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Audrey Young, widow of Billy Wilder, dies at 89

Was actress at Paramount in 1940s

Audrey Young, an actress at Paramount Pictures in the 1940s and the widow of director Billy Wilder, has died. She was 89.

Wilder, one of the great directors of Hollywood’s golden age, died in 2002.

Young was a starlet and contract player at Paramount appearing in mostly uncredited roles when she met Wilder in 1944 on the set of his film “The Lost Weekend,” which starred Ray Milland as an alcoholic on a bender; Young played a hat-check girl in the film, but her scene was cut. Young and Wilder married in 1949.

The actress made her film debut in 1944’s “Lady in the Dark.” She had credited roles in movies including “George White’s Scandals,” “Follow That Woman,” “College Queen” and “Danger Street.”

Young, who had been a singer with the Tommy Dorsey Band, sometimes appeared as a lone singer or as part of singing group in her films, as in “Out of This World,” “Easy Living” and Bing Crosby vehicle “Blue Skies.”

After 1949, the year she married Wilder, she had only other film role, in 1955’s Doris Day-James Cagney starrer “Love Me or Leave Me,” but later she served as a costume consultant for Wilder on “Some Like It Hot” and “The Apartment.”

Young was born in Los Angeles; her father and uncles worked in the film industry building sets. After Wilder’s death, Audrey Wilder donated $5 million to create the Billy Wilder Theater, home of the UCLA Film & Television Archive’s cinematheque, at the Hammer Museum in Westwood.

She and Wilder did not have children, though the director had two children with his previous wife.

A private memorial is planned.

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