William Holden Biography

(One of the Greatest Male Stars of Classical Hollywood Cinema)

Birthday: April 17, 1918 (Aries)

Born In: O'Fallon, Illinois, United States

William Franklin Beedle, Jr., more commonly known as William Holden, was an American actor who became famous for his most memorable role in ‘Stalag 17’ in 1953 which helped him get the Academy Award for the ‘Best Actor. He also won the ‘Primetime Emmy Award’ for bring the most ‘Outstanding Lead Actor’ in the television film ‘The Blue Knight’ in 1973. He became very popular as an actor during 1950 to 1970 and acted in many blockbuster films during that time such as ‘The Bridge on the River Kwai’, ‘Sunset Boulevard’, ‘The Wild Bunch’, ‘The Towering Inferno’, ‘Sabrina’ and ‘Network’. He became one of the ‘Top 10 Stars of the Year’ on six occasions and his name was included in the list of ‘25 Greatest Male Stars’ in Hollywood brought out by the ‘American Film Institute’. He had the nickname of ‘Golden Boy’ from his first film and was also sometimes called Golden Holden. He spent a lot of time travelling to Africa where he ran the ‘Mount Kenya Safari Club’ with a partner and Switzerland. He was chosen as the sixty-third among the ‘100 sexiest stars’ in the history of films. He was the best man at the wedding of Ronald and Nancy Reagan.
Quick Facts

Also Known As: William Franklin Beedle Jr

Died At Age: 63


Spouse/Ex-: Brenda Marshall, Stefanie Powers

father: William Franklin Beedle Sr.

mother: Mary Blanche Ball

siblings: Richard P. Beedle, Robert Westfield Beedle

children: Arlene Holden, Peter Westfield Holden, Scott Porter Holden, Virginia Holden

Actors American Men

Height: 5'10" (178 cm), 5'10" Males

Died on: November 12, 1981

place of death: Santa Monica, California, United States

Ancestry: British American

Notable Alumni: Pasadena Junior College

Cause of Death: Bleeding

U.S. State: Illinois

More Facts

education: Pasadena Junior College

Childhood & Early Life
William Holden was born William Franklin Beedle, Jr. on April 17, 1918 in O’Fallon, Illinois, USA to William Franklin Beedle, Sr. who worked as an industrial chemist. His mother Mary Blanche Ball was a schoolteacher.
His had two younger brothers named Robert and Richard.
His family was quite wealthy and moved from O’Fallon to South Pasadena when he was three years old.
He did his schooling from the ‘South Pasadena High School’.
After completing high school he enrolled at the ‘Pasadena Junior College’ to study chemistry where he got involved in acting in different plays.
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William Holden’s acting career started with the film ‘Golden Boy’ in 1939 when he was still unknown as an actor.
His next film was ‘Invisible Stripes’ by Warner Bros. in 1940 and ‘Our Town’ the same year
He joined the US Army Air Forces in the Second World War as a Second Lieutenant.
His popularity as an actor increased with the film ‘Sunset Boulevard’ in 1950 which helped him earn his first Oscar nomination as ‘Best Actor’.
In 1950 he acted in the comedy ‘Born Yesterday’.
In 1953 he played the lead role in ‘Stalag 17’ for which he received the ‘Academy Award for Best Actor’.
He also acted in a couple of comedies such as ‘The Moon is Blue’ and ‘Forever Female’ in 1953.
He acted in the films ‘Executive Suit’, ‘Country Girl’ and ‘The Bridges at Toko-Ri’ in 1954.
In 1954 he starred in ‘Sabrina’ and got romantically involved with Audrey Hepburn during the shooting.
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In 1955 he starred in ‘Picnic’ and ‘Love Is a Many-Splendoured Thing’.
He appeared as a guest star in ‘I Love Lucy’ in 1955.
His next appearance was in the world famous movie ‘The Bridge on the River Kwai’ in 1957.
He starred in the movie ‘The Key’ in 1958 and in the movie ‘The Horse Soldiers’ in 1959.
In 1959 he had to move to Switzerland due to some tax issues and returned to the US only in 1967.
During the period 1960 to 1970 he became an alcoholic and his films began to lose their appeal.
He paired with Audrey Hepburn in another film ‘Paris When It Sizzles’ in 1964.
He made a comeback in 1969 with the film ‘The Wild Bunch’ and also starred in ‘L’Arbre de Noel’ which was released as ‘The Christmas Tree’ in the US and as a home video named ‘When Wolves Cry’.
He starred in the film ‘Breezy’ in 1973 which became a box-office flop.
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In 1974 he appeared in the television film ‘Blue Knight’ as a tough street cop.
He acted in another famous film ‘The Towering Inferno’ in 1974 which was a smash hit at the box-office and earned Holden huge money.
In 1976 he starred in the film ‘Network’ which received huge acclaim from all spheres and got him another Oscar nomination.
He starred in the film ‘The Earthling’ in 1980 with the Australian outback as the backdrop of the film.
During the end of his career he acted in ‘When Time Ran Out” which was not as successful as his last role in ‘S. O. B.’ for which he was nominated for the Golden Globe award.
In 1981 he was offered a role in “That Championship Season’ but became depressed and started drinking more heavily as the film’s production could not start before 1982.
Awards & Achievements
William Holden won the ‘Academy Award for Best Actor’ in 1953 for his role in ‘Stalag 17’.
He was honored with a star on the ‘Hollywood Walk of Fame’ and a star on the ‘St. Louis Walk of Fame’.
He has been immortalized in the song ‘Floating’ sung by the Canadian band ‘Blue Rodeo’
Personal Life & Legacy
He married Brenda Marshall on July 12, 1941 and divorced her in 1971. He had two sons, Peter and Scott from this marriage. He also adopted Virginia who was Brenda Marshall’s daughter from an earlier marriage.
He has a daughter Arlene with actress Eva May Hoffman who was brought up by her mother.
William Holden died on November 12, 1981 in Santa Monica, California, USA, of a serious head injury due to a fall at his home.
William Holden was an animal lover and animal rights activist. He bought a huge area of land in Africa to give refuge to animals. He preached against poaching and illegal animal trade.

William Holden Movies

1. Sunset Blvd. (1950)

  (Film-Noir, Drama)

2. The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)

  (Drama, Adventure, War)

3. Network (1976)


4. The Wild Bunch (1969)

  (Adventure, Action, Western)

5. Stalag 17 (1953)

  (Comedy, War, Drama)

6. Sabrina (1954)

  (Romance, Drama, Comedy)

7. Reconnaissance Pilot (1943)

  (Documentary, Short)

8. The Counterfeit Traitor (1962)

  (Thriller, War, Drama)

9. Born Yesterday (1950)

  (Romance, Drama, Comedy)

10. Executive Suite (1954)



Academy Awards(Oscars)
1954 Best Actor in a Leading Role Stalag 17 (1953)
Primetime Emmy Awards
1974 Best Lead Actor in a Limited Series The Blue Knight (1973)

See the events in life of William Holden in Chronological Order

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