The Making of Billy Wilder

Noah Isenberg at The Paris Review:

Although Wilder père had other plans for his son—a respectable, stable career in the law, an exalted path for good Jewish boys of interwar Vienna—Billie was drawn, almost habitually, to the seductive world of urban and popular culture and to the stories generated and told from within it. “I just fought with my father to become a lawyer,” he recounted for the filmmaker Cameron Crowe in Conversations with Wilder: “That I didn’t want to do, and I saved myself, by having become a newspaperman, a reporter, very badly paid.” As he explains a bit further in the same interview, “I started out with crossword puzzles, and I signed them.” (Toward the end of his life, after having racked up six Academy Awards, Wilder told his German biographer that it wasn’t so much the awards he was most proud of, but rather that his name had appeared twice in the New York Times crossword puzzle: “once 17 across and once 21 down.”)

more here.