Robert Wise

What began as an odd job at RKO Studios at age 14 blossomed into a filmmaking career that spanned a half-century. Born Sept. 10, 1914, in Winchester, Ind., Robert Wise worked his way up to become one of RKO's top editors, contributing to classics such as Citizen Kane and The Magnificent Ambersons.

In 1944, Wise moved into the director's seat with The Curse of the Cat People, and during the 1950s, he directed a string of films that explored important topical issues, including Executive Suite, the fact-based I Want to Live! (which garnered an Oscar for Susan Hayward) and Odds Against Tomorrow, believed by many to be the last true film noir.

In the 1960s, Wise reached the peak of his career, directing and producing the blockbuster musicals West Side Story and The Sound of Music -- both of which earned him Best Picture and Best Director Oscars. Wise died Sept. 14, 2005.