Nobody's Perfect: Billy Wilder, a Personal Biography |
Having been introduced to each other by Groucho Marx in the mid-1970s, Charlotte Chandler became the biographer of this legendary screenwriter/director. Charlotte made frequent trips to Hollywood to spend time with Wilder and his wife, Audrey. At every visit the tape-recorder was left on, and their conversations were preserved. Over time, Wilder introduced her to his friends, who also were taped for inclusion in the book. The result is an amazing wealth of riches, conversations that are as fresh and vital now as when they were recorded. Included are such greats as Gloria Swanson, William Holden, Ginger Rogers, Kirk Douglas, Audrey Hepburn, Jimmy Stewart, Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon, Shirley MacLaine and Henry Fonda. The portrait they present of Wilder is both loving and complex, an amalgam of adoration and respect. For Wilder, these were actors, and as long as they did their job well, he wanted to be with them. A case in point is Marilyn Monroe. Wilder made two films with her, SEVEN YEAR ITCH and SOME LIKE IT HOT, and both times he spoke openly about the difficulty working with the emotionally unstable star, 'Marilyn was like smoking,' Wilder revealed. 'I knew she was bad for my health, but I couldn't give her up.'