The U.S. Postal Service is set to bestow the greatest honor in its arsenal upon Billy Wilder –yes, the late, great film director is about to get his very own stamp. His will be part of the USPS’ “Great Director” series, which also includes Frank Capra, John Huston and John Ford.
Billy Wilder was born as “Samuel” in 1906 in Austria-Hungary (now Poland). He was already working in film by the time Adolf Hitler came to power. He left Germany (where he was working as a writer), first for Paris and then for the U.S. His mother, grandmother and stepfather all died in Auschwitz.
In the U.S., he quickly found the expat community of German filmmakers, including Ernst Lubitsch. (Don’t worry if this name means nothing to you. It probably only has significance to people who have taken a grad class in Weimar film, like this blogger, or other similarly pretentious individuals.)
Though he directed one of the classics of film noir, Double Indemnity, Wilder is best known for the classic cross-dressing movie, Some Like It Hot, starring Marilyn Monroe, Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis. The image of Monroe on the commemorative stamp is from that famous film.