A native of Vienna, Austria, director William Thiele began his career at the age of 19 as a stage actor following studies at the Vienna Conservatory. In 1923, he directed his first Austrian film. Three years later, he was working with the UFA in Berlin where he became known for making entertaining, lighthearted mainstream films. In 1930, he earned international acclaim for Die Drei von der Tankstelle/Three From the Gas Station. He worked briefly in France during the early '30s but left when the Nazis took over. After a stopover in England, he landed in Hollywood where he began directing films of average quality. In 1936, he assisted Josef von Sternberg on The King Steps Out. Later in life, Thiele returned to Germany.