William Holden is an American actor who was known for his role as Captain Von Trapp in the film adaptation of the classic novel, “The Sound of Music.” During the 1950s, Holden was a popular box office draw, and he has received many accolades for his work in the movies. He has won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his work in the movie, “Stalag 17” and the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie.
The handsome William Holden was discovered as a talent by a Paramount Pictures talent scout. His acting career began with a minor role in the movie “Prison Farm” in 1938. Later, he became involved in local radio plays.
In 1950, Holden starred in the film “Sunset Boulevard”, and received his first Oscar nomination. This was followed by the film “Golden Boy”, in which he played the lead role of a promising young violinist who becomes a boxer. He was also nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance in “Stalag 17.
The following year, Holden returned to the screen in “Variety Girl”. His next two films, Escape From Fort Bravo (1953) and The World of Suzie Wong (1960), were equally successful.
He also earned a Primetime Emmy Award for his performance in 1973’s “The Blue Knight”. He returned to the screen in 1980’s “The Earthling”, starring alongside Kay Lenz.
During the late 1960s and early 1970s, Holden experienced a serious alcohol problem. He had a car accident in Italy in 1966, and was charged with vehicular manslaughter. However, Holden fought through his addiction to the point where he was finally able to return to work.
Eventually, his film roles dwindled, and Holden’s performances began to reflect his personal life. In his later films, Holden displayed deep sadness and insecurity, which may have been related to his insecure self image.
In the 1970s, Holden had an alcohol problem, and was separated from his wife, Brenda Marshall, for most of the duration of their marriage. They had two sons, and Holden spent a lot of time on conservation projects in Africa.
First starring role
William Holden is a familiar face from the Golden Age of Hollywood. He starred in films including Golden Boy, The Lady from Shanghai, and Submarine Command. And he also shared the cause of endangered wildlife with actress Stefanie Powers.
William Holden was born in Pasadena, California, and studied chemistry at Pasadena Junior College. At the age of 21, he was cast in his first starring role.
His performance as “Joe” in the 1950 film, Sunset Boulevard, made him a star. He was also nominated for an Oscar for his performance.
Holden made a name for himself as a leading man in light dramas and noir movies. But, he wasn’t able to follow up on his success with his next big role.
When he turned 40, Bill Holden’s career began to falter. He did occasional appearances on television, and kept a steady schedule of acting to help support his cancer treatment. However, in 1974, he won an Emmy for his role in “The Blue Knight” on TV.
He had two uncredited roles in Paramount films. After a few weeks of shooting, he was almost fired. But, Barbara Stanwyck fought to keep him in the picture.
William Holden has an Academy Award for his role in “Stalag 17” in 1953. He has a Hollywood Walk of Fame star.
He returned to acting in “Network” in 1976. He even received a Best Actor nomination for that role.
Holden has appeared in more than 15 films. He has also been nominated for an Emmy. Some of his most popular films include The Man from Colorado (1948), Stalag 17, The Bridge on the River Kwai, and The Lady from Shanghai.
Success during the 1950’s
William Holden was a star of the 1950s. His performance in the film Sunset Boulevard helped him earn his first Oscar nomination. He also had roles in other movies, including Love Is a Many Splendored Thing, The Bridge on the River Kwai, and Picnic.
While Holden’s popularity is undeniable, his career was not as long as he would have liked. After he turned 40 in 1961, his fame waned. In addition, he lost his position in the top ten box office stars.
However, he was an ideal choice for a boy next door type of role. With a clean cut look, he was able to project the ideal teenage hero.
For a while, he was considered the star of the second tier. During the fifties, he appeared in many memorable films, including Sunset Boulevard, Executive Suite, and The Bridge on the River Kwai.
Sadly, he died from a blood loss incident in 1981. He was married to Brenda Marshall in name only. She gave him two sons.
Despite his success, William Holden had an ugly past. He was a heavy drinker. This was no doubt a factor in his descent.
In his later years, his focus was on endangered wildlife. As such, Holden shared the cause with actress Stefanie Powers.
Some may argue that the best holden-esque performance was his portrayal of a World War II P.O.W. Unlike many of his peers, Holden did not participate in the culture he despised.
He was the only big guy in the field. Despite his shortcomings, Holden managed to make a name for himself during the 1950s. Whether or not his performances were memorable, he certainly worked hard to end his career on a high note.
Interests beyond film
William Holden’s interests outside of film include conservation, wildlife and endangered species. He is a co-owner of the Mount Kenya Safari Club, an education center near Mount Kenya. He also owns the Mount Kenya Wildlife Foundation.
Holden served in the United States Army Air Forces during World War II. At the time, he acted in training films for the First Motion Picture Unit. After the war, Holden began acting in “smiling Jim” roles.
William Holden was a good looking, hard-working man. However, he had a troubled life. In 1981, he was found unconscious at home, having fallen on a rug. His blood loss caused him to die. Afterward, his family and friends mourned his passing.
The movie “Sunset Boulevard” earned Holden his first Oscar nomination. While it didn’t win for best picture, it did get him a lot of publicity and respect.
Another major film in Holden’s career is his role in the 1974 disaster film, “The Towering Inferno. It also made him a box-office hit.
William Holden’s wife was the actress Brenda Marshall. They had two sons. Their marriage ended in divorce in 1973. They later adopted a daughter from their first marriage.
One of the most acclaimed war movies of all time is “The Bridge on the River Kwai”. This David Lean film was nominated for seven Academy Awards.
Bill Holden starred in a number of movies in the late 1950s and early 1960s. During this period, he embodied the post-war masculine ideal. Often, he portrayed businessmen, idealistic journalists and hardened soldiers.
Aside from his work in the movies, Holden spent considerable time in Africa. His charity work helped support conservation efforts in Africa.
William Holden died in 1981 in Santa Monica, California. He was a star of romantic comedies. His death was caused by alcohol abuse. A drunken Holden slipped and hit his head on a table in his apartment. The Los Angeles County coroner said he bled to death within thirty minutes.
In the weeks before his death, Holden was last known to be living in a normal manner. After his accident, he remained conscious for half an hour, but did not call for help. It is believed he vomited blood and his body was discovered in a robe and shirt.
A few days after his death, the coroner’s chief pathologist visited the apartment to look for any clues to foul play. During the course of the investigation, an empty quart bottle of vodka was found in the kitchen.
Holden had been in a mental institution for two years. He starred in a few movies in later years, including Irwin Allen’s Towering Inferno. But his best work was in lesser-known films, like Breezy and When Time Ran Out.
In the early 1950s, Holden starred in romantic dramas. His screen portrayal of a sheltered boy with a secret passion for Ginger Rogers helped him win an Oscar nomination for Best Actor. Later roles took him in an emotionally depressing direction.
Holden died after a drunken fall at his apartment in Santa Monica. He was discovered with a head cut. The wound was two inches deep and three inches long. However, he did not realize how serious the injury was.