Motion Picture Director. Tough, carousing Hollywood director-writer whose film "Wings" won the first Academy Award presented for Best Picture in 1929. Bored with homework at his Brookline, Massachusetts high school, he devoted his afternoons to hockey. He turned to flying, later becoming a fighter ace with the Lafayette Escadrille in World War I. His wartime exploits so impressed Douglas Fairbanks Sr. that after the war the swashbuckling star extended Wellman an invitation to play a part in the film "Knickerbocker Kangaroo." He decided he "was frightful" as an actor and switched to directing. In 1920 he made his first film, "The Twins of Suffering Creek." Seven years later, directing "Wings," he got so involved in the production that he "all but gave up my principal occupations of the time... wenching, boozing and brawling." Other classics he directed included "The Public Enemy" (1931), "A Star Is Born" (1937), "Beau Geste" (1939), and perhaps his finest film, "The Ox-Bow Incident" (1943).