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William Wellman

Born: February 29, 1896, Brookline, Massachusetts
Died: December 19, 1975 (age 79), Los Angeles, California

William Augustus Wellman was an American movie director, noted for directing the film which received the first Academy Award for Best Picture, Wings (1927). 

Throughout his long career, during which Wellman helmed over 80 films, he was a prolific director of crime, adventure and action films, often focusing on aviation themes, a particular passion.

He also directed several acclaimed satirical comedies.

What do you know about William Wellman? Fly away in this quick quiz.

1. William was a great-great-great grandson of Francis Lewis of New York, one of the signatories to the Declaration of Independence.

  • Fact or Myth?

2. In World War I Wellman enlisted in the Norton-Harjes Ambulance Corps as an ambulance driver. While in Paris, Wellman joined the French Foreign Legion and was assigned in 3 December 1917 as a fighter pilot and the first American to join N.87 escadrille in the Lafayette Flying Corps (not the sub-unit Lafayette Escadrille as usually stated), where he earned himself the nickname "Wild Bill" and received the Croix de Guerre with two palms. How many "kills" did he have?

  • 2
  • 3
  • 5

3. After the Armistice, Wellman returned to the United States, wrote a book about his exploits (with the help of a ghostwriter), and joined the United States Army Air Service. He taught combat tactics to new pilots.  Where was he stationed?

  • Rockwell Field, San Diego
  • Luke Field, Arizona
  • Roosevelt Field, Long Island

4. Wellman made his directorial debut in 1920 at Fox, for which he was not credited. What was the movie?

  • Anchors Away
  • The Twins of Suffering Creek
  • Fired Up

5. Wellman was hired by Paramount in 1927 to direct a major war drama dealing with fighter pilots during World War I that was highlighted by air combat and flight sequences. The film culminates with the epic Battle of Saint-Mihiel. It was the first film to win an Academy Award for Best Picture. What was the film?

  • The High and The Mighty
  • The Red Baron
  • Wings

6. In his career, Wellman won a single Academy Award, for the directing of The High and The Mighty.

  • Fact or Myth?

7. How many times was Wellman married?

  • 2 times
  • 4 times
  • 6 times

8. In 1958, Wellman directed his last film. He also produced, wrote the story for and narrated the film. What was the movie?

  • Westward the Women
  • Island in the Sky
  • Lafayette Escadrille

9. What was Wellman's cause of death?

  • Leukemia
  • Heart Attack
  • Airplane crash

10. Where is William Wellman buried?

  • Cremated, his ashes were scattered at sea
  • Forest Lawn, Glendale, California
  • Newton Cemetery, Newton Highlands, Massachusetts

Answers

1. Fact

2. 3

3. Rockwell Field, San Diego

4. The Twins of Suffering Creek

5. Wings

6. Myth. In his career, Wellman won a single Academy Award, for the story of A Star Is Born.

7. 4

8. Lafayette Escadrille

9. Leukemia

Angels on your pillow10. Cremated, his ashes were scattered at sea

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