Born in 1902 in Germany, Wyler immigrated to the U.S. when his cousin, Universal Studios chief Carl Laemmle, hired him as an errand boy. He quickly moved up the ranks, directing shorts during the silent era before transitioning into features. It was with the advent of sound that he hit his stride, displaying an ear for dialogue that would serve him well in lofty literary adaptations produced by his longtime partner, independent mogul Samuel Goldwyn.
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Wyler quickly became an Oscar mainstay, earning a record-breaking 12 nominations for Best Director: “Dodsworth