Holden, William


Holden, William

▪ American actor
original name  William Franklin Beedle, Jr. 
born April 17, 1918, O'Fallon, Ill., U.S.
 
found dead November 16, 1981, Santa Monica, Calif.

      major American film star who perfected the role of the cynic who acts heroically in spite of his scorn or pessimism.

      While attending Pasadena Junior College, Beedle acted in local radio plays and became involved with the Pasadena Playhouse. He was discovered by a Paramount Pictures (Paramount Pictures Corporation) talent scout and given the more glamorous surname “Holden.” Drawing on his muscular build and good looks, the studio assigned him the lead in the boxing melodrama Golden Boy (1939). The role was a challenge for the inexperienced young actor, who was tutored by costar Barbara Stanwyck (Stanwyck, Barbara) in the basics of performing before a camera.

      Columbia Pictures (Columbia Pictures Entertainment, Inc.) picked up half of his contract, and Holden alternated between the two studios, appearing in several forgettable films before serving in the Army Air Force during World War II. After the war, he continued to perform in what he referred to as “smiling Jim” parts. In later years, Holden bitterly resented the studios' exploitation of his physical appearance at the expense of his development as an actor.

      Director Billy Wilder (Wilder, Billy) rescued Holden's career by hiring him for the lead in Sunset Boulevard (1950). As Joe Gillis, the jaded screenwriter so desperate for a job that he becomes the gigolo of a faded silent-film star, Holden found his niche and turned in a strong performance as the cynical leading man. He went on to produce his strongest body of work during the 1950s in such films as Born Yesterday (1950), Stalag 17 (the film that earned for Holden the best actor Oscar for 1953), Sabrina (1954), The Country Girl (1954), The Bridges at Toko-Ri (1955), Picnic (1955), and The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957).

      In later years Holden appeared in few films of quality. Disillusioned with Hollywood, he spent much of his time and money supporting conservation efforts in Africa. Those roles that do stand out from his later career—those of Pike Bishop in The Wild Bunch (1969), TV executive Max Schumacher in Network (1976), and hard-drinking film producer Tim Culley in Blake Edwards's S.O.B. (1981; Holden's final film)—captured a bit of Holden's real-life bitterness and depression and added a tinge of melancholy to his screen image.

      Holden's death was especially unfortunate and probably quite unnecessary. Evidence suggests that after an evening of drinking, Holden suffered a severe laceration to his forehead during a household mishap. He remained conscious for at least half an hour after the accident but did not realize the severity of his injury and did not make the phone call that would surely have saved his life. He subsequently passed out and bled to death; his body was discovered some four days later.

Additional Reading
Lawrence J. Quirk, The Complete Films of William Holden (1986).

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • HOLDEN, William — (1918–1981)    Born William Franklin Beedle Jr., William Holden early on played the stereotypical good looking cowboy hero types, several times with Glenn Ford, but in his later and better films he played mature, worldly wise, and ambivalent… …   Westerns in Cinema

  • Holden, William — • ХО ЛДЕН (Holden) Уильям (наст. имя и фам. Уильям Франклин Бидл, Beedle) (17.4.1918 16.11.1981)    амер. актёр. Дебютировал в ф. Тюремная ферма (1938). Стал кинозвездой после ф. Золотой мальчик (1939). Снялся в ф.: Наш город (1940), Сансет… …   Кино: Энциклопедический словарь

  • Holden, William — pseud. di Beedle, William Franklin …   Sinonimi e Contrari. Terza edizione

  • Holden, William — ► (1918 81) Actor cinematográfico estadounidense. Ha interpretado Traidor en el infierno (Óscar en 1953) y El crepúsculo de los dioses (1950), entre otras …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Holden — Holden, William …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • William Woods Holden — (November 24, 1818 – March 1, 1892) was the governor of North Carolina in 1865 and from 1868 to 1871. He was the leader of the state s Republican Party during Reconstruction. He was the second governor in American history to be impeached, but the …   Wikipedia

  • William Holden — (* 17. April 1918 in O’Fallon, Illinois als William Francis Beedle junior; † 12. November 1981 in Santa Monica, Kalifornien) war ein US amerikanischer Filmschauspieler. In seinen Filmen verkörperte er oft Männer, die Heldenmut zeigten und die… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • William Holden — Nombre real William Franklin Beedle Jr. Nacimiento 17 de abril de 1918 …   Wikipedia Español

  • William Woods Holden — William Holden William Woods Holden (* 24. November 1818 im Durham County, North Carolina; † 1. März 1892 in Raleigh, North Carolina) war ein amerikanischer Politiker und sowohl 38. als auch 40. Gouverneur von North Carolina …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • William Curry Holden — For other people named William Holden, see William Holden (disambiguation). William Curry Holden Born July 19, 1896(1896 07 19) Coolidge, Limestone County, Texas, USA Died April 21, 1993(1993 04 21) (aged 96) …   Wikipedia


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.