Monday, July 13, 2020

Seven Things to Know About I.A.L. Diamond

1. Beginning with Love in the Afternoon (1957), I.A.L. Diamond wrote twelve movies with Billy Wilder over a period of 25 years. Their biggest hits included Some Like It Hot (1959), The Apartment (1960), One, Two, Three (1961), and The Fortune Cookie (1966). Diamond and Wilder won an Academy Award for original screenplay for The Apartment and were Oscar-nominated for Some Like It Hot and The Fortune Cookie.

2. In a Vanity Fair interview with Cameron Crowe, Billy Wilder talked of his collaboration with I.A.L. Diamond: "It’s always very difficult for me to say, 'This is mine and this is his,' always, except of course I have to give him credit for 'Nobody’s perfect' (the closing line in Some Like It Hot). Because that’s the thing they jump on, and I say, 'That was a temporary line, suggested by Mr. Diamond.' And it wound up to be our funniest last line."

3. Diamond was born Itek Domneci and immigrated from what's now Moldova to the U.S. when he was nine. His father changed the family's last name to Diamond.  However, it was Itek who legally changed his first name to I.A.L.--allegedly because it sounded more literary. Another story is that the I.A.L. stood for Interscholastic Algebra League; the young Diamond was a math wiz who was the league's champion. In Hollywood, Diamond became known simply as Iz.

Cary Grant and Ginger Rogers.
4. Although Diamond was known mostly for writing with Wilder, he also wrote or co-wrote films such as:  Never Say Goodbye (1946) with Errol Flynn; Monkey Business (1952) with Cary Grant and Ginger Rogers; Merry Andrew (1958) with Danny Kaye; and Cactus Flower (1969) with Walter Matthau, Ingrid Bergman, and Goldie Hawn (who won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress).

5. Billy Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond were widely admired by their fellow screenwriters. They were nominated for the Writer Guild Association (WGA) award ten times and won three (Love in the Afternoon, Some Like It Hot, and The Apartment). The WGA honored Diamond with its honorary Laurel Award for Screenwriting Achievement in 1980.

6. I.A.L. Diamond married Barbara Ann Bentley in 1945. They remained together until his death in 1988, at age 67, of multiple myeloma. They had two children, son Paul and daughter Ann. Paul became a screenwriter and penned scripts for TV series such as Miami Vice Married...With Children, and Knight Rider.

I.A.L. Diamond and Billy Wilder.
7. In the Vanity Fair interview, Billy Wilder also described his highly successful working relationship with Diamond: "We never talked about personal things. That was the beauty of it. I came in the morning; he came in the morning. He gets The Hollywood Reporter and I get Variety. Then we exchanged the trade papers, and then we said, 'Now, where are we?' 'Oh, yes . . .' And then it goes on. He was a unique man, so unique. It was not a collaboration like with (Charles) Brackett, where he told me who his dentist is, kind of things that don’t belong, you know. But Iz Diamond was a very taciturn guy, my partner. It was wonderful to talk about dialogue, or about structure. He was always on the set with me."

4 comments:

  1. That was really interesting. I enjoyed the insight into the process and the tidbits about Mr. Diamond.

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  2. As time goes by, "The Apartment" just keeps getting better, and the screenplay continues to be transcendent. "One, Two, Three" also ages well.

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  3. There's a lot to be said about having a working partnership that never gets personal. Sometimes that is the best way to go about it.

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  4. I recently bought a book of conversations between Cameron Crowe and Billy Wilder. Can’t wait to dive into it. This info on IAL Diamond is most fascinating. Mr. Diamond and Mr. Wilder, what a remarkable writing team... good grief, Some Like it Hot AND The Apartment!

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