|Born||in O'Fallon, Illinois, USA|
|Died||in Santa Monica, California, USA (injuries from a fall)|
|Birth Name||William Franklin Beedle Jr.|
The Golden Boy|
|Height||5' 11" (1.8 m)|
Mini Bio (2)
William Holden was born William Franklin Beedle, Jr. in O'Fallon, Illinois, to Mary Blanche (Ball), a schoolteacher, and William Franklin Beedle, Sr., an industrial chemist. He came from a wealthy family (the Beedles) that moved to Pasadena, California, when he was three. In 1937, while studying chemistry at Pasadena Junior College, he was signed to a film contract by Paramount. His first starring role was as a young man torn between the violin and boxing in Golden Boy (1939). From then on he was typecast as the boy-next-door.
After returning from World War II military service, he got two very important roles: Joe Gillis, the gigolo, in Sunset Blvd. (1950), and the tutor in Born Yesterday (1950). These were followed by his Oscar-winning role as the cynical sergeant in Stalag 17 (1953). He stayed popular through the 1950s, appearing in such films as Picnic (1956). He spent much of his later time as co-owner of the Mount Kenya Safari Club, dividing his time between Africa and Switzerland.
- IMDb Mini Biography By: Ed Stephan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Billy Wilder proclaimed him as "the ideal motion picture actor". For almost four decades, handsome, affable 'Golden Holden' was among Hollywood's most durable and engaging stars. He was born William Franklin Beedle Jr., one of three sons to a high school English teacher and a chemical and fertilizer analyst, head of the George W. Gooch Laboratories in Pasadena. His father, a keen physical fitness enthusiast, taught young Bill the art of tumbling and boxing. During his days as a student at South Pasadena High, he also became adept at team sports (football and baseball), learned to ride and shoot and to be proficient on piano, clarinet and drums. To his father's chagrin, Bill had no inclination of following in dad's footsteps, though he did major in chemistry at Pasadena Junior College. A trip to New York and Broadway had set Bill's path firmly on an acting career. He had already performed in school plays and lent his voice to several radio plays in Los Angeles by the time he was spotted by a Paramount talent scout (playing the part of octogenarian Eugene Curie) at the Pasadena Workshop Theatre. In early 1938, he was offered a six-month studio contract for a weekly salary of $50. Naturally, the name Beedle had to go. Several alternatives were bandied around -- including Randolph Carey and Taylor Randolph - until the head of Paramount's publicity department settled on the name Holden (based on a personal friend who was an associate editor at the L.A. Times, also named Bill).
Having joined Paramount's Golden Circle Club of promising young actors, Bill was now groomed for stardom. However, it was a loan-out to Columbia that secured him his breakthrough role. He was the sixty-sixth actor to audition for the part of an Italian violinist forced to become a boxer in Golden Boy (1939). His earlier training as a junior pugilist proved somewhat beneficial but it was self-effacing co-star Barbara Stanwyck who turned out to be most instrumental in helping him rehearse and overcoming his nerves to act alongside her and thespians Lee J. Cobb and Adolphe Menjou. The picture was a minor hit and Columbia consequently acquired half his contract. For the next few years, Bill continued playing wholesome, guy-next-door types and rookie servicemen in pictures like Our Town (1940), I Wanted Wings (1941) (which was the making of 'peek-a-boo' star Veronica Lake) and The Fleet's In (1942). His salary had been enhanced and he now earned $150 a week. In July 1941, Bill married 25-year old actress Brenda Marshall, who commanded five times his income.
In 1942, Bill enlisted in the Officers Candidate School in Florida, graduating as an Air Force second lieutenant. He spent the next three years on P.R. duties and making training films for the Office of Public Information. One of his brothers, a naval pilot, was shot down and killed over the Pacific in 1943. After war's end, Bill was demobbed and returned to Hollywood to resume playing similar characters in similar movies. He later commented that he found "no interest or enjoyment" in portraying the same type of "nice-guy meaningless roles in meaningless movies". That was to change - along with his image - when he was invited to play the part of caddish, down-on-his-luck scriptwriter Joe Gillis in Sunset Blvd. (1950). The brilliantly acidulous screenplay was by Charles Brackett and director Billy Wilder (from their story A Can of Beans) and the story was narrated in flashback by Bill's character, opening with Gillis floating face-down in the swimming pool of a decrepit mansion "of the kind crazy people bought in the 20s".
With Sunset Boulevard, Bill had effectively graduated from leading man to leading actor. No longer typecast, he was now allowed more hard-edged or even morally ambiguous roles: a self-serving, cynical prisoner-of-war in Stalag 17 (1953) (for which he won an Academy Award); an unemployed drifter who disrupts and changes the lives (particularly of womenfolk) in a small Kansas town, in Picnic (1956); a happy-go-lucky gigolo (who, as Billy Wilder explained the part to Bill, gets the sports car while Bogey -- Humphrey Bogart -- gets the girl), in the delightful Sabrina (1954); and an ill-fated U.S. Navy pilot in The Bridges at Toko-Ri (1954), set during the Korean War. Clever dialogue and the Holden likeability factor also improved what potentially could have turned out dull or maudlin in pictures like Forever Female (1953) and Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing (1955).
Already one of the highest paid stars of the 50s, Bill received 10% of the gross for The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957), making him an instant multi-millionaire. He invested much of his earnings in various enterprises, even a radio station in Hong Kong. At the end of the decade, he relocated his family to Geneva, Switzerland, but spent more and more of his own time globetrotting. In the 60s, Bill founded the exclusive Mount Kenya Safari Club with oil billionaire Ray Ryan and Swiss financier Carl Hirschmann. His fervent advocacy of wildlife conservation now consumed more of his time than his acting. His films, consequently, dropped in quality. Drinking ever more heavily, he also started to show his age. By the time he appeared as the leader of an outlaw gang on their last roundup in Sam Peckinpah's The Wild Bunch (1969), his face was so heavily lined that someone likened it to 'a map of the United States.' He still had a couple more good performances in him, in The Towering Inferno (1974) and Network (1976), until his shock death from blood loss due to a fall at his apartment while intoxicated. In 1982, actress Stefanie Powers, with whom he had been in a relationship since 1975, helped set up the William Holden Wildlife Foundation and the William Holden Wildlife Education Center in Kenya. Bill also has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. His wanderlust has left traces of him all over the world. Even at the historic Aggie Grey's Hotel in Apia, Samoa, a bungalow bears his name.
- IMDb Mini Biography By: I.S.Mowis
|Brenda Marshall||(12 July 1941 - 1971) ( divorced) ( 2 children)|
Trade Mark (4)
Personal Quotes (13)
|Sunset Blvd. (1950)||$30,000|
|The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)||$250,000 + 10% of the gross (World-wide)|
|The Horse Soldiers (1959)||$750,000 + 20% of profits|
|The Counterfeit Traitor (1962)||$750,000|
|The Wild Bunch (1969)||$250,000|
|The Towering Inferno (1974)||$750,000|