Billy's widow dedicates reading room to his memory

Audrey Wilder, widow of Billy Wilder, has donated $500,000 to a $1.9 million capital campaign for a new Writers Guild Foundation Library at WGA West headquarters.

The library will replace the existing facility, which opened in 1996 and is dedicated to writing for motion pictures and TV. The library’s main reading room will be named in memory of Billy Wilder and his principal collaborators, Charles Brackett and I.A.L. Diamond.

“Throughout his career Billy always thought himself first and foremost as a writer,” Wilder said. “That is why it is an honor to pay tribute in this way to Billy, as well as to his two longtime writing partners.”

Billy Wilder was a founding board member of the Writers Guild Foundation when it was originally incorporated in 1966.

Writer-director Garry Marshall has also contributed $250,000 to the campaign. A reading alcove in the library will be named in his honor.

“No matter what they say, filling blank paper is the most difficult job in the entertainment industry,” Marshall said. “Thus, I love to see my scripts available in the Writers Guild library for three reasons; it makes me proud, new writers can use them as a reference and because in this town, you never know when they might do a remake.”

Veteran writer Sherwood Schwartz and former WGA West and Foundation president Mel Shavelson have also made significant contributions. The library’s Conference and Education Room will be named after them.

The library will provide three times as much floor and shelf space as than the current facility plus the 9,000 scripts now cataloged, plus 3,000 books, periodicals, tape-recorded seminars and other artifacts.

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