Grew up in Connorsville, Indiana
After dropping out of college moved to Southern California, where his brother worked as an accountant at RKO Pictures
Hired by RKO as general editing gofer; promoted to apprentice sound editor after nine months; then music editor (i.e., "The Gay Divorcee" 1934 and "Top Hat" 1935)
Moved up to assistant picture editor, working under William Hamilton
First three films as co-editor (with Hamilton); "Fifth Avenue Girl", "The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle" and "The Hunchback of Notre Dame"
First two films as sole editor; "My Favorite Wife" and "Dance, Girl, Dance"
Edited both "Citizen Kane" (1941) and "The Magnificent Ambersons" (1942) for Orson Welles; earned Oscar nomination for his work on "Citizen Kane"
First film as co-director (due to illness and slowness of project's original director, Gunther von Fritsch), "The Curse of the Cat People"
First film as sole director, "Mademoiselle Fifi"
Helmed the supertough cult film noir "Born to Kill"; uncharacteristically mean-spirited for Wise
Made first boxing picture "The Set-Up", starring Robert Ryan
RKO (then in the hands of Howard Hughes) dropped Wise's contract; departed for three-year, nonexclusive contract with 20th Century-Fox
Directed the sci-fi classic "The Day the Earth Stood Still"
Teamed with two former RKO editors, director Mark Robson and producer Theron Warth, to form Aspen Productions; company released only two pictures, Wise's "The Captive City" (1952) and Robson's "Return to Paradise" (1953)
Brought into MGM fold to direct "Executive Suite"; following its preview, MGM signed Wise to three-year contract
Provided Paul Newman his big break in "Somebody Up There Likes Me", the boxing tale of Rocky Graziano; Wise's biggest hit of the 1950s
Received second Oscar nomination (this time for Best Director) for "I Want to Live!", starring Susan Hayward
First film as producer, "Odds Against Tomorrow"; also directed
Co-directed "West Side Story" with Jerome Robbins; also was one of the film's producers; won Best Director Oscar and Best Picture Oscar
Completed original commitment to MGM with a return to the horror genre, "The Haunting"
Earned third and fourth Oscars for directing and producing "The Sound of Music", starring Julie Andrews
Experienced box-office failure with "Star!", a biopic of Gertrude Lawrence starring Julie Andrews
Joined with Robson (again), James Bridges and former Paramount vice president Bernard Sonnenfield to form the Filmmaker's Group
Produced and directed film adaptation of Michael Cricton's first novel "The Andromeda Strain"
Boarded the Enterprise to direct "Star Trek--The Motion Picture"
Directed last feature to date, "Rooftops", an urban B musical about a teenaged white male, his forbidden Hispanic girlfriend, drug pushers and a form of "combat dancing" (martial arts without the sound of bones snapping)
Screen acting debut in John Landis' "The Stupids"
Received American Film Institute Life Achievement Award
Returned to directing at the helm of the Showtime remake of the TV-movie "A Storm in Summer"