UCLA wild for Billy

Hammer Museum debuts Billy Wilder Theater

Sunday’s opening of the Hammer Museum’s Billy Wilder Theater pulled off a neat trick: a low-key gathering but with roughly 295 of show business’ elite “old school.”

The 295 “raspberry pink” leather seats (someone likes their colors hot) were filled with guests including Jerry Perenchio, Peter Guber, Mo Ostin, Jeff Berg, J.J. Abrams, Oliver Stone, Dustin Hoffman, Jerry Moss, Fay Kanin, Max Palevsky and Nancy Livingston, the star of “Sunset Boulevard.”

The theater’s christening began with a reception in the museum’s courtyard followed by a screening of Wilder clips introduced by UCLA’s Robert Rosen (this will be the school’s new screening venue); Warren Beatty and Annette Bening; Curtis Hanson, Cameron Crowe, and Hammer board chair John Tunney.

Focus of the remarks was on both the late director and his wife, Audrey, who was introduced to a standing ovation as the “principal benefactor” of the theater’s construction.

“He was an L.A. guy,” Crowe said at the reception. “He loved the teams, the haunts, the history. He worked in Beverly Hills and lived in a Westwood high-rise. These were his mean streets.”