Author(s): William A. Wellman, Jr.
The extraordinary life-the first--of the legendary, undercelebrated Hollywood director known in his day as "Wild Bill" (and he was!) Wellman, whose 82 movies--many of them iconic, many of them sharp, cold, brutal, others poetic, moving--all of them a lesson in close-up art--ranged from adventure and gangster pictures to comedies, aviation, romance, westerns, and searing social dramas: His pioneering, daring picture-making forever changed Hollywood and the way movies were made. Now, William Wellman, Jr., drawing on his father's unpublished letters, diaries, notes, and unfinished memoir, gives us the first full portrait of the man--the son, the husband, the father, director, artist. Wellman directed Hollywood's biggest stars during three decades, including Gary Cooper, Clark Gable, Barbara Stanwyck, Henry Fonda, Gregory Peck, John Wayne, Lauren Bacall, Clint Eastwood, Robert Mitchum. He made pictures with producers like Darryl Zanuck, Nunnally Johnson, David O. Selznick, Howard Hughes among them . . . David O. Selznick called him, "One of the motion pictures' greatest craftsmen." Robert Redford described him as, "Feisty, independent, self-taught, and self-made. He stood his ground and fought his battles for artistic integrity, never wavering, always clear in his film sense . . . He has left a great gift in the annals of film achievement." Among Wellman's iconic pictures: the pioneering WWI epic, "Wings" (winner of the first Academy Award for best picture); "Public Enemy" (the toughest gangster picture of them all); "Nothing Sacred" (the classic social screwball comedy satire); the original "A Star is Born" (Wellman co-wrote and directed it); "Beggars of Life; The Call of the Wild; Beau Geste; The High and the Mighty . . . "and many more of equal distinction and greatness.
WILLIAM A. WELLMAN, JR., is the author of" The Man and His Wings." He has written articles for many magazines including "Film Comment, Films in Review, "and "DGA News." He is an actor and screenwriter and was executive producer of "Wild Bill: Hollywood Maverick, " an award-winning documentary about his father. Wellman, Jr. lives in Sherman Oaks, California with his wife.