Wilder somewhat resembled Barney Rubble and lived to be something like 96 years old. I don't know when this interview was done, but, it was great. His memory and recall was fantastic and he was full of great stories and rememberances of some of the people he worked with. He was quite honest and straightforward about the people he worked with.
He talked a lot about William Holden, who is one of my absolute favorite actors. Mr. Smiff knows I have a thing for William Holden. Charisma out the ying-yang and a gorgeous man, Mr. Holden was also a pretty good actor. (I don't have a thing for old Bill Holden in The Towering Inferno, though. The horn rimmed glasses and ugly tuxedo just don't do it for me.) He was the best man at Ronald Reagan's wedding to Nancy. He had liasons with people like Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly and Stefanie Powers. He was a real adventurer in his life and traveled all over the world. He had fallen in love with Africa and I believe, he had a home somewhere in Kenya and spent a ton of money supporting wildlife preserves and stuff there. He worked up until not long before he died, in spite of his fondness for things of the alocholic nature.
Rex Camino was talking earlier about ways one would and wouldn't want to die. The way William Holden died is one of the saddest stories ever. Billy Wilder even talked a heap about it in that interview. He said he would've expected Holden to die by a spear during one of his African safaris or in a plane crash in a harbor in Hong Kong, but, to die by the corner of his nightstand in a dinky little apartment? No way. But that's what happened to him. You can read the story here and even see the autopsy report. (Warning-this page is addicting!)
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