Born July 1, 1902, in Alsace, Germany, Wyler came to the United States at age 18 to work for his cousin Carl Laemmle, the head of Universal Pictures. In 1936, he began a long collaboration with Samuel Goldwyn that would result in some of his finest films, including Wuthering Heights, The Little Foxes and The Letter.
After serving in World War II, Wyler made what many believe to be his greatest film, The Best Years of Our Lives -- though even it couldn't match the record 11 Oscars his 1959 epic Ben-Hur received. Wyler died July 27, 1981.
Charlton Heston plays Judah Ben-Hur, a proud Jew who runs afoul of ambitious boyhood friend Messala (Stephen Boyd) in this 1959 epic that boasts an unforgettable chariot race and earned 11 Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Actor (Heston) and Best Director (William Wyler). Condemned to life as a slave, Judah swears vengeance against Messala and escapes, later crossing paths with a gentle prophet named Jesus.