William Holden

William Holden


4/17/1918, O' Fallon Illinois, USA



Birth Name

William Franklin Beedle, Jr


out of 10
User Rating
11 votes


William Holden (born April 17, 1918) was the leading man for many classic Hollywood films such as "Sunset Boulevard," "The Bridge on the River Kwai" and "Network." He also won an Academy Award for Best Actor as the surly sergeant in 1953's "Stalag 17." Holden grew up in…more


Trivia and Quotes

  • Trivia

    • William is mentioned in the Seinfeld episode "The Good Samaritian." He is described as being what George thinks having an affair with a married woman would be like.

    • Rumoured to have had affairs with both Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly.

    • Reportedy the first actor to ever make one million dollars for a movie for the film The Bridge Over the River Kwai.

    • Co-owned the Malwingo Hotel with Ray Ryan and and Carl Hirschmann. They renamed it the Mount Kenya Safari Club to draw tourists and celebrities to visit Kenya,Africa.

    • In 1995 voted #57 on Empire magazine's list of the 100 Sexiest Stars of film history.

    • Served as vice president of the Screen Actors Guild.

    • Was a well known Republician, but never voted. Was friends with Ronald Reagan and was Reagan's best man when he wed Nancy Davis in 1952.

    • Had a long relationship with actress Stefanie Powers from Hart to Hart beginning in 1974.

    • He was awarded the Golden Apple Award as the most cooperative male movie star in 1951 and 1955 by the The Hollywood Women's Press Club.

    • Rarely used obscene language,especially when women were present.

    • In 1974 Holden won an Emmy for Best Lead Actor in a Limited Series for the 1973 TV Movie "The Blue Knight".

    • After death he was cremated and his ashes were scattered in the Pacific Ocean.

    • Was a well known alcoholic for most of his life and died from injuries sustained from a fall because he was too inebriated to reach a phone to call for help after a head injury.

    • He reportedly would shower up to four times a day.

    • Married to Brenda Marshall (real name Ardis Ankerson Gaines) from July 1941 to 1973.

    • Filmed an expedition to Somalia in 1969 called William Holden: Unconquered Worlds. that was to be shown on CBS. A revolution in Somalia forced the filmaker to leave and the project was cancelled.

    • William Holden has the record for the shortest Oscar speech in history. When he won for the film Stalag 17 his acceptance speech was simply, "Thank You."

    • In 1995 Holden was #57 on Empire magazine's 100 Sexiest Stars in film history.

  • Quotes

    • William(regarding his love scenes in the movie Network): I believe lovemaking is a private thing, and I don't enjoy depictions of it on the screen. But I have to go by what the audience accepts as normalcy in today's world. And Network is no Deep Throat.

    • William: Every day in Africa might be your last. That sense of anticipation keeps you thrillingly alive!

    • William: There's two things that happen to you when you come to Kenya. You can regenerate yourself here, and you can reconstitute yourself.

    • William: Being voted the most cooperative actor is strange, inasmuch as I've been away from Holloywood for nine months of the last year. Maybe I'd rate better if I stayed away all the time.

    • William (about the play Stalag 17): I walked out after the first act. I just didn't find it very exiting. And I thought Sefton was just a con man without any motivation for the deals he's pulling.

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    William Holden is my all-time favourite actor. Some only see him as, yes, a good-looking man who could act, but I think his acting is very much underrated. He was natural in whatever he did; whether he was playing "an uncle" in Father is a Bachelor, a playboy in Sabrina, a cynical POW in Stalag 17 or a man nearing the end of his life in Network, William Holden was always the character and not the actor. He was believable, he was palpable, he was real. William Holden was no Cary Grant, but to me he was the perfect leading man. I love when he played romantic leads, because he just knew how to bring out sensitivity that would make you melt through his eyes alone...and okay, maybe that smile. But I love him most when he played dark characters like Joe Gillis in Sunset Boulevard, and especially Sefton in Stalag 17. I think the fact that he looked like the boy-next-door, yet he played tough, conflicted characters, the contrast made him most appealing. He could play rugged roles like in The Bridge on the River Kwai, but just the same, he could play refined roles as he did in Born Yesterday and The Country Girl. He had charm, he was deep and he has all my respect and admiration. I love William Holden.moreless
  • Not as recognized

    William Holden is one of my faverite stars ever. His combined strength and talent when merged with the awesome power of director Billy Wilder was awe inspiring. Nowadays, people of my age don't even remember Holden. Everyone always metion Bogart or Tracy or Cary Grant as the best of that generation and I fully support all of those actors, but for me none of them have the appeal of William Holden. There was always to much unsaid in his eyes with every role. You knew that there was something that he was holding back and keeping it in a distance because it was too powerful for the average bear. I don't care how he died or how he lived. He was a man's man back in the silver age of men's men and I worship him and will watch anything he was ever in.moreless