The extraordinary life of the legendary, under-celebrated Hollywood director known in his day as "Wild Bill" Wellman, whose 82 movies (six of them uncredited) ranged from adventure and gangster pictures to comedies, aviation, romances, westerns, and searing social dramas. Among his iconic pictures: the pioneering World War I epic Wings (winner of the first Academy Award for best picture), Public Enemy (the toughest gangster picture of them all), Nothing Sacred, the original A Star Is Born, Beggars of Life, The Call of the Wild, The Ox-Bow Incident, Battleground, The High and the Mighty. Wellman directed Hollywood's biggest stars for three decades, including Clark Gable, Gary Cooper, Barbara Stanwyck, John Wayne, Lauren Bacall, and Clint Eastwood. It was said he directed "like a general trying to break out of a beachhead." Here is a revealing, boisterous portrait of the handsome, tough-talking, hard-drinking, uncompromising maverick, whose own life story was more adventurous and more unpredictable than anything in the movies. A juvenile delinquent, professional ice-hockey player as a kid, World War I flying ace at 21, Wellman was a wing-walking stunt pilot in barnstorming air shows, recipient of the Croix de Guerre with two Gold Palm Leaves and five United States citations; a bad actor but good studio messenger at Goldwyn Pictures who worked his way up from assistant cutter. Now William Wellman, Jr., drawing on his father's unpublished letters, diaries, and unfinished memoir, gives us the first full portrait of a profoundly American spirit and visionary, a man's man who was able to put into cinematic storytelling the most subtle of feeling, a man feared, respected, and loved.--From publisher description.